So, you’re probably thinking, what the heck is that? A Jetsons-era fantasy of a future city? An “urban renewal” project gone terribly wrong? The set for a post-apocalyptic version of the Stepford Wives, where all the people have been herded into pens by alien invaders?
If only that were the case. This rendering was in fact produced by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, and it’s their idea of a beautiful future.
Kevin Buchanan at Network blog Fort Worthology says, for the sake of his hometown, he hopes the future looks nothing like that:
The graphic, however, seems to be expecting the Fort Worth of 2050 to be indistinguishable from the Fort Worth of, say, 1996.
If Fort Worth of 2050 is built the same way, this won’t be a pretty place to live. We won’t be able to build enough gigantic roads and highways to support all those cars. We won’t be able to breath much, considering the resulting air quality. We won’t be a healthy populace, with so many more people shackled to a choice-free lifestyle that requires the use of the least healthy mode of transportation. We won’t have many places worth visiting or caring about, as 99% of the city will continue to be placeless, indistinguishable pods of garage-dominated homes and pavement-swathed strip malls.
Not to mention that this “growth” is wildly optimistic – if this city’s vision of 2050 is like this, and it’s still a place of separated-use unwalkable pods that have no relationship to each other, we’re going to find that the young up-and-coming generations will want nothing to do with Fort Worth – the handful we’ll have will stick to places like the Near Southside and 7th Street, while the rest will either leave or never come here in the first place. After all, 77% of millennials want some form of walkable urbanism, but at present I’d wager that only 1-2% of the city is even close to catering to that market. And the rest can’t, because our zoning and development codes outside of the handful of designated “urban villages” are totally business-as-usual, codified to reduce other forms of mobility in favor of cars and further coerced by a regional transportation network that is still dominated by highway building.
Elsewhere on the Network today: Bike Denver celebrates Colorado’s new, aptly named legislation — “End Hit and Run Loophole.” Extraordinary Observations discusses the challenge of keeping Capital Bikeshare stations balanced. And Mobilizing the Region says it’s time to restore New York state’s commuter tax break for transit riders to the level enjoyed by car commuters.