One of the speculative scaffolding projects I'm currently allowing to gestate a bit is a hyperbolic future landscape of the city in which scaffolding and sidewalk sheds have been allowed to proliferate without regulation in a city devastated by the bankruptcy of the city in the '70s. Let me back up a bit - and I'm sorry there are not yet any illustrations:
New York in the 1970s was not the gentrified and relatively tourist friendly NYC that we are all so familiar with today. It's an old story, but New York almost went bankrupt. Almost. What would have happened? There was no money for city services. Let's say the ripple effect forced banks to foreclose on thousands of properties in the city. Let's also say that as those buildings began to deteriorate from lack of maintenance, that the receivers of those buildings put up sidewalk sheds and scaffolding to avoid injury to passersby (more out of a fear of lawsuits than fear of fines).
(Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Image courtesy Freefoto.com)
Like a medieval Italian bridge, we could go on to speculate that these temporary structures would go on to stay in place for years, if not decades, centuries. The squatters in the buildings start to make use of the temporary structures as well, extending the 'private' rooms of the adjacent buildings into the 'airspace' of the sidewalk. Makeshift gardens and terraces appear at first, but then after the first few winters, the more resourceful of the squatters start to weatherize their shelters. Soon there are entire duplex and triplex 'apartments' added to the existing buildings. Without the resources (or the political will) to evict the squatters, a new 'scaffold law' is enacted to protect the homesteaders...
(Trial-Living in Slubfurt by Christian Hasucha)