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Entries in urban life (3)

Thursday
Aug182011

New York's tallest building of the future (1881)

When cartoonist Thomas Nast drew this illustration of future Manhattan for Harper's Weekly in 1881, Trinity Church was the tallest building in New York, with its spire and cross reaching 281 feet into the heavens. Until September of 2001, the North Tower of the World Trade Center stood as the tallest building in the city at 1,368 feet. Today, the Empire State Building is the tallest building in New York at 1,250 feet tall, but with any luck that's likely to change soon(ish).

The much delayed $3.1 billion One World Trade Center (formerly known as the Freedom Tower) will stand on the former site of the World Trade Center as the tallest building in New York at 1,776 feet. It's currently scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. Let's just say I'm not holding my breath for that date.

Image from the August 27, 1881 Harper's Weekly and the book Predictions: Pictorial Predictions From the Past by John Durant.

Tuesday
Mar202007

Russian Paleo-Future (circa 1900)

BoingBoing has a link to the blog Dark Roasted Blend and some great Russian paleo-futurism. While I take issue with Blend's contention that these are, "...probably one of the very first truly 'Futuristic/Urban' series of images ever published," it is an amazing set of images.



See also:
Unrealized Moscow (1930s to 1950s) 7 March 2007

Sunday
Mar042007

Walt Disney and City Planning

"Imagineers said that when they were planning Tomorrowland, Walt would carry around books on city planning and mutter about traffic, noise, and neon signs, and he kept three volumes in his office to which he frequently referred: Garden Cities of Tomorrow by Sir Ebenezer Howard (originally published in 1902 and reissued in 1965), which promoted a vision of a more pastoral urban life; and The Heart of Our Cities and Out of a Fair, a City, both by an architect and mall designer name Victor Gruen, who urged the reconceptualization of the city as more ordered, rational and humane."

(excerpted from p. 608 in Walt Disney: Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler)

Also, it looks like a new 2007 edition of Garden Cities of Tomorrow just came out.