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December 30, 2007

Richard Florida

City of the Future

« Dead Malls | Main | Managing the Creative Class »


The New York Times asked a handful of people to speculate on the city in 2108.  There are two that really resonate with me.  First up from Kim Hatreiter, co-founder of Paper magazine.

The island of Manhattan in 2108 is half the size of what it was a hundred years ago; Seventh Avenue and Third Avenue are waterfront. Richard Meier’s glass towers are under water and filled with schools of phosphorescent fish; tourists come by submarine taxi to see them. ... What used to be known as downtown types have all moved to what used to be called New Jersey. Bayonne is the new mecca for radical thought and creativity.

Next is Kate Kaplan, a 12 year old, 7th-grader at the School of the Future, a New York City public school near Gramercy Park.

The city will be all skyscrapers, no more town houses and brownstones. ... Central Park will be preserved in a bubble to protect it from the adverse effects of global warming. ... The Empire State Building will no longer be New York’s largest building; it will probably be replaced by a giant Starbucks.

My own sense: NY will no longer be the world's center for creativity and finance and no longer number among the world's ten largest cities. It may well lose its role as a magnet for talent and immigrants. It's trajectory across the 21st and 22nd centuries will be similar that of Berlin in the past century. Among North American cities, New York in 2108 will be similar in size, scale and influence to Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  In the west, New York influence will be far eclipsed by London which will become the financial and creative center for the western world.  But, the world's largest and most important cities will all be in Asia - from Beijing to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore even Sydney - some may morph into dense mega-regions of 500 million people or more.  North America's most significant and vibrant cities will be the ones on its Pacific coast.

Your thoughts on New York - or how your own city will fare, or on the state of cities worldwide - a century for now?


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Timothy Comeau

I recently had reason to think about the future of cities, especially 22nd Century ones, which I posted at this link http://www.goodreads.ca/?p=682

Musings on the form of cities of the future; my guess is that techno-utopias will give way to environmentally friendly environments that may more resemble what we now consider rustic.


If U.S. government policies again become open to foreigners, the Los Angeles area is the Western World's city of the future, and unfortunately, a model for this century's cities. California ,(not London), in general is the source of many of the modern world's most important developments, from Hollywood to Silicon Valley, and L.A. is the third world gateway city into the USA . The California lifestyle literally breeds creativity...Next comes London ,the U.A.E, and all of the Asian cities mentioned above.


Wil - Nicely said. Me thinks the whole kit-and-kaboodle shifts to the Pacific. And you're right, the winner(s) are the most open. That means LA and San Fran, as well as Seattle and possibly Portland, could do well. But me thinks Vancouver is best placed of all in NA. I also think Sydney can play in this game. One I didn't think of is Honolulu. Then anywhere in Asia proper that can be open. The Chinese cities will grow regardless. London stays in the game. Much of Europe has problems - quite sclerotic, as does much of the US proper. I hate to see NYC sink, but I can't see how it staves it off, with its geographic location and political tendencies of the US.


Ms. Hatreiter might want to check her topographical map. By the time water reaches First Avenue, much less Third, most of Bayonne would be flooded.

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