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28 October 2014
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Architecture Week 2004
The City of the Future
Words: Bren O'Callaghan
Monorail montage
So much for Buck Rogers in the 21st Century...

The City of the Future

Patrick Keiller

Media Lounge
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until 27th June

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Acclaimed filmmaker Patrick Kellier (Robinson in Space) presents The City of the Future; a visual, interactive map of Liverpool and elsewhere in the UK that reveals just how little the architectural landscape has changed in the past 100 years.

"If you watch Metropolis, or similar futuristic fantasies... there's something there that didn't happen."
Click here to listen

Fritz Lang's vision of the future in iconic movie 'Metropolis'.

"It was prompted by the idea that in the 20th century the built environment didn't change as much as people had said it might or should at the beginning of the century," explains Keiller.

"The project is called City of the Future which is a kind of joke- it's not about our city of the future, it's that we live in THEIR city of the future."

"There's a tolerance of the shortcomings of cities on the basis that somehow it's exciting, more glamorous."
Click here to listen

Modernist hopes of monorails and sci-fi domed pavillions appear all but extinguished as the future remains very much tethered to the past; for every wondrous glass skyscraper there are thousands of poorly built, rabbit-hutch homes.

Advances in technology have altered the way in which we live, work and communicate, yet the physical, urban environment adapts to changes at a slower pace.

"Is there a future for cities... or are they becoming ghettos for the rich?"
Click here to listen

Albert Dock & Liver Building
Albert Dock & Liver Building.

Keiller shows how silent cinema documents the true evolution of the concrete jungles in which we live.

The Albert Dock here in Liverpool carves a black silhouette against the sky of 1897, whilst churches and ornate Georgian terraces have since been bulldozed in favour of shopping developments and car parks.

Will Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds become one indistinct mass - the LA of the UK?
Click here to listen

Despite the new century having stamped its boot print upon the region, still the granite and marble stalwarts remain. But is all that set to change?

Demand for residential accomodation has never been greater. Customer service-led business is gobbling office space and the Liverpool teeters upon the brink of a frenzied construction phase.

Perhaps now, the dozing city giants will face their first true competition. Roll on the tinfoil leisurewear...

 

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