Super City was a toy released in 1967 and consisted of plastic frames and shapes to create-well, your own city. It had very cool television commercials-here is the 1968 commercial in French on Youtube . If you were a kid and had an interest in design or engineering you wanted Super City. Unfortunately the toy was too complex for children, and the product was pulled from the market. Artist and author Douglas Coupland said that “anything made from Super City looked like a Craig Ellwood, or a Neutra or a Wallace K. Harrison“.
And perhaps Douglas’ remarks are apropos as Tech Insider has written that the startup accelerator Y Combinator wants to create a city from scratch. These are the same people who brought the world Airbnb and Dropbox.
Y Combinator wants to design the smartest city possible using technologies that would be challenging to implement in existing cities. They are hiring researchers to review housing affordability, ponder zoning, and review current and future technologies. This is similar to the work that Google’s parent company Alphabet embarked upon in their Smart Cities competition won by Columbus Ohio. This competition was jointly sponsored by the U. S. Department of Transportation and the winner receives up to 40 million dollars to become the first city to “fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors – into their transportation network.“
What is curious is how the media around innovative technology integration is not addressing active transportation as the super city’s synergistic foundation. Lets hope the researchers being hired by Y Combinator remember that every journey begins with a walk, and plan the town of tomorrow around people walking and biking too.