A fascinating new book by author Sam Gennawey explores the early vision of Walt Disney, beginning in the Central Florida swamplands and ranch properties where Disney aspired to build “the greatest American city ever conceived–EPCOT”.
Whilst the great man himself was to die before realising his dream, Disney left behind what would become the blueprint for one of the most inspirational and unique projects ever envisioned in the USA.
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Walt and the Promise of Progress City delves into Walt Disney’s determination to improve the fundamental way of life in America by breathing new life and ideas to the way that cities were designed and developed.
The 374-page paperback explores the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT, Walt Disney’s initiative to build a city which would give corporations a way to “demonstrate how technology, creative thinking, and hard work could change the world”.
Disney’s intention was to create a project which could sway public outlook on city living, much like his earlier work, which redefined animation and theme parks. The planned city never came to fruition and eventually became the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
"EPCOT will be an experimental prototype community of tomorrow that will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise, " Disney was as saying quoted at the time.
Author Gennawey, who is a professional planner and respected theme park and attractions industry expert, details Disney’s vision by examining the way in which “meaningful and functional spaces” were created by Disney and those working alongside him. He also outlines how visitors “understand and experience those spaces”.
The creation of Walt and the Promise of Progress City took Gennawey years of painstaking research and interviews with key players involved in the project and vision of EPCOT.
"Walt and the Promise of Progress City explains how the architecture and design of Disney theme parks is so successful, ” explains Len Testa, Co-Author, The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.
“Far from being a lucky accident, Sam Gennawey shows that Walt’s interest in urban planning led Disney Imagineers to draw upon established architecture theory to build one of the most popular, successful urban landscapes of the 20th century."
Walt and the Promise of Progress City is published by Ayefour Publishing and is available in paperback and Kindle versions from Amazon or directly from Ayefour.
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