New York has changed a lot over the centuries — but the strangest transformations could still be in the future. At least, that's what a group of artists and designers think, based on the results of a competition to design strange and dystopian visions of the city's future. The finalists include visions of buildings floating into space, and Central Park becoming the only place in the city with buildings.
The New York CityVision competition launched with the provocative (but confusing) question, "If the future is gone, what past is expecting us?" The competition asked participants to design a New York City shaped by an alternate history, a complete failure of modern urban policy, or any combination of the two themes. There were no limitations on art style or vision.
The winning entries range from pragmatic — like the first place winner focusing on garbage disposal as a power source — to the whimsical and ridiculous, like the honorable mention entry that features famous buildings and landmarks leaving the city for new environs. To be fair, some of the less dramatic entries eschewed apocalypse for daring urban design that would dramatically change the iconic skyline.
First Prize: Eirini Giannakopoulou, Stefano Carera, Hilario Isola, and Matteo Norzi
The first prize winner envisioned a New York where the population of Manhattan left for the boroughs, and the island is turned into a trash dump that supplies the city with energy. Note how only the tops of the skyscrapers are free of trash.
Second Prize: E. Pieraccioli, C. Granato
The second place winner shows New York as an archeological site, preserving a 20th century snapshot. Large concrete walls hold back the encroaching ocean. (See top image for more of this.)
Farm Prize: Miles Fujiki
This plan lays out the Institute for Imagining New York, a collective of artists, writers, historians, lunatics, futurists, architects, urban archeologists, mystics, skateboarders that resists "brute economics."
Honorable Mention: J. Tigges, F. Segat, A. Menon, N. di Croce
In this strange entry the landmarks of New York leave the city in an Exodus because they "feared to slide into premature congealment," and they relocate to more vibrant locations, including Mars.
Honorable Mention: B. Roberts
In this more mundane solution, the designer sees the skyline transformed by horizontal landscapes.
Special Mention: F. Furiassi
Instead of Central Park being one isolated zone of nature "imprisoned" by all those buildings, what if Manhattan were reversed? So that the island becomes all nature, except for one strip of buildings.
Special Mention: A. Koetter – J. Rowen – E. Zeifman
The existing Manhattan blocks are "embalmed" — preserved for all time in their pristine state — while a new structure is put in place six stories above the streets of the city. The city grid is doubled, so that "the streets become buildings, and the blocks are left open."