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The Epcot Legacy

Think of it. We are blessed with technology that would be indescribable to our forefathers. We have the wherewithal, the know-it-all to feed everybody, clothe everybody, and give every human on Earth a chance. We know now what we could never have known before - that we now have the option for all humanity to make it successfully on this planet in this lifetime.

-Buckminster Fuller

For centuries people have dreamed of a perfect society. Humanity is imperfect but the way in which we work, live, and play can reach and ultimate level of perfection so close that the imperfections are quite minimal. From the fabled Atlantis to Utopia, this dream has been attempted only a few times. All models of utopia have a common element of democracy as the foundation of government so to spite the millennial old concept the dream could only be realized a couple hundred years ago with the creation of the United States of America. From New Haven to Washington D.C., America was built on planned communities yet for all of their schematic symmetry they are all just cities. After all, Paris, France is universally recognized as one of (if not The) most beautiful cities in the world yet was not planned. The concept of utopia is more than just architecture and urban planning, its mostly about the day-to-day of a living, breathing community. Architecture does play a part, but even ancient cities can be wonderful places to live if they function with the clear objective of existing to service those who live there.

In the 1950’s, Walt Disney began a decade transition from Master Storyteller to what some educated individuals believe was the most successful Urban Planner of the 20th Century. Towards the end of his life Walt developed a concept that if brought to fruition would take the seamless and idyllic experience of visiting a Disney park to an all encompassing lifestyle. After he died, Walt’s concept would change hands (and heads) several times before reaching its final and most effective form. EPCOT Center opened in 1982 prophetically as the beginning of the 21st Century. A bold statement, in which the predictions were so forward thinking that many of its technological advances wouldn’t come to fruition until almost a decade after the 21st Century Began. Yet, there are many more heights left to be scaled and unfortunately much of EPCOT Center’s original vision has changed. Over fifteen years ago, the seriously fun and excitingly severe concepts of Future World were passed over for more contemporary subject matter. The distant future gave way to the latest innovations of today.

Much has been written about the loss of classical Epcot themes and attractions, a justifiable sentiment for which is greatly shared and understood. The park itself was designed to change the concepts are supposed to evolve, but the one thing that should never change is the ideals and principles on which the park was founded. The absence of such things leads to the loss of identity, and therefore a loss of self.              

The hold that EPCOT Center has on those impressionable children who were there during its Centered days is profound. More than anything the message of the park was clearly heard in every experience of the park. The avant-garde techno/orchestral music, the bold architecture, the streamlined design all of which reinforced the powerfully optimistic message that...

 with what we know and what we're learning to do, we really can bring our dreams to life. It takes a lot of work, but the truth is: if we can dream it, we can do it!

This is the Epcot Legacy. It is a simply stated philosophy that has enormously complex and far reaching implications that far exceed the boundaries of the parks 300 acres. This is purpose of the Legacy series of writings created for E82. An exploration of the many aspects and effects of Epcot’s influence throughout its existence and it is also a forum for its future. It is my hope that the Legacy realm will provide a place for discussion of larger concepts for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.       

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