Usually, science fiction has its own mythology that takes you into a completely different, new and exciting world. That’s sort of the case with Gateway: the City’ Reason. But it’s not a totally different world. It’s set in the heartland of America 50 years from now. It’s a world that’s built on American mythology and the realities of today. There was no apocalypse to wipe the slate clean and make it easy to create a new “stage.” We’ve built a “sustainable stage” and we’re using what we have – or should we say, we’ll use what we have in the near future. That makes it a little harder, but also more satisfying.
To help you gear up for the upcoming pilot episodes, we’ll be posting some character bios in the near future. In this section we’ll take a quick tour of Gateway – our home town – 50 years from now and after a quiet revolution leaves things mostly the same, but also a lot different. Let’s take a stroll through the Mall.
You might arrive on a sub-orbital flight and land at one of our spaceports/airports: old Lambert Field west of the Mississippi or Heartland/MidAmerica on the east side. You might take a high-speed train from Chicago. Indy. Memphis or Kansas City. Whatever your mode of inter-city transportation, you won’t need an automobile when you get here. You can drive an automobile – non-polluting of course – or rent a vintage car for a cruise down Route 66 (a five mile museum attraction), but a car is not necessary to get around. Public transit is within 300 yards of every home and business: buses, driverless trams, trolleys, streetcars, and light rail. Bicycle and pedestrian access comes before automobiles. And many streets are pedestrian only.
The first place we’ll take you is the first place most people took visitors to St. Louis in 1965 and the first place we take visitors in 2015: The Gateway Arch at the Jefferson Memorial Expansion. The Arch still anchors the Gateway Mall, but the Mall now starts on the east bank of the river at the New Worlds Fair Grounds – a permanent installation that celebrates the world’s culture and history (warts and all). You can now walk a bridge across the river right into the mouth of the Arch.
So when you stand under the Arch and look east there is a pedestrian bridge that leads to the New Worlds Fair Grounds, marinas, beaches and other attractions and development all along the east bank. When you look west from the Arch you see that the Mall goes on for miles, all the way to Gateway Tower, the tallest structure in the heartland, which stands at the east edge of Forest Park.
The Gateway Mall is city art & development that celebrates the movement from east to west, from old world to new world, from past to future. It is the core of the city. The heart of Gateway.
You will see things in St. Louis that you could see in any other city in the nation or the world in 2065. A lot will look the same as 2015: The brick. The streets. The neighborhoods. The skyline has the same foundation (the Arch). We use the -50 | 0 | +50 rule for our careful futurism. That is, we look at the city in 1965 and compare that to 2015 St. Louis. What’s changed and what’s the same. We think it’s safe to say that a lot of St. Louis in 2065 will look the same as St. Louis in 2015. The fun part is to project what will change. And we are focusing on “sustainability changes.” [That’s what we mean when we say we’re building a ‘sustainable stage” upon which the stories of Gateway will take place.]
The political units of the nation have changed – part of the quiet revolution – to better represent the people. [We won’t go much further when it comes to national and global politics as that story arc will flow through the television series.] Gateway STL can be seen as a city-state with boundaries that reflect where Cardinals fans are concentrated on the map. The nation is now gerrymandering-proof and laws were put in place to make sure there was equal and fair representation and absolutely no voter suppression.
BUT BACK TO OUR TOUR.
When we walked over the bridge towards the Arch, we could see the Eads Bridge built 200 years ago, the warehouse buildings of the Landing, Showboats up and down the river, Busch Stadium V (on Chouteau’s Landing) and the MSL/NFL Olympic Stadium complex behind the River Mounds Park to the north.
Just to the northwest of Laclede’s Landing is District V (vee). District V is an “anything goes” zone of the city. Think Vegas/Amsterdam/Times Square. Keeping a lid on the district is a challenge for local law enforcement, but it also has advantages of open zoning which means/brings economic income and a reduction of crime in the rest of the region. District Y on the eastside is similar, but more wild, more dangerous and perhaps more interesting to some of our characters.
From the Arch – now a century old – we can walk east along the Mall – or we can hop on a street car. The STL skyline is still anchored by the arch, but there are many more renovated historic buildings and a lot of important new architecture. The People’s Corporations have headquarters buildings here. The Sustainable Valley – a nickname similar in meaning to Silicon Valley – has attracted and incubated many companies who have set up headquarters here.
From the Arch west, the Mall was carved out, often in a controversial way. Structures had to be moved out of the way and property transferred and traded – but demolition was held to a minimum. Along the Mall we’ll see:
The Great Rivers Institute – Gateway is part of the new “Blue Belt.” A region that has access to an abundance of fresh water with all the economic and political and development issues that come with that wet legacy. The Rivers Institute is a global leader in the study and preservation of the world’s rivers and fresh water.
The Gateway Aquarium – a world class educational attraction managed by the Saint Louis Zoo.
The World Sports Museum – the biggest athletics museum, sports history museum, and educational and research institute for sports.
City Hall – a lot of our poli-sci-fi story arc happens here.
The Central Library – a lot of library archival technology and activities have an impact on the Gateway story arc.
Union Station – goes back to servicing rail traffic. Is also one location of the Gateway Transportation Museum specializing in railroad history.
Market Square – a European style square just west of Union Station.
City University of St. Louis – a university built that centered it mission on teaching its students. Its graduate teaching school is equivalent to top medical schools for admissions and quality of students. In Gateway, these graduates make incomes equivalent to doctors, lawyers and bankers today. The schools of Gateway are light years ahead of schools in 2015. Education and critical thinking is cherished in Gateway, and “going to school” is a lifelong pursuit for all citizens.
Harris Stowe University campus – the university has grown to offer a variety of degrees and is a central feeder of teaching talent to the Gateway school district.
Political Science Institute – the largest political science museum in the world and a center for education and study of political science.
Saint Louis University campus – SLU is a private research university founded in 1818 and is the oldest university west of the Mississippi River and the second-oldest Jesuit university in the nation. It has grown around the Mall.
St. Louis University Medical center – SLU’s medical research and care center.
Grand Center – the theater, music and entertainment district of Gateway. The Saint Louis Symphony. The Saint Louis Opera Company. The Saint Louis Ballet. The Saint Louis Modern Dance Company. The Saint Louis Shakespeare Company. As well as hundreds of venues, restaurants, clubs, and theaters & arts groups.
Sustainable Alley (a subset of the Sustainable Valley) – high tech businesses focused on and dedicated to sustainable living throughout the world. A lot of entrepreneurs headquartered here have gotten, and are still getting, rich making the world a better place to live.
The Central West End – an historic neighborhood and entertainment district that has sprawled north, west and south.
WUSTL Medical Center – Washington University’s medical research and care center.
Gateway Tower – the tallest structure in the heartland of America. It is the west anchor of the Mall. Its museums are world class and its observation deck has quite a view.
Forest Park – a public park located in the western edge of the Mall. It is a prominent civic center and is one of the largest city parks in the nation, covering 1,371 acres. The park, which opened in 1876, has hosted several significant events, including the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 and the 1904 Summer Olympics. We could stay on the trolley and pass by the Gateway Tower and ride into the park to visit a variety of attractions, including the St. Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Gateway History Museum, the Gateway Science & Technology Center, the Natural History Museum, The Gateway Wheel (the tallest Ferris Wheel in the heartland), the Muni and the Playhouse in the Park..
St. Louis Institute of Technology – formed in the early 21st century with billions in initial endowment, it is now on par with CalTech , MIT and other research institutions. It is located on the southern edge of Forest Park.
Washington University – a private research university located on the western edge of Forest Park (its medical school and center are on the eastern edge of Forest Park). It retains its standing as one of the best universities in the world.
The Delmar Loop – just one of the “street-based” entertainment, cultural and restaurant districts in Gateway. It is north of Forest Park located in the streetcar neighborhood of University City and the Skinker-Debaliviere neighborhood. In the early 21st century the American Planning Association named the Delmar Loop “One of the 10 Great Streets in America.” Streetcars also made a comeback in the early 21st century in the Loop. They are now an important part of the public transportation system in Gateway.
That’s it for your intro into the world of Gateway: the City’s Reason. There’s a lot more to the city. We’ve just walked the Mall which is the hard of Gateway. But there’s a lot that’s going to happen on the “sustainable stage” that is the whole city and region. We hope you’re feeling more primed for Gateway episodes in terms of place.