In San Francisco on September 4 there is a great panel discussion happening on a subject dear to my heart, Why Is the House of the Future So Tied to the Past?
Why do the Jetsons remain the high bar of futurist thinking when it comes to the places we live in? Panelists Tom Chi, experience lead at Google X; architect Michelle Kaufmann; Ronald Rael, architect, author and assistant professor at UC Berkeley; and moderator Allison Arieff, contributing columnist to The New York Times and editor of The Urbanist, will discuss how can we expand our ideas about the house of the future to create inspired visions of the 21st century American Dream.
It is a subject we have covered many times on TreeHugger; Here is a roundup of some of our houses of the future from the past.
O, the future. Where we get to live under power lines and mainline all the juice we need. Complete with electric mood control. More in TreeHugger
Robert Heinlein's House of the Future
Alas, it isn't a tesseract as described in And He Built a Crooked House, but Robert Heinlein did build himself a very interesting modern house that is a good model for building today. More in TreeHugger
Vision of the City of the Future From 1950 Is Not That Far Off From the Reality of the PresentWe visit the Dobson family in Tottenville, a new town built around an airport much like the aeropolises that are now being proposed. "it is a crime to burn raw coal and pollute the air with soot and smoke". More in TreeHugger
Monsanto House of the Future
The best ever. One of the buildings that inspired me to become an architect.
a glimpse of carefree futuristic living inside a plastic-walled floating cruciform structure with picture phones, height-adjustable sinks, dishes washed by ultrasonic waves, and atomic food preservation.
More in TreeHugger
Disney's New Dream Home: Worse Than We Dreamed
Bruce Handy, writing in Time about Disney's reopening of a deliberately out-of-date Tomorrowland in 1998, began his essay with the sentence, "The future isn't what it used to be." He went on, "It's not a novel observation to point out that our culture has become increasingly backward looking."
Well, given the future envisioned in Disney's House of the Future, who can blame us for looking the other way?
Disney's Tomorrowland is deeply, thoroughly, almost furiously unimaginative. This isn't the fault of the "Disney culture"; it is the fault of our culture. We seem to have entered a deeply unimaginative era.