What did modernist planning and architecture look like from the perspective of the modernist? It was progressive, forward-thinking—and may have had more in common with contemporary planning than we'd care to admit. A 1959 time capsule recently unearthed in Burbank included these predictions by a local city planner: in 50 years, seven of every eight residents would be living in garden apartments made of plastic, and incorporated into mixed-use complexes; and a “rapid monorail” system would connect “metro centers” including malls. These ideas have more space-age characteristics than our current thinking (we have no goal to inhabit plastic pods, have automated parking at every destination or live in homes connected to a shopping mall), but the ambition of having an urban density connected to mass transit is still alive. Perhaps another 50 years will realize our ideas.
When Modernism was Futuristic
May 13, 2009