Monorails have been praised as the future mode of transportation and they have always seemed to go hand-in-hand with technological innovations and a sense of utopian awe. However, along with the concept of flying cars and transportation in tubes, monorails are often depictedas imaginative caricatures of an obsolete era of transportation planning. Monorail, is often considered as a historic footnote, a remaining of the International Fairs, or in the best case scenario, an automated ride between stations and airport terminals.
The pioneers of this form of transport envisaged a future where everyone, everywhere, traveled in gleaming high-tech splendor, balanced on a single rail. The first decades of the 20th century had been an era of flourish for monorail in the pages of sci-fi books and technology magazines. Moreover, after 1950's monorails have been included in many International Fairs, as a mode of transportation coming from the future. A milestone for the spread of monorails, had been the integration of the popular monorail system in DisneyLand in 1959. The ambition of the system's developers was to create a solution for mass transportation needs all around the world, however monorails would have mainly been linked with amusement park rides.
Today, there are several monorails in cities across the world, often being extremely effective and viable means of intra-city travel, however their reflection as theme park attractions is something they have failed to defenestrate. Japan is the exception regarding the use of monorails, since its large cities has relied on monorails for the vast transport of passengers, since the mid 1950's.
Monorails offer a fanciful way of seeing the city, with the latter being the scene of the contemporary spectacle. Reading and interpretation of the city takes place through the act of wandering (flanerie) and gazing. The panoramic view of the ground and the city that monorails offer to their passenger makes them very appealing, since viewing the urban space from a height causes universal charm and - according to Michel de Certeau - transforms the passenger into a voyeur.
Monorails are an experience on their own, an idea that is often being overlooked during the planning of a transport system. Maybe is the misty-eyed view of utopian ideology which is so appealing about monorails, but their place in history deserves more than a relegation to the comedy files of city life.