Syd Mead, in 1982, on the conception of Blade Runner’s city

// I was initially only trying to find again some of the ridleygrams & storyboards of Alien, the concept arts of the Nostromo, etc. But i got this too.

// Everything stolen from

Syd Mead: First of all you had this incredible congestion at street level. The streets had become like the underground sewers of Paris or the leftover space as you built higher and higher. I made a sketch of the typical new city where we had the World Trade Tower sized building which is now old and the new buildings going up past 3000 feet high. Then you start to build an entire elevated network of connections because decent people don’t live below 60 stories above the ground. So the street level becomes an access corridor and really nothing more. If you are forced to live there by economic accident or whatever, it’s a very unpleasant place to be. You get this congestion of cars and big machines that are just there. They are owned by the city, and they just sit there for a month. People are camping under them, and there is a Hong Kong or Calcutta kind of density that Ridley was after. The Oriental graphics on the streets contribute to that density without being as distracting as English language signs would be for an American culture. They give you the visual crowd and the add-on visual jumble without too much distraction. I had noticed that myself in Tokyo on the Ginza where the signs look incredibly jumbled, but I was not distracted by being able to read them so I could enjoy the pure visual composited they created. (American Cinematographer, July 1982, p687)

for a reason

I’d also like to point out that large financial centers in certain cities around the planet are certainly going to kill millions of us by destroying our social safety networks in the name of their imaginary financial efficiency. You’re a thousand times more likely to die because of what some urban banker did in 2008 than from what some Afghan-based terrorist did in 2001. *Financiers live in small, panicky urban cloisters, severely detached from the rest of mankind. They are living today in rich-guy ghetto cults. They are truly dangerous to our well-being, and they are getting worse and more extremist, not better and more reasonable. You’re not gonna realize this havoc till you see your elderly Mom coughing in an emergency ward, but she’s going there for a reason.

– Bruce Sterling in an interview on BoingBoing on Cities