Visions of a future city

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CityVision – an annual design competition that challenges designers to envision distinct urban futures – chose New York City for this year’s inspiration. The entries, which can be seen here, focused on a “New York City shaped by an alternate history, a complete failure of modern urban policy, or any combination of the two themes.”

Most finalists developed complex plans that combined utopian or dystopian themes. The first place winner imagined the island of Manhattan converted into a trash dump where garbage is used as a power source for residents in the outer boroughs. (And features a redrawn version of Saul Steinberg’s famous New Yorker cover.)

Another entrant drew inspiration from the city’s current mythology, imagining NYC as an island of respite for a collective of artists and outcasts. Others were far more sci-fi, including a design in which all the of the city’s landmarks flee the city to find other homes.

The range of entries demonstrates just how varied and open we believe, or hope, the future to be. The competition’s organizing question – “If the future is gone, what past is expecting us?” – challenges us to reconsider the dimensions of space and time that we often perceive to be fixed. In a radically and rapidly changing world, what future New York City are we currently creating?

Images courtesy of: CityVision.