West 5: A Visionary Community
Hi, it’s Richard here. As I look over the architectural plans for West 5, I can’t help but think of Walt Disney. When it comes to community planning, and technologically forward thinking, Walt was a visionary. We’re all aware of his legacy – and many of us have visited Disney’s Florida theme park at some point in our lives; however, not many people are aware of his original plan for The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, better known as EPCOT. Before Walt passed away in 1966, he was laying the foundation for a futuristic city comprised of several elements, including: a prototype community, an industrial park, an airport of the future and much more. Even more interesting, some of the components of his grand vision for how communities should work will be coming to fruition within the development of West 5. We’re going to change everything, not unlike what Walt envisioned for EPCOT city, the heart of EPCOT.
The center of the Walt’s Epcot city would have consisted of business and commerce, outlined with high-density apartment housing, while the outer sections would have housed residential neighbourhoods. The self-contained city would have everything you ever needed, including entertainment, restaurants and parks. Residents could work within the community itself, reducing the need for commutes. Does any of this sound familiar? EPCOT was going to be – and remains – a blueprint for sustainable community development. Like West 5, it would have been walkable, allowed residents the ability to live, work and play all in one place and would have employed the latest in building technology (for that time period).
Much in the way Walt saw the principals of his legacy project becoming a benchmark, we see the development of our sustainable community here in London, Ontario, changing the way future communities are conceived. We’re building a destination, where people will be able to live – and do so in every sense of the word.