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Broadacre City

broadacre city Frank Lloyd Wright‘s idea was to re-imagine the city based on "Jeffersonian visions of self-reliance and open space," reports Julie V. Iovine in The Wall Street Journal (3/12/14). "The city, as we know it, is to die," Wright said in 1931, and from then "until his death in 1959" he worked on developing Broadacre City, a place "where every family gets ‘the democratic minimum’ of a home and an acre … the skyscraper would be transplanted to the country to get some breathing room."

Broadacre City, to be built "horizontally on a massive scale," was premised on the idea that cars and telecommunications "would allow for the decentralization of the population and the replacement of town centers with service hubs … There would be uniform distribution and integration of homes and markets, schools and farms, industries and parks, medical facilities and airports (redubbed ‘Aerotors’ and for private helicopters)." Access would be "by car from a 12-lane highway."

Overall, Wright allocated "as much weight to parkland and landscape as to development," but Broadacre City was rife with quirks. "There’s a curious insensitivity to scale so that the zoo gets about the same amount of space as a gas station; cultural institutions are congregated off-site" (to be accessed by car); "apartments sit atop factories with no regard for pollution … with not a parking lot or sidewalk or public gathering place in sight." Broadacre City exists only as a model, currently on display at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, through June 1. (link)