Futurama, City of 1960

Futurama, the city of 1960, designed by Norman Bel Geddes for the General Motors Exhibit at the New York World's Fair in 1939 portrayed an automobile-centered, futuristic city featuring broad, double-decked streets surrounded by widely spaced modern skyscrapers. The model featured half a million buildings, thousands of lanes of multi-land highways, more than a million trees––rivers, lakes, streams and mountains––rural towns, and tower city centers. The display winded a third of a mile around the General Motors Highways and Horizons building at the Fair. The message was clear, as automobile use increases the country must plan for a future where the American city is "replanned around a highly developed modern traffic system... whenever possible the right of way of these express city thoroughfares [will] be routed as to displace outmoded business sections and undesirable slums."


A Futurama promo pamphlet in our archive describes the future city of 1960, with "abundant sunshine, fresh air, fine green parkways, recreational and civic centers – all the result of thoughtful planning and design. There are approximately 38,000,000 motorcars in this America of 1960––almost a third more than in 1940.... Modern and efficient city planning––breath-taking architecture––each city block a complete unit in itself.  Broad, one-way thoroughfares––space, sunshine, light, and air."