Elevated Trains have been a generator for dreamt utopias during the whole 20th century. With a more modern society in mind, these inventions tried to solve urban mobility at any cost. Chicago’s elevated loop used to connect main skyscrapers lobbies, so that messengers could rush from one to another by jumping on the first train.
In its 21st century version, Bangkok skytrain connects main luxury shopping mall lobbies. By recreating an artificial climate, consumption society is literally elevated to upper strata. Almost without suffering from soaring temperatures, one could jump from the platform on to the shopping mall, and continuing to next one, so the city of consumption is segregated from the city of survival.
Ground level under the skytrain in Bangkok was almost unlivable, because of pollution and heat; a territory where beggars could build up their shelters under pedestrian bridges. After recent rioting, this social conflict was made worldwide visible. The wastelands under the elevated train were turned into battlefields for barricades and protests, as well as parade avenues or sudden camping sites. A video on the bbc video shows this post-rioting warscape, seeming that everything is calming down again.
[image1> cross sectin of bangkok skytrain] [images2&3>bangkok skytrain before rioting by deconcrete2010] [image4> bangkok skytrain via ki-smile] [image5> camping underneath skytrain in bangkok, april2010 by christao] [image6>demonstation underneath skytrain via new mandala] [image7> retro-futuristic elevated train via my urban sherpa] [image8> German visions for elevated trains in 1931 via modern mechanix] [image9>chicago train utopia via clintecker]