Sponsored Project


Lev Anderson
Lev Anderson

MODEL CITY engages personalities, architecture, and politics in tracing the social and physical contours of Irvine, California. In 1959, with near-utopian visions of cultivating a new town from their vast orange groves and bean fields, the Irvine Company began developing the most successful master-planned community in the U.S. Embracing strict design principles eliminating the spontaneity and decay of traditional urban areas, Irvine is now America's safest. Beige structures and palm trees dot the urban fabric with spotless uniformity giving the creeping feel of a model landscape. The auto-centric living of Southern California is amplified by looping grid-defying streets and shopping islands. However, the lofty vision of modern life neglected the greenhouse gases. Irvine is a master-planned version of mainstream America hurtling forward into a future of rising sea levels, wildfires, and severe weather.Still, behind the stucco facades and reflective office park glass, the city retains the utopian promise of top-rated public schools and university, innovative businesses,and a globally diverse population all corralled by rational planning and the Company's profit motive. MODEL CITY is an entertaining exploration of how we live, how we want to live, and how we may adapt to a shifting economy and the looming threat of climate change.

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