An elevated highway in Guangzhou, China, is transformed into a pedestrian promenade, and rooftops are linked by raised walkways and bikeways.
In Jakarta, Indonesia, traditional bike taxis called becaks are re-engineered to be lighter and easier to steer.
The three cities and seven others are featured in an exhibit on environmentally friendly transportation of the future opening Thursday in New York. The exhibit, titled “Our Cities Ourselves,” will be at the Center for Architecture in Greenwich Village through Sept. 11 before traveling to the other cities, which include Buenos Aires, Argentina; Budapest, Hungary, and Johannesburg, organizers said.
“We hired 10 architects from cities all over the world to help us imagine what their cities might look like in 2030 if we made the cities more human scale, more environmentally sustainable,” said Walter Hook, the executive director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, which organized the exhibit with funding from the San Francisco-based ClimateWorks Foundation.
“We’re essentially trying to send the message that if cities don’t move in this direction we’re going to be faced with cataclysmic climate change, because in the developing world the use of private automobiles is escalating at double-digit rates,” Hook said.
The exhibit includes images and 3D models of urban neighborhoods as they are envisioned in 2030 alongside current photos of the same neighborhoods.
In the township of Soweto, in Johannesburg, current photos show low-rise housing and not much else. But the Soweto of 2030 is bustling with markets and public spaces.
The model of Guangzhou, also known as Canton, shows a network of rooftop footpaths evoking Dr. Seuss.
The Utopian vision of lower Manhattan shows pedestrians, bicycles and very few cars. Architect Michael Sorkin, who designed the New York piece of the exhibit, said he thinks it’s “completely feasible.”
“Our Cities Ourselves” travels to Guangzhou after New York. The other cities in the exhibit are Ahmedabad; Budapest; Buenos Aires; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Jakarta; Johannesburg; Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro.