Automania

The Living City Project

Frank Lloyd Wright. The Living City Project. 1958

Juliet Kinchin: The architect Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the giants of American modern architecture and design. One can see his passion for cars and his very car-centric vision of both urban and rural areas developing over the decades.

This drawing of a very futuristic cityscape was made in 1958 and it really shows this dispersed urban landscape dominated by and connected by cars and roads. The idea was that every family would own at least one car and live on and cultivate an acre of land. All these homesteads would be distributed along a grid with small-scale manufacturing and community centers linked by roads. Motorized transport also would transform agriculture and link newly mobile consumers with fresh, locally sourced food in roadside markets. Each citizen would have all these forms of production, distribution, self-improvement within a car-borne radius of 150 miles from their individual homes. The idea was making mobilization by car a pleasure, not a nuisance.

Another interesting aspect of this design is the rather strange futuristic car in the foreground, part of a system of cars constantly circulating around the city and transporting passengers, very much like the way we're thinking now of robot-driven cars and transportation around the urban landscape.

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