Designed by Norman Bel Geddes for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, Futurama was an exhibit and ride which emphasized the future and redesigning the American landscape. The theme of the fair was “The World of Tomorow”, so the installation was an animated, large-scale, one-acre model showing a glimpse into the future by displaying what America could look like in 20 years (1959–1960).
It showed almost every type of terrain in the United States: mountains, rivers, lakes, cities, and towns. It also contained more than five hundred thousand individually designed buildings, a million trees of thirteen different species, and approximately fifty thousand motorcars, showing how a motor system could cover and connect the whole country. The fair attendees sat 552 at a time and went on a simulated low-flying airplane journey through the exhibit. This journey was an 18-minute ride on a conveyor system which covered a winding path 1/3 of a mile long through the exhibit.
Futurama is widely considered to be the general American public’s first introduction to the concept of expressways connecting cities all over the country. Bel Geddes said that the design of the expressways met the four basic principles of highway design: safety, comfort, speed, and economy. He believed that the free-flowing movement of people and goods throughout and across the United Stated was a requirement for modern living and prosperity.