Celebrating Back To The Future Day
Today is October 21st, 2015, the day Marty McFly piloted his flying DeLorean from thirty years into the future from 1985. If you were alive in the 80’s or 90’s you must at least be aware of the Back To The Future film franchise if not a significant fan. There are many articles about where BTTF got it right and got it wrong about what life would be like to day. Well, I am hear to report that in terms of city growth and urban economics, BTTF got it nearly 100% RIGHT. In fact, if you want to understand the “urban resurgence” of today, just go watch these films (specifically the first two). Let me explain…
- Back To The Future Part I – Film starts in 1985, Hill Valley, a suburban expanse with a dead downtown (literally, the power is out and it’s only inhabited by homeless people). The suburbs are the place to be. Best of all, where do they launch the DeLorean up to 88 mph?? YEP, the Twin Pines Mall, a suburban shopping mall iconic of the 70’s and 80’s. This captures the decline of the downtown and flee to suburbia for safety and isolation that defined the urban movement of that era.
- BTTF Part I – Goes back in time to 1955, the suburbs are “coming soon”. The city square is alive, people bike and walk everywhere, children play in the streets, good ole’ days are still alive. For those living in the 80’s, this was a romantic fixation with an idealistic past. Notice, it is a urban village past!
- BTTF Part II – Goes forward to 2015 (yeah, like today 2015) and what do we see?? Downtown is alive, modern, walk-able, and the center of activity. What about the suburbs? No mention of the mall (maybe it’s dead?), and the McFly residence in the suburbs seems dark, isolated, and the police seem to want to flee (remember when the drop young Jennifer off at “her” home). Hmm, seem like what’s going on today?? IT IS
Yes these movies accurately portrayed the rise and fall of the city and most amazingly, the urban resurgence! If you are real estate person, go re-watch and see from a whole new perspective.
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