A Massive 3-D Printed Cityscape Reveals The Gentrifying Future Of San Francisco

What will the future of San Francisco look like? Here’s a 3-D printed guess, courtesy of the design software company Autodesk, which has created a miniature model of the changing city as it’s projected to look in 2017.

The model, built at a scale of 1:1,250, doesn’t cover all of San Francisco–it spans over 115 blocks in the financial district and SOMA, two neighborhoods that are undergoing dramatic changes as new office buildings, apartment complexes, and public projects pop up.

This future version of San Francisco, created for real estate firm Tishman Speyer, includes several unfinished projects, including the Transbay Transit Center (let’s not fool ourselves, this won’t be the “Grand Central Station of the West” no matter how many times city officials say it) and developments made possible by the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.

Even with its limited scope, Autodesk thinks that the resin model, which took creative agency Steelblue six years to design and required two months for the actual printing, may be the largest 3-D printed model cityscape ever made. Buildings and city blocks can be swapped out if changes are necessary, and a projection system can layer data visualizations onto the model.

Since the San Francisco print was such a success, Steelblue is now printing models of other cities as well.AS