Saturday, February 20, 2016

Trains of the Future - Part 1 - The Vertical City

 Trains of the Future
 A Celebration of Illustrators and Futurists

This series of posts is going to be a celebration of the imagination  of futurists, but most of all it is a celebration of artist's conceptions and misconceptions of the future. One theme that resonates in many of the images in this first part, is the desire to conquer the vertical dimensions of cities with transportation arteries, usually rail lines of one type or another.

I start with images from Fritz Lang's Metropolis, a film that is still influential today.

The Tower of Babel

Screen shot from the movie

Truly, a vertically integrated city, the workers got elevators, and the capitalists got autos, trains and planes.

Stop motion animation was used.

Pre-production conceptual artwork.

Titan City from a Hollywood movie of the same period. Here we see a trend towards the idea of a need for aerial skyways between tall buildings. The railroad trench, however is very grounded in the contemporary reality of projects like Grand Central Station in New York City.

Of course, the whole idea of this illustration is to fill the frame with as many up and coming transportation modes as possible, and you will be seeing more suspended monorails.

A trio of fantastic early Soviet images again shows the fascination with aerial railways.

I guess the whole idea was "never touch the ground again."

And now for some more practical visions of the vertical city:

Ah, order and sanity!

And for the final image of Part 1, NYC in 1999, maybe they were already thinking about sea level rise?

Coming, Part 2, Habit Trails for Humanity

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