Friday, December 14, 2007

The Hartfordland of Tomorrow

The architect's rendering is one of my favorite art forms. In it you can find more unalloyed hope, a rosier version of the future, a far more perfect world, than you might pick up in a whole month's worth of presidential debates. Take the drawing that accompanies today's release of the new plans for Front Street in Hartford. Here is the Hartford of tomorrow: clean, well-ordered, vaguely seductive and basically depopulated. The handsome buildings exude a sophisticated urban vibe, although their purpose is unclear, and their signage doesn't really say anything coherent. The streets are peaceful and extraordinarily uncrowded. A couple of cars, small and stylish, make their way unhurriedly. Citizens, sleek and gainfully employed (judging from the briefcases) stroll and chat. In this version of the near future even the dogs, unleashed, trot obediently alongside their masters. The trees are worth noting, too. They are lollipop-shaped and seem to grow very close to the buildings without ever quite touching them. These wonders of nature possess a diaphanous quality, a mysterious there-but-not-quite-there beauty that will also be a part of life in our reborn capital city. The only standard architect's feature missing in this particular rendering is a fountain in which a lone boy sails a toy boat. But surely that will not be denied to those who are brave enough to desire it. In Hartford. In the future. It's just around the next corner.

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