Design For An Electric City For The 20th Century- in 1894
Before he reinvented marketing with the disposable blade, King Gillette wanted to reinvent the city and society. Annalee Newitz of io9 describes his plans:
Gillette wanted to solve the problem of social inequality with his perfect city, which he named Metropolis. The city, which he outlines in his book The Human Drift, would be built on top of Niagara Falls. Gillette wanted to Nikola Tesla design a water-powered electrical grid, which would be amply supplied with energy from the falls.
Everyone lived in round towers sitting in a hexagonal grid, each with a link to a school, recreation or food storage and preparation facility. Transportation was by "rubber-tired electrical carriages and bicycles." Sidewalks were made of glass; Annalee writes:
The sidewalks of the city would be transparent so that workers laboring beneath the buildings, dealing with plumbing and other infrastructure, would have light. But Gillette also wanted the city's residents to see the people at work below their feet. The idea was to prevent people from forgetting about all the essential work that goes into making a city run.
I am reminded of Richard Florida's discussion of Tor-Buf-Chester, about which he wrote:
Tor-Buff-Chester is bigger than the San Francisco-Silicon Valley mega-region, Greater Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and more than twice the size of Cascadia, which stretches from Vancouver to Seattle and Portland. Its economic might is equivalent to more than half of all of Canada's. If it were its own country, it would number among the 16 biggest in the world, with economic output bigger than that of Sweden, the Netherlands, or Australia.
Instead of taking advantage of some of the best rail and water transportation in the world and the singular resource that is the clean energy of Niagara Falls, we have a thickening border that is killing trade and tourism, and struggling, half empty rust belt cities on both sides of the border.
What a crazy, artificial and necessary misallocation of resources.