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# "Skinny" Cities

No Fatsos! (just kidding)
 (+4, -4) [vote for, against]

If you currently live or have lived in a city, it may have occurred to you that the place is a piecemeal mess of inefficiency. There must be some lovely planned cities (please link), and I propose a new kind.

The Skinny City is a long, narrow city that covers twenty-five miles in length but only three miles in width. Running in a roughly straight line the entire length of the city is a built-up plateau of engineering magic: the spine of the city. Rail cars run back and forth from one end of the city to the other, carrying both passengers and freight.

The spine is built up on a plateau for a simple reason: to efficiently use gravitational energy. All along the spine are branch stations that serve to carry light-weight rail cars down from the plateau and out into the adjacent district. Rail switches are employed to allow passengers to peel off at their desired destinations.

Further elaboration is needed. Another enhancement to this concept would be to use a nearby water source such as a dammed river to transport the light-weight cars back toward the spine, doing so by use of carefully designed canals. At the bottom of the plateau, the light-weight cars go one-by-one into a vertical cylinder that is made to fill up from the bottom from the canal water, thus raising the car back up to the spine railways.

There may be other advantages to designing a central spine in a long, skinny city.

 — ShaneSezWhat, Jan 05 2010

Haxagonal patterns of settlement en.wikipedia.org/wi...ntral_place_theory.
[sstvp, Jan 06 2010]

This idea really doesn't have much to do with it, but I'm reading William Gibson's "Neuromancer" right now (a really good book) and whenever I try to picture the Skinny City, it's all cyberpunk.
 — DrWorm, Jan 06 2010

Some cities evolve skinnyness to stay near the "spine" of the interstate, or before that the river. This is similar. But why not use that third dimension and have the system be spokes instead of spines, with the hub atop a central hill? With the same density, it will be less far between any two points on the city.
 — bungston, Jan 06 2010

This is somewhat baked. Anyone ever been to Long Island?
 — Jscotty, Jan 06 2010

Google for Judge Dredd's Mega City (that first appeared in the comic 2000AD in 1977) for an archetype of extremely complex living spaces.
 — Aristotle, Jan 06 2010

 I agree with the bung. Given a flat area, humans will naturally create a circular-ish city. Transportation inefficiencies would be the biggest problem. So what if your area is the same as a small city? Given 12 blocks to the kilometer (20 to a mile as most US cities are) it would suck the life out of you to live on 5th ave and have to commute to the only job you could get at the main railyard over there on 492nd ave.

The best efficiency always comes from the highest area to perimeter ratio. Every time. Always.
 — bdag, Jan 06 2010

 //The best efficiency always comes from the highest area to perimeter ratio. Every time. Always.//

For a primitive society living on a plateau, the ideal waste disposal is just to throw it over the rim. Thus a large perimeter to area ratio would be best. The same is true for a city on a major highway or railway. Long and thin would be best for easy access to the thoroughfare.
 — ldischler, Jan 06 2010

I've given the idea a conditional bun... that it's spoked, not all one line, so you'd have a central hub (always good to have in a city) and spokes running off it, with the transport network the same as you suggested while they're on a spoke. Have each built as an almost self contained city itself, and have grassland, parks, and farms in between the spokes. If you wanted to, you could build a wall around the perimeter... in fact that might be best, as it would allow travel between adjacent spokes a lot easier.
 — Selky, Jan 06 2010

 The most efficient allocation of space produces hexagonal settlement patterns - actually a variation on the circle theory dbag mentions. High area to perimeter ratio produces the shortest transportation & infrastructure links.

Come to think of it, should the "grid pattern" have been the "hex pattern"??
 — sstvp, Jan 06 2010

Fold the spine into a circle and average journey times will drop instantly.
 — kinemojo, Jan 07 2010

 This seems like a kind of a zip-line delivery scheme which is not all bad, but I'd extrapolate to a rectangular grid. For a city next to a highway imagine the city as a square with the top next to the highway, The right side would have a service delivery road and a tall tower line for the top end of the zips, The left side would have a low removal road for the low end of the zips. The bottom side would be a support road for moving stuff "up hill" for delivery.

The system would be easily expandable.
 — MisterQED, Jan 07 2010

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