The Value of a City Miniature Model

How much value can a miniature model of a city have? Why don’t you ask the citizens and officials of San Francisco? They have a roughly 40 feet x 40 feet model of the city from the 1930s that is a buzz in the city today for conversations around the city’s history, present, and democratic urban planning for the future. That’s despite the model having been recently rediscovered and restored, some 80 years after it was built and 70 years after it had been put away? But if you can’t talk to the San Franciscans, or the right ones, have a listen to the 99% Invisible podcast below and hear for yourself!

Every city needs a decent city model, it would seem to me. There seems to be something about seeing the entirety of something in front of our eyes that changes our minds and feelings about it. Think about the Blue Marble photo of planet Earth taken over 50 years ago. It still inspires many. But so few cities have such a model, probably for the worse, and that’s too bad.

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