The Null Device


Via fact244, a lengthy, extensively-illustrated article on retrofuturism. It's in Italian, but even if you can't read it, the illustrations speak for themselves. They range from the quaint (models of future cities of gigantic highways, and anyone in parts of California or Britain can tell you how well that model of urban planning turned out) to the outlandish (such as maps for a global railway/monorail running across the Bering Strait, or dams to drain parts of the Mediterranean), as well as the usual streamlined cars, jetpacks, spaceplanes, old magazine ads and lots of pulp sci-fi magazine covers.

There are 7 comments on "Retrofuturo":

Posted by: Alexander Mon Jan 10 23:45:52 2005

It was so much the urbanistic model that failed, the main culprit was the way it was implented.

Posted by: acb Tue Jan 11 02:11:43 2005

Mind you, wouldn't you say that the assumption that everybody would drive everywhere was a fatal flaw?

Posted by: Alexander Wed Jan 12 22:51:34 2005

I'm sorry, I don't follow. The strange mega-cities that appear seemed loosely based on the Charter of Athens, where cars and people were to NEVER encounter each other.

Posted by: acb Thu Jan 13 01:06:22 2005

I meant the assumption that the automobile is going to be the dominant mode of transport, which led to things like zoning putting shops out of walking distance from suburbs and eliminating footpaths, and thus the problem found in a lot of American cities (and the outer suburbs of Australian cities) where people are strongly discouraged from going outside their property without a car, thus leading to effects such as obesity and alienation from one's neighbours.

Posted by: dj Thu Jan 13 06:08:27 2005

If you are walking to somewhere, rather than walking for exercise, people still often look at you as if you are a moonbat. Riding a bike is more acceptable.

Posted by: Alexander Fri Jan 14 10:17:54 2005

As I said, the urban model was not at fault but the way it was implemented. Corbusier idealized that in the future, cars would go speeding everywhere at break-neck speeds, in every city in the world. This was very forward thinking since he made these forecasts in the 20's, and he made these things show on the 1933 Charter.

A Charter of Athens city has vast open walkable areas between tall buildings, while the speeding cars race away out of sight and earshot in tunnels and such. The idea was to abolish streets as we know them, and to give the city back to the pedestrian.

Of course this was never done, at least not in a large scale. Here in Europe, some small pockets of city were built in Charter-style, but failed because they're too depressing. The American/Australian model has some similarities with the Charter, but is completely different, especially since many main american cities were idealized before the Charter was drawn up.

Posted by: mark Tue Jan 18 09:15:29 2005

I'm getting a 404 there, Andrew.