City of the Future

Los_Angeles lg

It's back to the future with Newsweek's new focus on the city of 2030. Newsweek and Sprint recently asked resident architects to predict the face of their city 20 years from now. The series, which started by predicting New York City's future last spring, continues with Los Angeles. LA architects Michael Maltzan, Wil Carson, Dandan Wang, and Guang Xu predict "a more multicultural, multimodal, interconnected, and sustainable model city."

At Newsweek's Web site you can see their four predicted areas of change: home, work, commute and recreation. The home section features a video, urging vertical expansion as a solution to urban sprawl. The architects predict that future spaces will lie within the existing Los Angeles footprint. Expansion will more upwards, rather than horizontally. They even suggest that parks will sit on buildings, between floors of offices or apartments.

At work, these architects predict a trend that many designers have already noted: open spaces. Workplaces will become decentralized and new workplaces will be built in unused seams and spaces of existing communities. These new workplaces, predict the Los Angeles architects, will act as social connectors between neighborhoods and individuals.

Although today's Los Angeles is car-dominated, future commutes will become multimodal. New high-speed rail systems will support a less car-driven city and culture. New modes of transport will create a more connected city.

Finally, the architects predict newly hybridized landscapes for future recreation. They cited Los Angeles as a city where "work and play are no longer isolated activities; they are concurrently absorbing one another." Recreational spaces will be tied to technology, while social networks will gain greater significance in the workplace. The boundaries between spaces for work and play will blur, and this will ignite a similar blending of landscape and urbanism.

The city of the future looks lofty, open, connected, and integrated. I would say that's a pretty optimistic picture. Would you agree with these predictions? How do you think our cities will look in 2030?

–Lillian Civantos

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