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Walt Disney's vision of future transportation

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This might (and is) slightly off topic, but I just watched a video on Disney's vision of highways in the future dated 1958. It was just interesting to see his perspective on things and despite some things not currently being feasible (no wheels on cars), he was spot on a lot of things that we currently use today (trains moving frieght for one). Most of everything he talks about is available in some form though which is something to think about. Disney has always been someone I admire for consistently thinking outside the box and then attempting to implement it. I wish more people would do what he did in our times.

Check it out if you feel like a flash back:

http://www.pollsb.com/polls/poll/4702/disn...s-of-the-future

Quick edit. Note when I refer to Disney I'm referring to Walt and not the corporate entity we know today.

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Ha! I have not seen many of these things happen. TV rear mirror is here; most of our cars still use gas and have wheels. We us helicopters to get people from accidents sites. But we are no where near what they are talking about. Our interstate highways are built better than in the early years, but not with all the climate controls they predicted. I haven heard that hot fluid in pipes in the payment is use in some northern cities but not on a big scale. There are other things that we have and a lot I don't think we will ever see a lot of his predictions due to cost.

The trains are going the wrong way, today they are taking boxes off ships not putting them on ships.

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This might (and is) slightly off topic, but I just watched a video on Disney's vision of highways in the future dated 1958. It was just interesting to see his perspective on things and despite some things not currently being feasible (no wheels on cars), he was spot on a lot of things that we currently use today (trains moving frieght for one). Most of everything he talks about is available in some form though which is something to think about. Disney has always been someone I admire for consistently thinking outside the box and then attempting to implement it. I wish more people would do what he did in our times.

Check it out if you feel like a flash back:

http://www.pollsb.com/polls/poll/4702/disn...s-of-the-future

Quick edit. Note when I refer to Disney I'm referring to Walt and not the corporate entity we know today.

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"The shape of our cities will change, as expanded highway transportation decentralizes our population centers into vast urban areas. With the advent of wider, faster expressways the commuter's radius will be extended many miles."

Didn't take long for this to become reality.

Strange how none of the people shown are obese. One might imagine that with automated vehicles taking us within a few feet of our desks and moving sidewalks in the shopping centers, people would pack on the pounds with even greater gusto than they do in the real America!

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Disney was an exceptional visionary but I don't think we'll ever see a lot of his ideas about the future come to fruition (though we can certainly dream about them). I have the opinion that long before we see infrastructure really improved in the US our jobs and even daily activities will no longer require us to use that infrastructure as we'll be doing it all in the comfort of our own home. It is amazing what ideas he had in the 50's and even the impact of those ideas today, 50 years later.

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this vision, while probably thrilling for people in the 50's, scares me know. It seems so sterile and cold. Nothing seemed like a community. I agree with Neo, our use of current infrastructure will change. I see ourselves, if anything, embracing our cities and centralizing, not spreading out much further..

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But it goes to show you that what we consider "ideal" is not a static thing, and that today's paradise is tomorrows terror. I think it is very interesting that the ideal city would be spread out. At the time people lived a lot more densely. We think that people are spread out today, and are looking to move people together. But this may help us realize that that is not everyone's perfect ideal. This helps show that there a different needs for different groups.

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But it goes to show you that what we consider "ideal" is not a static thing, and that today's paradise is tomorrows terror. I think it is very interesting that the ideal city would be spread out. At the time people lived a lot more densely. We think that people are spread out today, and are looking to move people together. But this may help us realize that that is not everyone's perfect ideal. This helps show that there a different needs for different groups.

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Hah, I see someone else is on the APBP Listserv :) I was going to post the same thing....

Its amazing how much of this has really come to pass in 50 years:

  1. Extensive highway network

  2. Decentralized cities that rely on #1

  3. Moving sidewalks

  4. Car elevators

  5. Car navigation systems

  6. Car entertainment systems

Its amazing how all of these people in the video are able to keep in shape while the need for walking has been essentially removed from daily life from all the wonderful inventions. The only thing that they never hit on was the Segway. Its interesting to me to note the societal comparisons that are implied in that video. Namely that the road construction process is too long (machines to build roads in days), traffic congestion will be reduced by building more roads (notice how little traffic there is in that video), and houses will be built so far away from everything that you will need entertainment in your car to endure the horrible ride to your destination (how else will you be able to interact with your family?). Now compare those three statements to today... notice anything? Except for the road/bridge building process, everything else is here... And look at where we are.

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These are not Disney's ideas.. but rather those of French architect and planner Le Corbusier..

Thankfully... the tide has turned against Corbusier's "Towers in the park" model in favor of a return to pedestrian friendly.. traditional urban environments.

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If you guys thought this was interesting you should see Walt's original vision for EPCOT Center.

Originally Epcot was not planned as a theme park...it was to be an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a utopian city of the future with a "hub and spoke" design featuring mass transportation that radiated out from a central hub. Lots of revolutionary (well, at the time) concepts were to be implemented in the design of the city. You can view some of the plans in these videos (last half of the first video and the entire second are exclusively about Epcot):

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I do like how Walt Disney included mass transit as an integral part of his vision. I've often thought that mass transit should be used for the daily commute and the automobile reserved for weekend trips. That would be a very good balance between sustainable planing that mass transit would stimulated and the freedom of mobility provided by the automobile.

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Thats pretty cool. Thanks for sharing that link.

Whats interesting is that video's contrast to the first one. For starters it said that the "pedestrian will be king, without fear of cars and busses." Whereas in the first one, the goal was (indirectly) to make walking obsolete. The electric monorail and people movers were the primary means of transportation; cars moved around below city (w/ parking, and no stoplights); trucks below that. Roads in suburban areas are in the backs of houses; transit is primary transportation to work.

Its almost something that could make sense if it weren't such a radical change in the way people live. The one common theme in both videos is that everything in life must be compartmentalized in to pods of activity and time.

Its interesting that even with all the new modern ways of doing things, the shopping still would emulate existing old cities' shopping districts.

I also thought it was interesting that the developer of Columbia, MD- one of the few successful remnants of the garden city movement- was on Disney's team.

These are not Disney's ideas.. but rather those of French architect and planner Le Corbusier..

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I do like how Walt Disney included mass transit as an integral part of his vision. I've often thought that mass transit should be used for the daily commute and the automobile reserved for weekend trips. That would be a very good balance between sustainable planing that mass transit would stimulated and the freedom of mobility provided by the automobile.

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As far as EPCOT goes, talk about a missed opportunity. If Disney's original vision for EPCOT had succeeded, we would have avoided constant debates over sprawl.

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Ironically it was Disney's use of the monorail that doomed that mode of transit in this country for generations and it persists until today. In the early 60's it was seen as a way to modernize transit but when Disney built systems in Florida and later in Epcot, the monorail quickly became identified with amusement park rides and not modern transit. This despite the systems that were built in Seattle and in NYC in the early 1960s that demonstrated otherwise. (The Seattle monorail is still in use.)

Interestingly enough the monorail used at Disney World is a quite competent system and would be a benefit in any city that was looking for transit.

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I agree that Disney more or less killed the Monorail in America. Part of the issue is that Disney approached the idea not as a transit system but as a ride. He set his imagineers (the ride designers) to work on the project, and they made a lot of concessions. They went for sleekness over practicality, as it was more important to mesh with the theme of Tomorrowland. And they limited size according to the Contemporary resort, through which the monorail passed. This is one of the main reasons why it is so small, both height, width, and length. finally, they wanted the experience of the "conductor", so they had manual doors at first, which makes the thing look terribly labor intensive.

But even beyond the monorail, there are a lot of interesting ideas at the parks for transportation. Most of their ride systems are simply small versions of automated movers - the Universe of Energy is fascinating because the ride theater vehicles run but automated guidance wires and have no tracks. And the Tomorrowland Transit Authority is a LIM-driven people mover which has been working quite reliably and steadily for a couple of decades now. But the best is actually Pooh's Hunny Hunt in Tokyo. These cars move completely independently, not attached to each other and not guided by a track. They are all directed by a central computer. This is in fact a very small scale kind of peoplemover system, with a controlling computer guiding each car independently.

If you want a video of it, here is one: Pooh's Hunny Hunt on YouTube

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