08w01:2 The City of the Future: 2108

by timothy. 0 Comments

Richard Florida linked to this story on his blog, and his request for comments (the rhetorical ‘Your thoughts …’ ) prompted me to post a link to GR 07w49:4, in which I presented my own ideas about the ‘City of the Future’, not necessarily New York. Florida, given his expertise, focuses on the economic and cultural relevance of the future city, whereas I focus on its form.

Florida predicts that London will become the Western world’s unofficial capital, whereas I would posit such predictions are (as usual) foolhardy: who’s to say that even the concept of ‘the Western World’ will still be relevant? Although this elevation of London suggests something to me, and that is: London has always been the Western World’s capital, ever since the days of the British Empire in the 19th Century. The 18th Century wars between England and France were fought to establish this pecking order, and in a sense the 19th Century represented a sharing of power: Politics and Economics went to London, culture went to Paris. The renewal of European hostilities in the 20th Century meant that the Western World Capital was for a time assigned to New York, which absorbed Europe’s tired and hungry and poor. New York not only got to be an economic capital, but the cultural as well.

Now that the USA has begun rejecting the world’s miserable, when it’s not outright torturing them, London has been able to take back the mantle. In other, simpler words: the King was critically wounded in battle, the Prince became Regent during the King’s recovery, but now the King is better and the Prince can go back to immiserating the peasants, exercising droits de seigneur and the like. God save the king.

I did a search through the New York Times archives to see what they were reporting a hundred years ago, and some of the highlights are below.

The World of Tomorrow | Jim Rasenberger
“ON Jan. 1, 1908 — New Year’s Day one century ago — The New York World greeted readers with a stirring rumination about the past and future of America. The title of the article was simply ‘1808 — 1908 — 2008.’ The World began by marveling at how far America had come since 1808, then turned to the question of the future: ‘What will the year 2008 bring us? What marvels of development await the youth of tomorrow?'”

Lent on Wednesday Earliest since 1856
February 2, 1913, Sunday – Not since 1856 has Lent begun so early as it begins this year, and not until 2,008 will it start so early again. Ash Wednesday is the Wednesday in the sixth week preceding Easter Sunday, the date of which is regulated by the paschal full moon, which is the full moon next after March 21st.

How Little Japan is Becoming Great | The New York Times
PARIS, Dec. 18 1907. — One of the most remarkable books which has been devoted to Japan and Japanese politics since the deluge of such works immediately after the close of the Russian-Japanese war has just been published in Paris by M. Leo Byram under the title, “Petit Jap deviendra grand.”

Rules of the Road for the Airships | New York Times
PARIS, Jan. 4 1908. — Two prominent sportsmen, well known in Paris aeronautic circles, MM. Vonviller and Florio, laid a bet of $20,000 this week as to who would be the first to fly a circular mile in an aeroplane without once touching the earth. Both men are now constructing machines on the Farman principle.

1907-1908 | The New York Times
January 1, 1908, Wednesday
A glance backward shows us that there was no real necessity for the grievous ills which we brought upon ourselves in the year now closed, and that we therefore have the destiny of 1908 largely in our control. In 1907 we had neither war, pestilence, famine, earthquake, nor conflagration.

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