Today, World's Fairs have been rebranded as "International Expositions" that occur every 5 years, and are a hollow shell of their former glory. They no longer showcase the promise of the future or celebrate achievement. Instead, they serve as national branding exercises, infrastructure development projects masquerading as innovation, architecture competitions, and an opportunity to promote tourism. If anything, they're the perfect representation of our current vision for the future: unfocused and uninspiring.
But it doesn't have to be this way; we can't afford for it to be this way.
The world has changed dramatically since 1984. We now live in the most incredible time in human history. The internet has brought billions of people together and tech companies have given us supercomputers in our pockets. We're starting to build hyperloops and supersonic jets. We're on the cusp of incredible breakthroughs in genetics, biology, medicine, food science, energy, transportation, manufacturing, computing, and robotics. We're finally going back to the moon and then on to Mars. We've once again seen the power of a collective vision with the record-breaking development of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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Jersey City has an unparalleled opportunity for developing park space and cultural amenities in a two-mile corridor running from the Powerhouse Arts District in the East, along the Sixth Street Embankment to the Palisades, then up the River Line to the Bergen Tunnel, and west through the Erie Cut-Bergen Arches to JFK Boulevard. What is unique about this strategy is that is builds on both abandoned railroad properties and on Jersey City’s status as a center for graffiti art of the highest caliber. By capitalizing on its graffiti heritage, Jersey City can attract tourists from around the world and establish itself as an international center of cutting-edge art.This development strategy includes three park-garden areas: 1) Sixth Street Embankment, 2) River Line Walk, and 3) Erie Cut. A skate park is already being planned for the River Line Walk area. At full development the Erie Cut would have a series of small gardens in various national styles – Indian, Chinese, Spanish, etc. – and a conservatory linking the bottom of the cut to the street-level surface(Route 139). There would also be two modest museum complexes: 1) a graffiti museum at 12th and Monmouth, and 2) a railroad museum nearby at the Bergen Tunnel. These complexes would include restaurants and shops.A thumbnail calculation indicates that these developments could bring new tourist revenue to the city in the amount $36 to $90 million (or more) annually. Other benefits include increased property values along the corridor and new businesses.