Structuring Infrastructure Part I

by Amna Ansari

This post will continuously be updated with new findings and observations.

antonio sant-elia futurist

Citta Nuova
Italian Architect Antonio Sant’Elia was part of the Futurist Movement in 1912s, during which time he created some fascinating drawings of a possible future with monolithic buildings depicting a highly industrialized society.  In some of his drawings one can note a future concept of a multi-level transportation infrastructure and its integration with buildings.


How you may live and travel in the city of 1950.
“Future city streets, says Mr. Corbett, will be in four levels: The top level for pedestrians; the next lower level for slow motor traffic; the next for fast motor traffic, and the lowest for electric trains. Great blocks of terraced skyscrapers half a mile high will house offices, schools, homes, and playgrounds in successive levels, while the roofs will be airplane landing fields, according to the architect’s plan.”

Architect Harvey W. Corbett believed in planning for a future integrating freeways and landing strips with buildings for growing dense city centers, and did not believe in dencentralization of large cities.

Popular Science August 1925

minority-report-maglev-1340241758Minority Report 
A 2002 film based on a Philip K. Dick short story.  The movie portrays D.C. and the future as absolutely monitored by police with full scale (spanning time) public surveillance that one could assume supported by commercialism (i.e. biotagged personalized shopping identities).  Thus it naturally make sense why traffic infrastructure is imagined as magnetic tracks with vehicles that can be remotely controlled.  What is interesting here is the ability of the vehicles to switch directions and orientation and the infrastructure to accommodate these dual modes while integrating with city buildings.  The ground is dedicated to regular type vehicles.

Taking the opportunity to give a nod to John Underkoffler of MIT and others at MIT Media Lab who envisioned the interfaces of the computer systems for the PreCrime unit.  You can find his TED lecture here:


Total Recall 2012 
A 2012 film based on yet another Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.  Having recently watched it is what inspired looking into and documenting previous infrastructure theories.  In Total Recall magnetic tracks allow vehicles to utilize both sides of the infrastructure, either being held from above or below.  This multi-level, and efficient, use of infrastructure could have the potential of dedicating one side to passenger vehicles and the other for emergency and delivery vehicles, or whatever is deemed appropriate.  Unlike other imagined futures, the freeways or traffic support systems, run in between or above buildings.  Similar to Minority Report, the ground is dedicated to regular type vehicles.


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