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(Im)possible Chicago #7
A forest was allowed to grow and blanket the city after its roads and parking lots were depaved, its houses and skyscrapers carted away.

While the process of ecological succession took a while, the desired climax community was reached in record time with the use of expert wilderness management strategies.

Encircling this 145,400-acre urban park is the successor city, thickly encrusted on a thin but continuous band of annexed suburban territory and sand nourished coastline. Separating the two is the new Michigan Avenue, still flower-potted and Art Nouveau-lighted but serviced with the longest subway line in the world. This grand boulevard has been tasked with the monumental job of stopping the city's sheer, vertiginous cliff-like streetwall (a mile-high in some places) from creeping into the woods.


Within are cabinets de verdure, or “rooms” cut into the woodland; the big cultural events take place here. They are all connected together by a network of allĂ©es, which are lined with topiaries of unrelentingly unvariegated design.

Beyond these formal clearings are hunting grounds, orchards, wildlife refuge areas, camping grounds and even an experimental Pleistocene Park. One can still detect the outlines and landforms of the old park system, but they're now mostly bramble patches dotted with the ruins of fountains.

All forms of dwelling are strictly prohibited, not even housing for park rangers on duty. However, the homeless and the hermits occasionally manage to avoid detection. When they are discovered, the homeless are swiftly evicted, their hovels razed to the ground. On the other hand, the hermits merely get a warning, because their authentic hermitages have become fashionable landscape accessories again.

  • namhenderson
  • January 20, 2011 at 3:50:00 PM CST
  • I have meant to ask previously.. but are you writing/conjuring up these hallucinatory joyrides yourself?

    Would you consider them a type of design ficition? Why or why not?

  • Georgia
  • January 21, 2011 at 4:01:00 PM CST
  • I wish I could recall the call for design proposals for Chicago that I read recently. Anyway, this hallucination sounds like a good fit for the call.

  • Georgia
  • January 21, 2011 at 7:21:00 PM CST
  • Here's the competition link

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