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Urban Planning Fantasies From the Mad Men Era

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The latest Architect's Newspaper takes a long look at all the development action down in Lower Manhattan, including?with an assist from the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center's crazy 4D map o' the future?a map of every project (residential, commercial, institutional and otherwise) south of Canal Street. Even the stalled stuff! It's an overwhelming look at the Lower Manhattan of the future, but what really caught our eye was the Archaper's look at the Lower Manhattan of the future as envisioned by the Lower Manhattan of the past. Let's explain before this turns into an episode of Lost.

The map seen above was part of the Lower Manhattan Plan unveiled by the city in 1966, but competing organizations and government agencies were working to try and reinvent Downtown long before, and ever since. William Menking writes:

The 1966 plan incorporated many earlier DLMA ideas, including use of landfill to extend the boundaries of the district into superblocks, the idea of a world trade center, and using landfill to create a new Hudson River community. It also had its unique components that envisioned a more dynamic waterfront, with coves and protected man-made bays. It imagined the street grid of the area extending out to the water’s edge, ameliorating the ill effects of the superblocks and serving as “windows on the water.”So if this plan been carried out without adjustments, developers would now be competing to build luxury houseboats? Damn you, Altamont, for ruining everything!
· The Planning of Lower Manhattan [Archpaper]
· Lower Manhattan Shaping Up [Archaper]