Sometime during the second half of the 20th century, American companies forgot how to dream. The social and political upheaval of the 1960’s and 1970’s may have squelched the raw optimism of previous decades, but this only made the need for inspiring visions even more important in the face of new, complex business environments.
In 1940 General Motors offered “Futurama” as their vision of the future. It went beyond automotive design, delineating plans for a new kind of city to accommodate increased auto usage, as with the elevated walkways below. In hindsight it’s easy to criticize this particular vision, but I’m sure it inspired employees and customers with an optimistic, realistic vision which the company could work towards.
Norman Bel Geddes, “Magic Motorways” from GM’s Futurama: Pedestrians and motorcars will continue on their way without interference.