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New York City in 2400 AD

NYC 2400 human heritage site architecture

Here’s a sad bit of architectural conjecture. How New York City might be experienced by a traveler in the 24th century – preserved almost as a museum piece: literally as a “Human Heritage Site.”

It is imagined by two European architects for whom it is easy to understand the meaning of climate change over multiple centuries, since European cities have many buildings that are many hundreds of years old.

Enrico Pieraccioli and Claudio Granato from Noci Italy took the Second Prize in speculations concerned with imagining a possible future, in the The New York City Vision competition.

They imagine what it would take to preserve New York City for the future centuries when sea levels are expected to be much higher than now as a result of the blanket of carbon dioxide that we are gradually building around our earth, by burning up four times more fossil energy than the earth can handle.

NYC in 2400 architecture

The height of the wall it would take to achieve this grim vision is well over the scale of the hoover dam, as you can see from comparing it with the tallest building.

NYC in 2400 engineered architecture

It would be no fun looking out from these buildings towards the wall – you would not even be able to see the water.

“Every form of progress, every technological invention, linked to the development society, brings with it a double image,” say the architects. “Into success is also included anxiety and danger of possible and probable failure.”

“If it’s true that the destructive effects never cease to act, and that they are repeated in the history of every cycle, it is true that what is civilization at a given time, will be the primitive state in the next moment. Creation and Destruction, the scene endlessly. The feverish speculative activity in human years, within the “grid”, has led to a heaviness of the Earth. The temperature increases slowly.”

The two see that, just as Pompeii was preserved, as the paradigm of the twentieth century’s global urbanism, New York must be preserved. “Crib of the whims of man, of consumerism and entertainment, it cannot be erased and forgotten, but is stored as a chip in our DNA. A document on how we were. Atlas of civilization and of archaeological as Pompeii and Herculaneum were examples of civilization of a people.”

Whether this would be practically possible is another question. Just the sheer volume of concrete needed, alone, is surely not available to any project in a world that even now has seven billion people who will also need some of that material to meet more temporary needs. And for a museum?

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