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December 7, 2008 6:26 AM   Subscribe

"The plans for Victory City have evolved over a period of 38 years, nurtured by the vision and dedication of Victory City's inventor, Orville Simpson II [no relation]. Mr. Simpson conceived of the general idea of Victory City in 1936, when he was only 13 years old. Afraid of being ridiculed, Mr. Simpson kept his ideas about designing and building the City of the Future to himself … a secret vision he held in his mind... It wasn't until 1960 — after he had embarked on a lucrative career in real estate investing and apartment building management — that Mr. Simpson decided to make his ideas about Victory City known to the general public."
posted by Miko (35 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Victory City™ is the wave of the future. It's an entire city all under one roof . . . Boasting no crime, no pollution, and no over-crowding, Victory City is a veritable utopia for those who've grown weary of trying to find solutions to today's urban problems.

Renew! Renew! Renew!
posted by billysumday at 6:34 AM on December 7, 2008


So he's kind of a homegrown cross between Le Corbusier and Soleri then?

Good on him, but I don't think building really big buildings is really going to get rid of crime and pollution.

(It's almost quaint, really. Thirty years ago, Gerard K. O'Neill was designing these things IN SPACE!!!)
posted by Naberius at 6:38 AM on December 7, 2008


I hope these Victory Cities will be better than Victory Cigarettes. I can't stand those things -- the tobacco always falls out when you want a smoke. Don't even get me started on Victory Coffee. Doubleplusungood.
posted by eschatfische at 6:45 AM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Any idea hatched in 1936 will seem quaint. I love the underlying biases: that people would be so besotted by teh futurism!!1! that they'd willingly move into enormous dormitory-malls, breathing stale air and never seeing the sky.

I wish Orville Simpson II had been my grandfather.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:46 AM on December 7, 2008


Oh, and [this is really really good]
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:50 AM on December 7, 2008


This is really great. And so thorough!

Weird product placement, though: Water Pik® booths will be placed strategically about the cafeteria so that all the people in Victory City will be able to clean their teeth at the earliest possible moment after eating... By having these booths so close and convenient to the cafeteria, many people who are not now acquainted with Water Piks® will become so, and everybody will be encouraged to use them.
posted by amyms at 6:50 AM on December 7, 2008


Any solutions to the current prison problems should be encouraged.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:54 AM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Orville Simpson II [no relation]

Still checking the O.J. family tree...

Seriously though, I hope this place has better luck than Defeat City, which for reasons unbeknown to me never got past the planning stage.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:54 AM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oath of Fealty by Niven and Pournelle explores this concept a bit..
posted by DreamerFi at 7:02 AM on December 7, 2008


I'd try it out - can't be worse than living in Phoenix.
posted by Bageena at 7:09 AM on December 7, 2008


Dear Visionary:
As you may be aware, we receive many proposals for revolutionary concepts which will allow humanity to finally realize its fullest potential in a world of the future in which there is no war or disease.

We have given your proposal our fullest attention and find the following details you may have overlooked:

[X] You can't shack a lot of people into tight quarters like that without somebody snapping.
[ ] Your architecture requires nonexistent materials.
[X] Your architecture presumes an absence of wind, precipitation, and earthquakes.
[ ] Earth gravity is not optional.
[ ] People have needs that extend beyond food, warmth, and sleep.
[ ] You're not calling it taxation, but the financing system you propose is taxation anyway.
[X] Not everybody wants the same thing.
[ ] Many people actually prefer companionship to hermetic isolation.
[X] Efficient, rapid transportation is only worthwhile if there's a reason to travel between identical locations.
[ ] Where do your cities' sewers drain?
[ ] Somebody's got to pay for all those nice things.
[X] Your designs are based on research or futuristic-sounding theories about
    [X] Psychology
    [ ] Nuclear physics
    [ ] Computer science
    [ ] Religion
    [X] Plastics
    that date from the 1950s. Humankind learned a lot more about how things work since then.
[ ] Your proposal is predicated on somebody else already curing all disease.
[X] Your proposal displays some peculiar obsessions with hygiene that others will not adapt to easily.
[X] No matter how hard you try prevent it, inequalities between people, either real or perceived, will arise.
[ ] Zero-emission goods manufacture is not physically possible.
[ ] You assumed nobody will have sex.
[ ] You assumed everybody will convert to
    [ ] Christianity
    [ ] Islam
    [ ] Buddhism
    [ ] Atheism
    [ ] worship of the saucer people
    [ ] worship of you.
[X] After you have solved all problems, what do you propose people do with their time in their gleaming white cities?

Please forgive us for replying with this form letter, but do not be discouraged. Many of the greatest minds of our race have also received this letter. We encourage you to do your best and try again -- as you are aware, all life on earth is at stake!

posted by ardgedee at 7:17 AM on December 7, 2008 [59 favorites]


I've always wanted to live in the Mall of America.
posted by nosila at 7:17 AM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


This guy would've loved SimCity.
posted by boubelium at 7:25 AM on December 7, 2008


Corporate feudalism at its worse. No crime, because the criminals are evicted, to live outside. Nice set-up for Logan's Run.
posted by Goofyy at 7:28 AM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Very Logan's Run indeed
posted by A189Nut at 7:50 AM on December 7, 2008


Pretty soon he'll want it built at the bottom of the ocean. They'll wind up harvesting some stem cells from a sea slug, that's when the genetic engineering starts. Next thing you know they'll have little girls harvesting stem cells from the dead and big guys in diver suits to protect them. Then it will really hit the fan.
posted by smoothvirus at 8:03 AM on December 7, 2008


A nightmare vision of the world run by landlords, for landlords.
posted by WPW at 8:08 AM on December 7, 2008


Victory City is a fascinating website. It's been around forever (posted to MetaFilter over 8 years ago). My favorite quote from the website is this: "Even though Victory City is presently just an elaborate collection of maps, details and floor plans, inventor Orville Simpson II hopes the fictious "city of the future" described on this website will actually be under construction by the year 2002."

Kosmograd had an interesting post 10 days ago. Here's an excerpt:
It's not hard to see flaws in Simpsons utopian vision. He sees no apparent conflict between the draconian social control he covets, its all-powerful state apparatus, and a market economy. There is almost no space given over to commercial usage - retail or business. The city-state holds a monopoly on everything from catering, home furnishings and postal. There will be no taxes, apparently. Crime and social disorder have not been considered, other than a vague panopticon surveillance.

It's easy to dismiss Simpson as a nutjob in a polyester suit with a nose like WC Fields, but is there really any difference between Victory City and say Broadacre City, other than that they are much better drawn, the social engineering not so boldly stated? While Simpson might be more forceful in his desire to model the citizens of Victory City to his values, all utopian socialists inevitably wish to builld society in their own image.
Oh, and obligatory link to William Gibson's short story The Gernsback Continuum.
posted by Kattullus at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2008


OJ Simpson invented Vatican City?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:19 AM on December 7, 2008


See also: Arcology, Arcosanti.
posted by unmake at 9:20 AM on December 7, 2008


Who needs fresh air, anyway?
Maybe we can hang out on the 20' Grass Strip?
posted by Capt Jingo at 9:28 AM on December 7, 2008


The total absurdity of it all really hit me at the cafeteria. Because I just love eating in a giant room, elbow-to-elbow with total strangers. With food choices made by someone else, and warmed over on a Circle-Serv(tm)!

Judging from the floorplans, the residential apartments only have windows in the living rooms, too - a great recipe for widespread depression!
posted by egypturnash at 9:44 AM on December 7, 2008


Any idea hatched in 1936 will seem quaint.

Monorail!
posted by rokusan at 9:49 AM on December 7, 2008


On the upside, I think we have our location for Bioshock 2.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:42 AM on December 7, 2008


My high school director 'taught' a class about cities like this. It consisted mostly of watching CGI videos of self-constructing megacities where everyone gets around by helicopter and listening to him go on about how there's nothing unnatural about living in fiberglass pods and drinking filtered urine.

This was the same director who smoked pot with students, so you had to take it all with a bit of salt. Still, he ended up surrounding himself with so many technocratic sycophants that the school imploded. Shame, really.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:09 AM on December 7, 2008


I read that as Bio-Dome 2, Senor.
posted by swell at 11:16 AM on December 7, 2008


Benefits for Residents

Residents of Victory City will enjoy a staggering list of benefits, including:

Free city services — such as fire and police departments, city maintenance, and educational facilities — due to the fact that there will be no city taxes.

Minimal risk of theft and crime due to the fact that no one carries real money, and police will monitor closed-circuit TV's throughout the city.

Stress-free commuting from home to office in a matter of minutes due to the fact that residents can walk from the residential buildings to the commercial, cafeteria, industry and transportation buildings, no driving necessary.

Fewer health care concerns due to the fact that the rent all residents pay covers health insurance. The elimination of the insurance company's sales department will greatly reduce insurance costs.

More free time for everyone due to the fact that no one needs to cook for themselves. Large cafeterias will feed everyone in the city, and at least one cafeteria will be open all night.

Less pollution due to the fact that Victory Cities will be located in the country, surrounded by farmland, far away from industrial contaminants and emissions. Also, elevators will replace automobiles as the primary form of transportation, so air pollution will be greatly reduced.

Better conservation of land and natural resources due to Victory City's efficient use of building space and surrounding acreage.
Really?! Full surveillance? That's all we need for a crime free society? Not a corporate policed state? Hallejuia! Totalitarian Capitalism sounds like something we haven't tried yet.
posted by quanta and qualia at 12:42 PM on December 7, 2008


Oh, my god, I think this is where we are going. Not as a good direction, mind you, but the next step in evolution beyond the suburbs and the gated communities. There is a non-trivial subset of the population that would welcome this sort of anally ordered, voluntary police-state world and they will flock to it if anyone ever builds it. The need for uniformity and lack of surprises runs deep in these folks. Don't "misunderestimate" their affinity for ideas like this.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:05 PM on December 7, 2008


I read the words "Simpsons utopian vision" and immediately thought I'd rent some Futurama episodes tonight.

There is a non-trivial subset of the population that would welcome this sort of anally ordered, voluntary police-state world and they will flock to it if anyone ever builds it.

Singapore is pretty crowded.

Free city services — such as fire and police departments, city maintenance, and educational facilities — due to the fact that there will be no city taxes.


I believe the phrase I'm searching for is "lol wut".
posted by Countess Elena at 1:53 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Even though Victory City is presently just an elaborate collection of maps, details and floor plans, inventor Orville Simpson II hopes the fictious "city of the future" described on this website will actually be under construction by the year 2002

Orville Simpson: updates his website compulsively.
posted by seagull.apollo at 2:53 PM on December 7, 2008


(posted to MetaFilter over 8 years ago).

Oh, I am sorry. It didn't turn up on my search. I was aware it was old (1998) but I found it on kosmograd after the recent post and was surprised it didn't seem to be on MeFi. Even though it's been around awhile, I think it's fascinating for a lot of reasons.
posted by Miko at 4:52 PM on December 7, 2008


When I was a kid, I read science fiction about everyone eating at central cafeterias, which seemed odd as I nearly always ate at home, or occasionally at a restaurant. Woolworths had a cafeteria and that was how I imagined it would be.
Fast forward a few decades and a lot of people eat a significant portion of their meals in mall food courts, subtly different enough from the old fashioned cafeterias.
Its not how I expected, but I call it a win for SF.
So how about arcologies, which is what this is? I suspect some will get built, but not as this envisions, perhaps instead as an extension of a holiday resort that begins offering retirement units/gated community for the aged that later allows anyone to live there.
A lot of people would go for this today if you beefed up the green washing to make it the environmental choice.
posted by bystander at 5:33 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


No need to apologize, Miko. In internet years 8 years is ooooooooooooooooooold. It's very fascinating. It's very much a window on a past-future-that-never-happened and why we should all be glad it never came to be (which is basically the message of Gibson's Gernsback Continuum).
posted by Kattullus at 9:30 PM on December 7, 2008


All bedrooms are in the interior without windows. This is a wonderful safety feature for children.

And great to drive people absolutely batty. This is totally a future dystopian FPS waiting to happen. So many sci-fi pieces involving self-contained communities decaying from within!
posted by Spatch at 8:31 AM on December 8, 2008


All-electric kitchens, you say? Sigh.

Suffice it to say, UR DOIN IT RONG.

Like, really. Bring on the electric light, heat, and transportation. But leave me my hydrocarbons in the kitchen.
posted by eritain at 8:21 PM on December 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


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