Henry Ford’s Helsinki -City of the Future – not what I expected

Having just published he article on Arup Journal with it’s reference to the Low2No competition – this article from WE ARE HELSINKI referred to on the Jatkasaari website, gives reference to a different view on Ford and shows how he was unable to see the results of his innovations and his “people car”


Although Henry Ford is remembered for his creating mass production of private cars, promoting consumerism and anti-Semitism, he also had ideas that seem quite progressive even today.

According to Ford’s ideology, a “semi-rural farm city” is the key to a modern community. Ford also wished society would be rid of its dependence on coal, which he thought to be an unreliable source of energy in the long run. Suburbs would develop hydroelectric and other sustainable forms of power instead. Energy would also be consumed less in tight-knit communities where everyone is a producer.

Farm citizens would combine the denseness and activeness of the city into a naturally self-sustaining model. They’d know who lives next door, and where their food comes from. According to Ford, the life of farm citizens would be healthier, happier, and more diverse and useful compared to the traditional model of people settling for quite simple roles. Sounds potentially Jätkäsaari-esque.”

The post-Madonna era of Jätkäsaari could well be an urban utopia that has been dreamt of since way back when. As the Low2No project takes flight, old ladies, families with children and young night crawlers grow their food together and relax at the neighborhood sauna – after they’ve hung their laundry out to dry in a common laundromat. During the winter, work or school is only a ski trip away and once spring rolls in, even the suits gather to fix their bikes together.

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Arup Journal (via dA Digital Lab)

Arup are one of of the leaders in planning of green cities, well known as the designers of Dontang Eco-City, which although sadly seemingly now downgraded was a seminal model for similar projects worldwide.

Dongtan: The world’s first large-scale eco-city?

Their competition winning C-Life -City as a Living Factory of Ecology for the Jatkasaari brownfield develpeoment in Helsinki FInland is equally interesting and state of the art in Sustainable design as it takes a significant portion of its input from public engagement with future users, which is remarkable for an engineering oriented approach.

The Arup Journal profiled here although heavily biased to engineering contains some interesting articles on landscape interventions as well – look especially at 3/2009 with an article on Songdo IBD Central Park, Korea. This also gives me an opportunity to profile Arup’s contribution to sustainable design along with their remarkable engineering acomplishments continues the tradition of their founder Ove Arup.

Arup Journal A great resource filled with technical and visual information relating building technology. In the current issue of Arup Journal there’s an article about the Denmark Pavilion Expo 2010 Shanghai. In the article it covers various aspects of the design process as well as a detailed coverage about the structure of the building. Nonetheless, the rest of the magazine is worthwhile reading. … Read More

via dA Digital Lab