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"What If" for Cities

pete-rock

Cyburbian
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1,551
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24
I saw a movie recently about the growth of Motown Records in Detroit during the '50s and '60s, and one of the points made was that Detroiters were deflated when Motown decided to move to LA in 1971. The thought occurred to me: if Motown had stayed, Detroit could've become to the national R&B music industry what Nashville is to country, and that could've been the post-industrial economic boost that would've completely altered the city's fortunes. Imagine: if you wanna make it big in R&B (or later, rap), you gotta go to Detroit -- singers, musicians, producers, choreographers, sound technicians, music executives, etc.

Surely there are other pivotal moments in other cities. What if they did or did not happen? Can you think of some for your city of choice?
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,624
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34
What if the Braves had stayed in Milwaukee. We might have something more than a washed up crappy team.

What if they would have completed the 1970's Freeway System Plan. I don't even want to think of it....

What if Great America was never built in Gurnee, IL. Our little hometown amusement park might still be alive and kicking today.
 
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5,353
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31
Great topic :)

What if Walt Disney had built Disney World in the New Orleans area like he originally planned? Don't know....

What would have happened to the French Quarter if the Riverfront Expressway hadn't been fought and defeated? That would have been the end of the biggest tourist attractions.

What if the same people who fought against that Riverfront Expressway fought against the I-10 overpass along Claiborne Avenue? The oak trees would still be standing tall and the once-successful African American neighborhood of Treme would be still be thriving.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
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1,551
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24
Planderella said:
Great topic :)

What if Walt Disney had built Disney World in the New Orleans area like he originally planned? Don't know....

What would have happened to the French Quarter if the Riverfront Expressway hadn't been fought and defeated? That would have been the end of the biggest tourist attractions.

What if the same people who fought against that Riverfront Expressway fought against the I-10 overpass along Claiborne Avenue? The oak trees would still be standing tall and the once-successful African American neighborhood of Treme would be still be thriving.
I had no idea Disney considered New Orleans for Disney World.

If the Crosstown Expressway had been built in Chicago, my current commute time would be easily cut by one-half.
 
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5,353
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31
pete-rock said:
I had no idea Disney considered New Orleans for Disney World.

I did a presentation on Walt Disney and his planning interests my first semester in grad school. He modeled the Magic Kingdom and that Main Street after the French Quarter.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
What if the capitol of Wisconsin had remained in Belmont, instead of moving to Madison (courtesy of some very generous bribes)?

What if the Esterly Reaper Works (Deere's biggest competitor at the time) had remained in Whitewater, instead of moving to Minneapolis in 1893?

What if the Bureau of Reclamation had not damned the Colorado River, creating the reservoirs that have supplied the water to allow cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas to grow? What if the current drought continues, given that the average reservoir in the Colorado Basin is at 59% of capacity, and there is only enough water to sustain current levels of usage for three more years, unless rainfall significantly increases? www.livingrivers.org
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
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1,551
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24
If AC hadn't been invented...

there would be no present-day Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson...
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
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24
Michael Stumpf said:
What if the capitol of Wisconsin had remained in Belmont, instead of moving to Madison (courtesy of some very generous bribes)?
What if the University of Michigan had remained in Detroit, instead of accepting 100 acres for $1 from farmers in Washtenaw County (that would later become Ann Arbor)?

What if Mayor Richard J. Daley had gone ahead with plans in the '50s to complete the Burnham Plan and establish a "necklace of islands" in Lake Michigan?

What if there was no Kurt Cobain? Would Seattle have ever become trendy?
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Great topic! There's a lot of big "what ifs" for my old hometown, Buffalo.

* Ground was ALMOST broken on a 20 km heavy rail system in Buffalo in 1974. It was essentially a Washington Metro clone, right down to the subway station design. EIS reports were issued, federal and state grants lined up, the line engineered, requests for bids sent out ... BUT then the NIMBYs came forward. Part of the line was to be on an elevated structure, which some neighborhood groups opposed. When the proposed line was rerouted, the federal funds for the heavy rail system dried up. In 1980, ground was finally broken on a much smallerer light rail system.

* Buffalo only built a third of its proposed freeway network. Let's see ... what if the Outer Beltway, West Side Expressway, East Side Expressway, Lancaster Expressway, Crosstown Expressway, South Shore Connector, and the complete Lockport Expressway were built? Ugh.

* What if ...no wide right? I think the collective mindset in Buffalo would be entirely different today, wth a Super Bowl win or two under the city's belt.

* What if ... the Pittsburgh Pirates moved to Buffalo in the mid-1980s? It almost happened. Pilot Field, the first HOK-designed neotraditional baseball stadium, was built with provisions for expansion to accomodate a major league team.

* What if ... no S&L crisis in the late 1980s? Buffalo was hit hard; it was a rival to Charlotte as an up-and-coming banking center in those days.

* What if ... the University at Buffalo, instead of building the Amherst Campus, densified and expanded in the city instead, like Buff State and Canisius? What if it built the new campus downtown?
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
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What if the Union lost the Civil War and Richmond remained the confederate capital? Would it be a huge government and commercial center by now or a backwater third world capital?
 

Dan

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Alan said:
What if Henry Ford had never been born?
Europeans would be driving sweet Oldsmobile Scorpios and Mondeos, Aussies would be cruising long paved outback roads in fast Oldsmobile Falcons, and North American moms would be picking up their kids from soccer practice in road-hogging Oldsmobile Explorers, Excursions and Expeditions.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
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3,387
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25
Burlington, VT

What if the Church Street Marketplace (a pedestrian mall) had not been created in the downtown area?

Would Burlington still have a strong Italian neighborhood where it once was?
 
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What if federal subsidies/insurance for 30-year home mortgages never came about? They didn't exist prior to WWII, if I remember correctly. The post war building boom/frenzy likely wouldn't have been as great, if mortgages weren't so easy to come by.
 

bestnightmare

Cyburbian
Messages
61
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4
pete-rock said:
What if the University of Michigan had remained in Detroit, instead of accepting 100 acres for $1 from farmers in Washtenaw County (that would later become Ann Arbor)?
i salivate at the thought
(no offense to a^2, or wayne state)
detroit wouldn't be the one-horse town, er....one car, no wait, two car...oh never mind
 

oulevin

Cyburbian
Messages
178
Points
7
What if we got the United Airlines plant?

For Oklahoma City, a good parlor game would be wondering if we had landed the United Airlines maintenance facility in 1993. Millions of dollars of wages would have resulted, but...

Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick would not have felt compelled to ask United why they chose Indianapolis over OKC;

United would not have frankly told him it was Oklahoma City's lack of "quality of life";

Norick would not have searched for answers from civic and business leaders on how to change this;

He would not decided to bundle together a capital improvement, 1-cent sales tax increase plan for a vote, which would have been the largest in the nation's history (and groundbreaking for an anti-tax city)

Downtown improvement wouldn't be as aggressively pursued, even for the booming 90s;

Nine projects would't have been built;

Oklahoma City would have suffered more psychologically and economically from the bombing;

Oklahoma City wouldn't be as unconventional and forward-thinking in its decision-making;

It simply wouldn't be as confident a place as it is now.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
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2,550
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25
How would Milwaukee look today if the great Chicago Fire had never happened? The fire wiped out Chicago's brewing industires making way for Milwaukee to become Brew City.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
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18,289
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44
What would cities in California look like if the state's river systems hadn't been replumbed?
 

DecaturHawk

Cyburbian
Messages
880
Points
22
Illinois Capitol

What if Abraham Lincoln and the "Long Nine" had pushed to relocate the state capitol from Vandalia to Decatur instead of Springfield? The local lore around here is that Decatur came in a close second. I bet we could have done a better job with it.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
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4,853
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26
What would Valdivia be like if it hadn't been destroyed by the 1960 Earthquake or the 1909 fire?
What would Valdivia be like if no german inmigrants had arrived in the mid 1800's and early 1900's Or if it had been regional capital or national capital?
What would Chile be like if Pedro de Valdivia hadn't come? Or if Diego de Almagro hadn't discovered Chile?
What would Santiago be like if it wasn't the national capital of Chile? (probably it wouldn't be a 5-6 million inhabitant metropolis and wouldn't have smog problems)
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
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13,853
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39
Orlando FL.

What if (thank you, Planderella) WDW had not been built in Orlando?

What if air-conditioning hadn't been invented?

What if pesticides hadn't been invented?

What if Yankees didn't like hot summers?
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
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1,551
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24
What if St. Louis had become the center of the nation's rail network in the 1850s, instead of Chicago? Probably wouldn't have happened, because St. Louis' proximity to the South would have made Northern investors nervous during and after the Civil War.

What if there was an Public Transit Act supporting local public transit nationwide in the '50s?

What if Indiana's State Capital was not Indianapolis? It would've been like Anderson, Marion, Terre Haute, Columbus, Richmond, etc. -- a small to mid-size Midwestern town.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
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What if GM and Goodyear Tires (as the urban legend goes) hadn't bought up Los Angeles' streetcar system and replaced them with buses?

What if NASA wasn't based in Houston?

What if Fidel Castro never succeeded in Cuba, and there was no Cuban influx to South Florida?

What if the Mississippi was allowed to run its natural course, and completely bypass New Orleans?
 

Wannaplan?

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Dan said:
Europeans would be driving sweet Oldsmobile Scorpios and Mondeos, Aussies would be cruising long paved outback roads in fast Oldsmobile Falcons, and North American moms would be picking up their kids from soccer practice in road-hogging Oldsmobile Explorers, Excursions and Expeditions.
So you're saying someone else would have come up with the mass production scheme?
 

Cardinal

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pete-rock said:
What if the Mississippi was allowed to run its natural course, and completely bypass New Orleans?
Have you read "Atchafalaya," from John McPhee's book, The Control of Nature? It is a riveting story/essay centered on a control structure where the Mississippi will eventually claim a new route.
 

Dan

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Zoning Goddess said:
Orlando FL.What if (thank you, Planderella) WDW had not been built in Orlando?
The alternative locations considered by Disney:

Niagara Falls, New York - picked because it was, at the time, less than a seven or eight hour drive from about 60% of the United States population. (A Buffalo-area WDW would probably have been on Grand Island.) However, it would have been difficult to assemble massive tracts of contiguous land, and the park would have been open for only five months out of the year; the increased crowds from Corridor, Southern Ontario and Great Lakes area tourists wouldn't have made up for it. Disney ran the numbers, and Florida, South Georiga or Louisiana would have been a bit more profitable.

Cape Canaveral, Florida and Palm Beach County, Florida. Along I-95, which means it's an easy two day drive from the Northeast Corridor. Cooler than Central Florida, too. Disney was concerned, though, that the beaches would be a distraction, and that hurricane damage would cause bad PR.

Ocala, Florida. The runner-up. It had all the same advantages as Orlando at the time, but there was one little problem -- I-75. It would have been more difficult to drive to an Ocala-based Walt Disney World, because there's no convenient all-Interstate route from the NE corridor. Traffic from NYC would have to take I-95 to I-20 in South Carolina, head east to Atlanta, navigate a short chunk of the Perimeter, find I-75, and dart through gawd-awful South Georgia. An Orlando location would have meant a trip on I-95 south to Daytona Beach, then I-4 south an hour. Although Ocala was physically closer to NYC. the drive to Orlando would have taken about six hours less.

Let's say, though, WDW built their new amusement park in south Marion County, about 10 miles south of Ocala. What would Central Florida look like today? IMHO ...

* Ocala about 400,000 residents, Orlando about the same or a little less. Orlando was still larger, and I think they had Martin Marietta a while before Disney. Ocala had ... crackers.

* Ocala, being smaller than the Orlando of the day to begin with, would ahve a much greater percentage of the population working in the tourism and hospitality sectors than the current Orlando.

* More Yankee influence in north Central Florida. Today, that area is still predminantly Southern in its outlook.

* Instead of an Orlando metro area that grew largely to the north, there would have been more development pressure to the west. The orange groves would have hit the dust in the 1970s, and west Orange County would be much more developed than now. Probably wouldn't have the redneck reputation, either. Northwest Orange County and Lake County would also be far more populated than they are now. The north I-4 corridor would probably dribble out past Eatonville.

* Terrible traffic on the Florida's Turnpike between Orlando and I-75.

* The Marion County Toll Road Authority.

* Osceola County would still be largely rural.
 

pete-rock

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Alan said:
So you're saying someone else would have come up with the mass production scheme?
Dan's probably right. If I remember correctly, Ransom Olds was refining his cars and mass production techniques in Lansing, MI at the same time Henry Ford was doing the same in Dearborn. Ford just beat Olds and everyone else to making that affordable, mass-produced juggernaut, the Model T.
 

nerudite

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6,544
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The biggest "what if" I could think of... What if Los Angeles (my home town) didn't take all that water from the Owens Valley? I'm sure they probably would have found some other source by now, but that was a huge influence on the growth of the city.

The "what if" I've been thinking of since I was 7 or 8 years old however is "what if San Francisco had not dammed the Tuolumne River and flood the Hetch Hetchy valley?" It's San Francicso's main source of water; however it also dammed one of the most unique and beautiful hanging valleys in the Sierras. . The Hetch Hetchy valley pre-damming was said to rival Yosemite Valley... can you imagine any municipality damming the Merced and flooding Yosemite Valley?
 

Seabishop

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3,838
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25
biscuit said:
What if the Union lost the Civil War and Richmond remained the confederate capital? Would it be a huge government and commercial center by now or a backwater third world capital?
Would the confederate states remain one big nation or several individual nations? How would slavery have ended – by decree of an enlightened ruler, or by violent protest and revolution – would the south have become communist like cuba?


Providence

What if Rt. 295 was built according to plan and circled around the city to the east bay and Fall River?

What if the Patriots built their new Stadium here a few years ago (or Hartford)?

What if the rivers and train tracks were never relocated and the mall never built ?

What if Rt. 95 didn’t uproot thousands of poor families and further concentrate the poor and minorities in the remaining poor neighborhoods?

What if the 70’s urban renewal plan for downtown was carried out?

What if certain neighborhoods weren't stigmatized by giant public housing projects?

What if the city was more aggresive in annexing land during its initial growth like other cities were? Things might look the same but the city would be "bigger."

What if the state of RI implements my invasion plan making us the 2nd smallest state? (We get CT from New London east, and Mass from Taunton down to the south coast not including Cape Cod, and a layer or two of towns to the north).
 

Dan

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Re: If AC hadn't been invented...

pete-rock said:
there would be no present-day Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson...
I think you would still have booming Southwestern cities, but the Southeast and Texas would be backwaters. Evaporative cooling is a far simpler technology than refrigerated air. We would probably just see much larger swamp coolers for commercial uses in the Southwest (residences still use swamp coolers to this day), and somewat smaller cities.

What if GM and Goodyear Tires (as the urban legend goes) hadn't bought up Los Angeles' streetcar system and replaced them with buses?
Nothing would have changed. In North America, abandonment of interurban systems began in the late 1920s, and streetcar systems started to get replaced with rubber wheeled buses in the 1930s.

What could have saved the streetcars? Making the physical plant tax exempt would have helped quite a bit. Streetcar systems that had extensive private ROW also lasted longer than those systems that ran entirely on surface streets. The few interurban lines that survuved the 1940s had far more provate ROW than systems closed in the 1920s and 1930s.

PCC cars were comfortable and smooth running, but many cities never upgraded; Buffalo used ancient Peter Witt cars exclusively until abandonment in 1950, for instance. Rochester ran Peter Witts on their subway until abandonment in 1957; they too never upgraded.

The last streetcar system that was fully abandoned was in El Paso; their PCC fleet returned to the barn for the last time in 1967. Most of those old cars are still in EP, gathering dust behind the airport. Many of Canada's interurban "radial" lines ran into the 1950s. Philly's system only has a couple of lines remaining. Pittsburgh did a gradual streetcar/LRT replacement; that city has no real streetcar system left.
 

Dan

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My thoughts on what a modern-day Confederate States of America would look like ... probably South Africa, only with whites making up a slight majority. The white population would be very well off, and there would be a large black underclass, much worse off than that of the poorest urban blacks in the US. Probably no Soweto-like townships; there would be a lot more rural poverty, and some inner city ghettos that would make East St. Louis seem prosperous by comparison. They'd probably be densely populated and vibrant, but extremely poor. Crime would be quite high. More gated communities, more auto hijackings, far more murder in the name of "honor" or "respect." Atlanta=Johannesburg.

Slavery - gone in the early 1900s, due to increasing pressure from trading partners and developed nations. An apartheid system would be in place into the 1980s, I would venture.

A lot of the basic manufacturing sector that has relocated to China and Mexico would probably be present in the CSA, due to lower labor costs and looser labor regulations. If I went to Target (Wal-Mart north of the Mason-Dixon? Not until the late 1990s), I would expect to find a lot of clothing with tags reading "MADE IN CSA".

I think the remaining United States would be more liberal than it is now. Probably tougher environmental and land use legislation, tougher billboard legislation, universal health coverage, and a much stronger union presence. Ties would probably be closer with Canada than with the CSA.

Urbanization in Washington, DC would take on a much different pattern. Far more sprawl to the north, if it remains the nation's capital. No Beltway, no Metro crossing the Potomac, no edge cities in Arlington or Fairfax County.

I wonder what the border crossing would be like? Would there be a "North American Union?", similar to the EU?
 
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16
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1
You need to read some Harry Turtledove novels

He does a lot of alternate history. The reason Motown moved is because the weather in Deeeeeeeeetroit - sucks.
 

Runner

Cyburbian
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566
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17
What if the U.S. capitol had been in College Station, Texas... :)

What if the private automobile had never been invented by anyone...
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
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1,551
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24
Re: You need to read some Harry Turtledove novels

Another Non Sequitur said:
The reason Motown moved is because the weather in Deeeeeeeeetroit - sucks.
Actually two rumors persist as reasons for Motown's move from Detroit to Los Angeles:

1) Barry Gordy was up to his eyeballs in debts to the Detroit Mob, and he was forced to move while giving them some interest in the company;

2) Diana Ross, the love of Barry Gordy's life, wanted to start a movie career in LA, and he did not want her to get away from him.

Who knows for sure? Maybe it was just a business decision.
 

Joe Iliff

Reformed City Planner
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1,441
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29
Hmmmm . . . . .

A long answer to a short question:

What if Lewis and Clark never return from their cross-continent journey, getting lost in the Rocky Mountains, never to be heard from again?

Westward expansion of the United States is slowed by fear of the unknown, and the USA barely reaches across the Mississippi River (Missouri, Iowa, the Dakotas, etc.).

The Spanish and then Mexicans accelerate the occupation of the southwest, and New Mexico, Arizona, and California are all part of the United States of Mexico.

Meanwhile, the British and then Canadians move south and west to Puget Sound and the Columbia River Valley. The Washington and Oregon areas become provinces of the Dominion of Canada.

The US - Mexican War is much more costly and ends in a draw, insuring the independence of The Republic of Texas. (I was just at the Alamo.)

A treaty between the USA and Canada divide the northern Rockies (Idaho, Montana, & Wyoming). Canada also purchases Alaska from Russia.

The Civil War is fought with Texas and Mexico supporting the south, providing supplies to defeat Lincoln's blockade of southern ports. The CSA is established. The capital of the USA moves to Philadelphia and Washington, DC is abandoned, becoming a lawless ghost town claimed by neither country.

Many Native Americans are relocated by the Mexicans and the Americans (north & south) into the Indian Territory (Oklahoma & Kansas). The Mormons establish the independent Republic of Deseret (Utah) and have ongoing clashes with the native americans over Colorado. They eventually lose and Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma becomes a loose confederation of tribes.

Nevada is left largely unoccupied and unclaimed until the begining of the First World War, when its value as a place for testing modern weapons (tanks, planes, ordinance) makes it attractive to the neighboring countries. The 1914 Lake Tahoe Conference establishes the Neutral Territory of the Great North American Desert, where Mexico, Canada, Texas, and the USA can stage troops and design and test weapons of warfare.

The Panamains gain their independence from Columbia with the aid of President Roosevelt (Theodore) of the USA and President Zapata of the USM. The Panama Canal is constructed and operated by the USA and USM in an independent Panama.

The First World War costs the CSA badly as they side with the Germans. Fighting occurs mostly in Europe but civil unrest is common along the USA-CSA border. After the war, with the Allies victorious, the USA, Texas, Mexico, and Canada create the North American Alliance, a NATO-like mutual defense treaty to prevent aggresson from European and Asia powers. The CSA is not invited to join as the others don't want to risk their resources to defend them. Deseret and the Indian Confederacy are made protectorates and expected to provide only non-military resources in a time of war (food, blankets, etc.) because of religious objections to warfare.

Losing valuable trade connections to their continental brethren, the CSA suffers from a poor economy and poor morale. Slavery has slowly faded away, and African-Americans have become an important part of the economy, but socially, remain second class citizens.

With the risk of a Second World War rising in Europe and Asia, President Roosevelt (Franklin) of the USA secertly meets with President Strom Thurmond of the CSA off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Days later, at a gathering of the North American Alliance in Omaha, Nebraska, Roosevelt makes his Four Freedoms speech, and asks the Alliance to permit the entry of the CSA. President Thurmond promises the social refroms required by the Four Freedoms principles and promises to provide more then their share of soldiers and resources in any future war.

The fascists of Europe, already preparing to attack the United Kingdom and France, see an increasing threat in a united north american continent. The day after Roosevelt's and Thurmond's speeches, they move up their plans to attack the rest of Europe and begin drawing plans to invade North America. The next day, a high-ranking official defects from the fascist government and informs Roosevelt of the threat.

On the last day of the Omaha conference, the Confederate States of America is admitted into the North American Alliance, and all the member states begin preparing for a world war.

Within twenty-four hours, President Thurmond returns to Richmond, orders immediate and complete enforcement of all existing equality statutes and harsh punishments on any local officials who do not comply. He calls the Confederate Congress into a special session to pass additional social equality laws and a special amendment to the Confederate Constitution guaranteeing those rights to all.

The Council of Confederate Governors immediately convenes to discuss if President Thrumond has overstepped his authority and should be removed from office. Governor Hugh White of Mississippi makes a motion to remove Thurmond from office. The motion fails for lack of a second. White resigns from office

The simultaneous occupation of Hawaii by Asia powers and surprise attack on the Panama Canal (aided by the begruged Columbians) in late 1939 brings the North Americans into the Second World War. The Allies win after a long war which destroys much of Europe, Japan, Korea, and the coast of China. The atomic bomb is never invented.

After the war, a United Nations in created. Slowly, after many years and debates, the countries that lost the war are admitted. The states of Isreal and Palestine are created and coexist in a remarkable display of cross-cultural peace and understanding. The United Nations wields a strong international hand, preventing and lessening regional conflicts in the Balkans, the Middle East, central Africa, and southeast Asia.

A multi-national space exploration program is created, and an American astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and Russian Cosmonaul, Valentina Tereskova are the first persons to walk on the moon in July of 1972. They leave a plaque on the moon with a message from UN Secretary General John F. Kennedy (having served 2 terms as president of the USA), stating man's intention for the peaceful exploration of space and to use their greater knowledge for the benefit of all mankind.

Kennedy is assassinated just three days later. He is succeeded by Martin Luther King Jr., President of the Confederate States of America.

Thoughts?
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
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I've always enjoyed alternative history and thought that was an intersting ,and plausible, one - Except for one part...The CSA would never had sided with the Germans during the WWI. The South was a hotbed for loyalist in the Revolution and the British were an (un)official ally during the Civil War. If anything the US would have sided with the Keiser b/c of ethnic and economic reasons.


Sorry to stray off topic, but this stuff is fun.
 
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16
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1
Alternate History 1969 - on

Neil Armstrong lands on the moon in 1969. President Nixon decides to pull out of Vietnam as it become increasingly apparent that guns aren't going to contain this t hrust of communism.

1970: Vietnam falls. Nixon orders a reassessment of national intelligence gathering. It is found that Pentagon and other groups are overstating communist threat.

Resources are poured into economic and more peaceful pursuits. Nixon establishes EPA and ignores environmentalists' objections to build NASA's nerva concept.

1973: Nixon admits all Watergate affair. Nation forgives, Nixon serves out remainder of term as lame duck. Carter elected in 1976.

Late 70s: Moon base established. Soviets and Chinese invited to send observers to moon base. Robotic exploration of Mars underway; construction of NERVA rockets in moon orbit.

1980: first manned expedition leaves for Mars. Spinoffs from heavy tech investment lead to efficiency breakthroughts that reduce US dependence on foreign oil. Opec broken; peace breaks out in Middle East as aggressor states don't have the oil money to back aggression or support terrorism.

1980: Carter re-elected and given Nobel Peace Prize while still in office.

1982: Simple one-celled life found on Mars. Debate ensures on extent of colonization and whether any terraforming should be attempted. DNA analysis in 1990s finds Earth and Martian life share genes, thus leeding credence to "space seeding" theory.

1984. George HW Bush wins Republican nomination in a bruising primary fight with Ronald Reagan, who insisted that in a world where peace is breaking out that enemies were still hiding under beds. Bush loses in a landslide to Gary Hart.

1985: Tax breaks encourage corportations to begin establishing colonies on Moon and Mars. Expeditions are launched to begin mining near earth asteroids.

Hart ousted from White House as part of Donna Rice scandal. Vice President Mondale wobbles through the rest of the term to be beaten by Reagan.

1986: Far mission sent to Jupiter. Man lands on Europa and finds complex oceanic life under the ice. Europe established as first "international space park and nature preserve".

1988: Reagan wins re-election by a slim margin over Dukakis.

1990: construction of Extremely Large Interferometer begins on the dark side of the Moon. High speed internet is established on a world-wide basis due to heavy investments in technology.

1992: Clinton elected.

1993: ELI finished. First images of gas giants orbiting nearby stars thrill public. Upgrades are planned for the ELI that should make imaging terrestrial planets possible.

1994: First "bonafide" candidate ET signal picked up. Computers and ET experts unable to decipher content of signal/message, however.

1995: 2nd generation fission rockets come on line, capable of sustaining 1G acceleration. Transit times to points between inner solar system drastically dropped. Microsoft Corporation funds a Pluto expedition.

1996: Clinton reelected in landslide. Pluto expedition lost due to onboard computer problems.

1997: Entrepreneur Richard Branson heads up a group of investors and philathropists who persuade the UN to fund the Starwisp probe, a marvel of nanotech that is boosted by laser to near lightspeed.

2000: Starwisp lasers, based near Mercury, go online. Starwisp test probe launched to Oort Cloud.

2001: First terrestrial planetary images obtained. 2nd Starwisp probe launched to Epsilon Eridani. This probe is the first of a series of Starwisp probes launched to investigate nearby planetary systems.

2005: Carbon nanotubes perfected. Space elevator cables quickly replace laser launched rockets as the preferred transit to LEO.

2010-2020: Two possible terrestrial planets identified within a 15 ly radius for colonization. Second ET signal received, from 80 ly away. Strange mathematical notation in signal is found to be design plans for a FTL starship... without the engine!

2010-2030: Nanotechnology rapidly advances terraforming of Mars and the "tough case" Venus is slowly tackled. Genetically modified humans able to live for short periods without pressure suits in deeper valleys.

2020-2050: FTL project launched. Starwisp probes, increasing in sophistication, report back that Epsilon Eridani and Tau Ceti systems are prime candidates for human colonization. Computing power increases to study whether FTL is possible.

2064: The Callisto AI array solves the FTL problem. Self-aware FTL starships sent out.

2067: Encounter with ETs that sent signals 1 & 2.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,150
Points
28
Re: Hmmmm . . . . .

Joe Iliff said:
A long answer to a short question:

What if Lewis and Clark never return from their cross-continent journey, getting lost in the Rocky Mountains, never to be heard from again?

Westward expansion of the United States is slowed by fear of the unknown, and the USA barely reaches across the Mississippi River (Missouri, Iowa, the Dakotas, etc.).

Thoughts?
Timber resources in Florida is what helped the fledgling United States of America in the 18th century defeat the British. The tall masts that were made from the tall, hardy trees in Florida helped us against the formidible Britsh Navy. That's according to my forest management professor from my undergrad days. So, instead of focusing on Lewis and Clark and the subsequent westward expansion... What if the Brits controlled all the forests in Florida prior to 1776? If so, I doubt there would be a Lewis and Clark, as we know them today.
 

Joe Iliff

Reformed City Planner
Messages
1,441
Points
29
Huh?

1984. George HW Bush wins Republican nomination in a bruising primary fight with Ronald Reagan, who insisted that in a world where peace is breaking out that enemies were still hiding under beds. Bush loses in a landslide to Gary Hart.
Hart ousted from White House as part of Donna Rice scandal. Vice President Mondale wobbles through the rest of the term to be beaten by Reagan.

1986: Far mission sent to Jupiter. Man lands on Europa and finds complex oceanic life under the ice. Europe established as first "international space park and nature preserve".

1988: Reagan wins re-election by a slim margin over Dukakis.
How could there be three presidential elections in 4 years? Hart beast Bush, Reagan beats Mondale, Reagan beats Dukaksis. It seems from your earlier dates that Carter served to four year terms. Was the Constitution amended?
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Re: Huh?

Joe Iliff said:
How could there be three presidential elections in 4 years? Hart beast Bush, Reagan beats Mondale, Reagan beats Dukaksis. It seems from your earlier dates that Carter served to four year terms. Was the Constitution amended?
I read it to read Carter serves two terms ('76-'80, '80-'84), Hart serves about half a term ('84''86), Mondale serves out the rest of Hart's term ('86-'88), Reagan wins in '88, and Clinton gets in in '92...

Now...

What if God had said "screw it" after Adam and Eve ate the apple? ;)
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Re: Hmmmm . . . . .

Joe Iliff said:
What if Lewis and Clark never return from their cross-continent journey, getting lost in the Rocky Mountains, never to be heard from again?
That would have really been a shame. I bet those two would have liked the way West Hollywood turned out... ;)
 

LouisvilleSlugger

Cyburbian
Messages
216
Points
9
What if the Kennedy Space Center was built in Cambridge, MA?

Lots of my old classmates use to tell me that tell of how that was the intended place for it.
 

LouisvilleSlugger

Cyburbian
Messages
216
Points
9
Re: What if we got the United Airlines plant?

oulevin said:
[
Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick would not have felt compelled to ask United why they chose Indianapolis over OKC;

[/B]
Have y ou heard the latest news? United has pulled its maintanence facility out of Indianapolis. I know there were lots of money spent for them but now it seems seemingly lost. I have some articles on it somewhere...
 

LouisvilleSlugger

Cyburbian
Messages
216
Points
9
a Louisville what if..What if the Newport Aquarium were actually built in Louisville like it was once proposed..I guess then it wouldn't be the Newport Aquarium though!! lol. none the less, the Aquarium would have been a big boost to the Downtown area and region.
 

Howard Roark

Cyburbian
Messages
276
Points
10
what if?

Always liked the science fiction, alternate history stuff, for a good read, try “Job: A Comedy of Errors” by Robert Hienland(sp), filled with alternate versions of earth history.

Some say that if the New York investors had picked St. Louis over Chicago for the railroad terminal, it would have become the dominant city in the region. I still think that the river would have posed too many problems; we might have a larger St. Louis today, but Chicago would still be the dominant regional city.

Disney was reported (and still is reported) to go everywhere.

The land south of the Arch in St. Louis was supposedly considered as the first Disney land, as part of the Arch and stadium development, supposedly the deal fell through because Walt wanted it to be dry, which fell flat with August Busch.

While in undergrad in Springfield Mo. there was a persistent rumor that Disney was buying large tracts of land around Branson, 10 years later the rumors still persist. A friend of mine grew up in Carbondale Il. and said that there were rumors there in the 70’s that Disney was buying up land down there. Turned out to be fabrications.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,890
Points
38
Howard Roark said:
Sorry this was supposed to go in the What IF? thread, delete it if you want.
Mod Note: Threads merged
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Some say that if the New York investors had picked St. Louis over Chicago for the railroad terminal, it would have become the dominant city in the region.
Actually, by the time the railroads were big, the decision as to what was to be the dominant city was already made. Chicago was chosen because it was on the Great Lakes. That meant it could supply Boston and New York over water.

St Louis was the dominant city in the region for a short time before Chicago existed in any real form. Goods from the region went down the Mississippi to New Orleans. That was a very round-about trip to get to the industrial and economic center in the northeast, so those cities were keen to get a great-lakes shipper.

St Louis was backed in the rail race by Pittsburgh and Baltimore, but they couldn't compete with New York and Boston capital, so Chicago became the gateway city of the rail age.

There were other things too, like how the Great Planes were settled with Wisconsin and Michigan white pine lumber, which moved through Chicago's lumber yards. If St Louis was the dominant city, that lumber would have moved much more slowly and the great plains would have developed differently.

The problem with "What if" questions is that so much of what happens is dependent upon so many other factors and things that have come before. Few things happen in a vacuum. Chicago became the dominant city because New York was the dominant city in the East. What if it were Pittsburgh? Well, that opens another big can of worms..

Here's something though, what if the Chicago Fire hadn't happened? The destruction and rebuilding of downtown gave Chicago a world class CBD. If that hadn't happened, when Chicago's gateway role declined and the industrial city fell out of fashion, would Chicago have fallen? Probably not, but it's neat to think about. :)
 

Xing500

Cyburbian
Messages
112
Points
6
Re: what if?

Howard Roark said:
Disney was reported (and still is reported) to go everywhere.

The land south of the Arch in St. Louis was supposedly considered as the first Disney land, as part of the Arch and stadium development, supposedly the deal fell through because Walt wanted it to be dry, which fell flat with August Busch.

While in undergrad in Springfield Mo. there was a persistent rumor that Disney was buying large tracts of land around Branson, 10 years later the rumors still persist. A friend of mine grew up in Carbondale Il. and said that there were rumors there in the 70’s that Disney was buying up land down there. Turned out to be fabrications.
Yeah I've heard those Disney St. Louis rumors. Buffalo was also a rumor city. I couldn't tell you why Buffalo was on that list. There's a website somewhere which talks about the whole thing.
 
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