"Modern" mega-projects that future generations will see and admire

What ‘modern’ mega-projects (defined as after the 19th century) do you speculate might still be around in, oh, say 2 or 3 thousand years in the future, and admired by the people of that time in the way we often admire things built in earlier times? I was watching a series on neolithic monuments in the British Isles and it got me thinking about what things from close to our time might still be around and have people of that later time going to in order to look at and admire or even speculate as to what the purpose might have been for the structure. Often when I used to go to various ancient sites the people there would say something like ‘we don’t really know what this was for or how it was built’, and while I generally rolled my eyes at some of the explanations, especially for how they were built (aliens and the like) it intrigued me that sometimes the ancients built things for reasons or purposes we still don’t know for sure. And that got me thinking about things from near our own time that might be the same.

Mount Rushmore seems like a likely candidate.

The Hoover Dam may last 10,000 years. Not bad for a Democratic make work project that got tagged with a Republican presidents name.

The Panama Canal may also be one if they can keep up with maintenance.

A lot of offshore oil platforms turn into “reefs”. Lots of fishes come there and so do corals and other marine life.

A long time from now, they may genuinely become something worth seeing, maybe.

I wonder whether people will admire them, or will think ‘what the hell did those people think they were doing?’

Only the ones that are well inland…

I’d imagine most large-scale earthmoving projects for roads and railroads will leave scars on the landscape that will easily last for tens of thousands if not millions of years, and be clearly identifiable as man-made.

Like the Pikeville Cut-Through, for example.

Footprints on the Moon.

I’d imagine transportation 500 years from now will be radically different with things like rail and roads obsolete. And someone saying “do you know there is still a tunnel underneath the English Channel that they built back in the 20th century?”

Along those lines, the lunar spacecrafts remains/landing site areas themselves, and the martian landers/rovers and perhaps soon to be flyer.

The Human Genome Project. It’s knowledge will be vastly enhanced, but in future centuries, the mapping of DNA will still be seen as a revolutionary breakthrough.

Going back a few decades, the D-Day landings and sending a man to the moon.

If you’re speaking about physical projects, such as buildings or monuments, I think the 19th century will fair better than the 20th. I think the Eiffel Tower, London’s Houses of Parliament, the White House, and the US Capitol (the 1850 version) will all be existent and admired in 500 years. For 20th century physical projects, my best guesses are the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and the Sydney Opera House.

A few thousand years is a really long time. As far as I know the only things that old that are still in decent shape are the Sphinx, the Great Wall, and the Egyptian Pyramids. The few others from that time period, like the Roman Coliseum, seem to be well on their way to falling apart.

My guess is that the only things from our time that will still be around in a few thousand years will be similar large stone structures like Mount Rushmore.

That’s true with a few caveats. IF maintenance is done, then many other things can last almost indefinitely. So, it will really depend on whether or not maintenance continues on various mega structures made in the time period of the OP COULD still be around in 2000 or so years. Even if not, the ruins of some may still be about. The Hoover Dam was mentioned above, and I think it’s probable that, unless it’s demolished for some reason, something will still be there, even if the functioning dam probably won’t be. There are several stone structures in Europe built in the time period may still be around too, as the US Capital building might in some form or another. I think it hinges as much on whether future generations would do what many earlier did, i.e. rob them for materials to build other things. That’s really why many things from 2000 or so years ago are gone now…they were looted for their cut stone. Even some of the ones you mentioned here (like the Colosseum) were in fact looted systematically, as were many of the Egyptian pyramids. A lot of the mega structures in the Americans from native civilizations have lasted because they were completely abandoned, or in some cases repurposed and not looted.

It’s an interesting thought exercise, especially since you have to make some assumptions such as will maintenance continue? How or will they be abandoned? What will future generations or even civilizations treat them…and what will those civilizations be or do? Also, what will the climate be and do to many of the things we’ve built? That’s really a huge one.

One I’ve thought of is Iron Mountain and the repository there. What if, for some reason, it was abandoned and forgotten? What would be discovered there in the time period we are talking about? Or if it’s not, how much of what’s there can and will be maintained for future generations to marvel at? I recall going there once on a tour, and having the tour guide claim that as long as the climate is controlled and maintenance done the fragile film and other items could last ‘indefinitely’. And if it’s added too, it could be something really to see in 2000 years…a marvel of our age going forward, assuming it’s still around.

Yeah it can’t be understated how long that is to maintain something! Skyscrapers probably wouldn’t make it to 100 years without ongoing maintenance.

I guess the biggest impacts historically have been tolerance to regime/religion change (statues often get the axe) and massive monuments that weren’t valuable to further loot?

Impossible to predict the curve of political “wokeness” but society might be almost to the point where we don’t have to destroy everything that changes administration. So art, buildings, statues, are all actively preserved… possibly large buildings? would the modern conqueror of the UAE destroy the burj khalifa? That’s a lot of effort, especially without slaves… ehh… maybe worth keeping around and rebranding.

Maybe that’s what the Romans thought too… now look at 'em. Christianity hit hard. The pyramids were stripped of everything worth moving, we just get the leftovers.

Given that it’s definitely possible at some point everything will go wrong… what do our leftovers look like? mining quarries? entombed nuclear waste? Can we pull our shit together long enough for someone to be reading this message 3,000 years from now?

What do you expect to replace roads?

Flying cars. I was promised flying cars!

Twinkies and Hohos.

I was going to suggest the Palm Islands in Dubai but apparently they are environmentally damaging and are likely to sink.

If it ever gets done, that proposed series of bridges and tunnels linking Alaska and Siberia would probably qualify.