NewCity: architecture and morality

Dear friends,

I now work in NewCity, a splendid place situated in the foothills of the mountains.

From what I have seen and been advised by my colleagues, it boasts a people-friendly design lacking in the coastal metropolis, still thriving but now diminished by flooding.

NewCity is fronted by parks laid out in a straight line. I must tell you there is there is a quite very complex, automated watering system, about which I shall find out more.

The state buildings etc. run along a promenade (terrace?) overlooking this parkland.

‘THIS WAY TO DECENTRALIZATION’ reads my favourite sign.

Brainchild of a sub-committee of architects, planners, politicians, developers and marketers, NewCity was ostensibly built to provide greater (decentralised) high-density housing options at a time when the population is dramatically expanding courtesy of the authorities’ proactive efforts to import labour to plug industry skills gaps.

The asbestos-free dwellings consist of a mix of low-income multis (with names like Glen Brook, Lap Stone, Mull Grave, River Stone etc.) ranging from 20 to 30 storeys and luxury apartments.

NewCity was designed for pleasure living to the extent that it’s being promoted as a spa town for high-flying coast dwellers, some of whom I expect will be inspired to make art based on our unique network of walkways. The bright green railings are must-see.

By way of urban renewal of mountainside suburbs, there are height-controlled ‘Low-Rise’ private apartment blocks with exterior maintenance, concierges, security bunkers, underground parking, LED coloured lighting system, insulation, fitness centres, retail arcades etc. etc. plus mountain views and/or unfettered access to the large expanse of greenbelt land known as CentrePark.

Streetscape improvements are ongoing.

In constructing the towers, the NewCity Housing Corporation agreed to my company’s proposal to incorporate recycled materials salvaged from retired factories and other ruins in flooded zones after the city’s demolition project, as well as the standard pre-fabricated concrete slabs.

Many of these towers are built into the mountainside alongside retail parks in a zone covered by CCTV surveillance systems. Heavy industry remains confined to the suburban ring.

Along with the rejuvenated riverside developments in the ‘old’ city where buildings like historic warehouses have been restored in contemporary design, NewCity’s designer flats mostly house those citizens displaced from now submerged coastal areas and/or retirees and NewCity executives.

Data shows the segregation promotes social cohesion and connectedness in the blue-chip estates, as well as in the anonymous grey blocks. Further east lie the business district of state buildings, conference centres and corporate skyscrapers which is also fronted by sizable tracts of parkland split by a new high-speed coastal motorway, the city road. Unlike the city proper, NewCity places restrictions on car use.

I am employed by the city-based developers of the River Stone project, New World Living Limited, which also project-managed the inner-city New Town estate. On Tuesdays I travel with my team down to the old city where I work closely with a former refugee, Omar Diouf, whose shrapnel-scarred legs contain metal screws and plates from three different continents.

This city, where capitalism thrives and ‘things get done’, now boasts Residence Island, for immigrant workers who are housed in the Hostel for Men and Hostel for Women respectively. This, and other such islands (Airport Island for instance) is linked to the mainland by traffic and pedestrian tunnels, though the ferry system is much expanded also.

The ‘old’ coastal city has dwindled in size owing to the rise in sea levels which left large tracts of lands – whole suburbs – abandoned to the ocean, and created a number of small islands that now sit off the shore of a metropolis fortified by a system of dams and dykes.

During the deluge, I am told cars and debris floated down the city’s rivers. Flood tourists arrived in their droves to picnic in view of such sights as a giant bull forced up against a railway bridge, its entrails falling out.

I shall tell you more in the future.



© David Hull. Known Pleasures. 2011.

Bye for now.

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