Monday, May 14, 2012

When Superheroes Are An Architect's Best Friend

Ah, the summer disaster movie season is upon us. According to the latest box office reports I just may one of the few people in the entire world who has still has a pulse and has not yet seen "The Avengers". Let me clarify quickly that I plan to. I've been a Joss Whedon fan since Firefly which I regard as possibly the best sci fi series ever. My Star Trek fans are crying "Sacrilege!" But then he created the world of Dr Horrible. So I know "The Avengers" is good, and I will get there. Just not right now.

But I'm getting off track. Again. (Look! A puppy!)

One element that every big blockbuster action flick has is the major climactic battle between the forces of good and the evil forces of evil. "The Avengers" does not disappoint in this. Or so I'm told. In every article, or from every person I talk to. In this motion picture a good portion of New York City is destroyed. But that is just a small price in order to save the world. Or is it?

Last week The Hollywood Reporter asked that very question. They turned to a noted disaster assessment company, Kinetic Analysis Corp, to determine what exactly was the cost of the damage inflicted upon the city during the fight to save it. Their determination? $160 billion.
For context, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks cost $83 billion, Hurricane Katrina cost $90 billion, and the tsunami in Japan last year washed away $122 billion.

Is it worth the price? I think so. I love New York, have visited there a number of times. It is vital to the strength of this country, financially and culturally. Plus I have some very good friends that live and work in the area. They alone are worth that to me.

Professionally a city with that much destruction to its buildings and infrastructure, given that the $160 billion could be found, would be a dream for architects and contractors. Think of all the work! And could we use it. According to the New York Times architecture as a profession is suffering one of the highest unemployment rates of any professional service in the country.  $160 billion would turn that around in an instant.

Where's an evil alien invasion when you need one?

(The Hollywood Reporter article and Kinetic Analysis Corp report can be read here:

I wrote a short story on the theme of monster aftermath for an unfortunately defunct-before-it-was-published anthology. The story is called "Clean Up On Seventh Avenue" and features the brave men and women of MIS Disposal. It was bought, ready for print, and then the rug was pulled out from the anthology entirely. The whole mess was detailed in earlier posts on this blog.  "Clean Up On Seventh Avenue"  is now being considered by another publisher. I'll keep you posted.

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