Skypad Apartments is an apartment building in Orbit City. Henry Orbit is the building's repairman. The Jetson family lives there in the year 2062. The Skypad Apartments, like the rest of the city's architecture, is rendered in the Googie style. All homes and businesses are raised high above the ground on adjustable columns.
Behind the Scenes
Why do the Jetsons live in the air? Because of the Space Needle. Not many structures can claim to be the inspiration for the architecture in an iconic animated cartoon, but the Space Needle most certainly can. Iwao Takamoto, a layout and design artist for The Jetsons told The New York Times in 2005 that the Space Needle “inspired the ‘skypad’ apartment buildings [in the cartoon], whose stilts grew or shrunk depending on the smog or rain. The SpaceHouse is intended to stay where it is and weather the storms and extreme temperatures of the Antarctic. The Skypad apartments, as you may recall, were built on huge hydraulic central posts that could raise the living quarters above the level of bad weather.There is a conspiracy theory that says that the Flintstones occurs on the ground, but the Jetsons occurs in the sky. There was a crossover which used a suspiciously simple mechanism to cross over
No explicit reason was ever given - it was just a conceit of the series. The setting was 'future' and one of the ways the 60s-era animators wanted to display that - to make it completely unambiguous - was to never show the Earth's surface. The basic implication is one of rising above the pollution; it's mentioned in a couple of episodes. There is also the episode where Henry the super raises the building above the rain. Further, the few "downward" shots show rolling clouds beneath; it's not even a certainty most of the time if it's on Earth. (The best evidence for which is a few shots from space, and that they refer to it as such in a couple of episodes.) An episode of Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law (hardly a canon source) indicates that they live in elevated homes because the Earth's surface is uninhabitable. Indeed, in that episode, the Jetson's home becomes submerged by a rising sea, and mutated monsters attack it. They return to the past to sue Earth's citizenry for wrecking the entire planet. Of course, other episodes,present that Earth's surface is open to parks and factories. There's a yellow building in the background, with bushes and trees around it that doesn't look damaged. The curved beams (of metal or whatever they use) would be supporting Cogswell's building. The red circular pillar probably supports Spacely's building and you can see another elevated building in the background. So the reasonable suspicion is that below the clouds is either unlivable or only marginally livable. It's likely from pollution and climate change. Probably just a way to make it outlandish. Plus it gives a good use for flying cars (instead of them just hovering above the road for no reason). There've been plenty of episodes showing the ground though, so there isn't really anything wrong with the ground. I remember one episode where a bird was walking on the ground, and another where a hospital (that Rosie was in after eating a faulty lug-nut) was on the ground with flowers all around it. People probably just migrated to the sky for a fresh start. Or it was just a kick in the series.
They do show buildings on the ground, in at least one case. In Private Property, the episode where Cogswell builds a building next to Spacely's, note this scene toward the end. The building inspector measures the building height, and there is a shot of the end of the tape measure hitting the ground.
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