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Mesh City

Live in city/country hybrid and enjoy the best of both worlds
  (+9, -5)
(+9, -5)
  [vote for,

Most big cities are organized geographically: A high density core surrounded by ever thinner sprawls, with very few unbuilt spaces in between.

Instead, I suggest a topologically organized city. It is made up of Manhattan-style basic units. Each unit is circular with a radius of 1km, and accommodates 150,000 inhabitants in tall (20-60 floor) skyscrapers. Population density and layout within a unit is similar to that of Hong Kong. At the center of every unit there is a metro station from which airport-style moving walkways radiate out.

The units are then dispersed on 10x10 square mesh (other suggestions welcome!), at a spacing of 5-10 km, and connected with a high speed metro system (need not be underground). An airport-style conveyor belt system handles cargo. The space in between the units is left totally uninhabited and becomes a nature park. Total population is 15 million.

The advantages are clear. As opposed to a normal city where reaching the countryside can mean a two hour journey through sprawling suburbs, no inhabitant needs to walk longer than 15 min to be in the clean air and quiet of the wilderness. At the same time, inhabitants enjoy all the amenities common to a metropolis - at their doorstep. Any point within a unit can be reached in less than 15 min by foot(typically 7 min). Any point in the metropolitan area can be reached in less than 1h15min (typically 45 min) by foot/metro.

This ideal combination of country and city lifestyle will offer an unprecedented quality of life.

kinemojo, Mar 14 2006



       You seem to misunderstand this idea. Have you not read my proposal?   

       This isn't a vertical city or arcology. Where did I mention "grand designs" or mega-structures?   

       What I'm suggesting is simply this:   

       Take an ordinary city of high-rise buildings (such as Hong Kong or Manhattan). Split it into small entities. Disperse the entities geographically, and reconnect then into a single topolgical unit.
kinemojo, Mar 14 2006

       Oops, misinterpreted the 1 km radius unit thing.   

       Okay, well, this has already been proven to fail. Have another fishbone!
DrCurry, Mar 14 2006

       I live in the country and drive to the city when I want to go there, and this works just fine for me.
xandram, Mar 14 2006

       When I attain the status of benevolent dictator, all structures will be required to be in-ground so that the entire surface of the planet can be maintained in an :
or natural state.


       You have been warned.   

       So you're proposing a 50x50km to 100x100km patch of land with 15 million people on it, and claim that a 15 minute walk will lead to clean air and quiet? Not likely, methinks.
Texticle, Mar 14 2006

       You called, Master?
methinksnot, Mar 15 2006

       I was just going to say: that undeveloped land will be excellent for shantytowns.
bungston, Mar 15 2006

       >>So you're proposing a 50x50km to 100x100km patch of land with 15 million people on it, and claim that a 15 minute walk will lead to clean air and quiet? Not likely, methinks.<<   

       15 minute walk maximum. 5-7 minute walk *on average*.   

       Don't think of this in terms of absolute size, think in terms of the basic units.   

       The basic unit is 1km in radius. It takes 15 min to walk 1km.   

       Each basic unit has the population of a medium sized town. Units are spaced 5 km apart, so each unit is surrounded by a 1.5 km wide ring of greenery, used by 150,000 inhabitants.   

       Even if you go to Regent's park in London, which is much smaller and has a catchment area of many more people, to your surprise you'll find piece and quiet, even though it's surrounded by car traffic (absent in Mesh city).   

       Very likely, methinks.
kinemojo, Mar 15 2006

       >>I was just going to say: that undeveloped land will be excellent for shantytowns.<<   

       So how do you explain the absence of shanty towns in Central Park?
kinemojo, Mar 15 2006

       Central park is a far cry from "totally undeveloped".
bungston, Mar 15 2006

       sorry, I'll change that to "uninhabited" then.
kinemojo, Mar 15 2006

       how will you keep folks out?
bungston, Mar 15 2006

jutta, Mar 15 2006

       Feral pigs.
rubyminky, Mar 15 2006

       Frog-DNA-rejuvenated dinosaurs recovered from fossils... 'what's that coming through the long grass? Argggh!'   

       Seriously, this is an idea that has to be considered; especially in Europe, where population density makes most of the US look deserted. NY is the only place that comes close to London in that respect. [bun]
Texbinder, Mar 15 2006

       Yes, a bun from me too. I love the idea that in the future we will wise up and live on this planet as in a big garden and tend to it. Ideas such as this will make it happen.
zeno, Mar 15 2006

       Factories? Waste water treatment facilities? Solid waste facilities? Airports? Fire fighting? I guess we can also start closing down the city planning schools.   

       Don't get me wrong, this will improve the quality of life of most large-city inhabitants (and one of those buns up there is mine) but the surrounding areas will be a mess reminiscent of early 21st century urban areas.
methinksnot, Mar 15 2006

       People reading this seem to love the idea of unbuilt land. I wonder why? Is it a desire to stroll along paths and look at plants? In this case, what is desired is a park. Or is it simply the knowlege that such a place exists - sort of like the comfort provided by a belief in God? Most real wildernesses are fairly difficult to traverse on foot. Or is it a hatred of buildings and other people, and a desire to have some spaces free of them? In this third case, the purpose could be accomplished by farming the land in between cities.   

       Legally mandated farmland between cities is more practical on many levels: the farmer will monitor and maintain the land and the land is productive. Modern farming can be done with the incorporation of unfarmed belts of woodland / wildland - these can have benefits for the farm, and also serve as refugia for critters.
bungston, Mar 15 2006

       >>Factories? Waste water treatment facilities? Solid waste facilities? Airports? Fire fighting? <<   

       Just replace a few of the residential units on the edge of the mesh with "service units" that house large factories, power plants and waste/storage facilites.   

       You just need one airport for 15m people and you can locate that 50 km outside the mesh.   

       Fire fighting and ambulances would work the same way as in Hong Kong or Manhattan.
kinemojo, Mar 15 2006

       [km] - I did not think you would have designed roads. My apologies.   

       [bungston] - Land planning regulations already achieve your intent of "legally mandated farmland" by restricting land use to certain activities and dictating minimum plot sizes.
methinksnot, Mar 15 2006

       >>I did not think you would have designed roads. My apologies.<<   

       No need for roads. Emergency vehicles can pass through pedenstrianised streets as long as they are wide enough.
kinemojo, Mar 16 2006

       I guess you want a cluster of towns then? I'm not being disparaging, My thoughts tend to run along the same lines.   

       Why not use an equilateral grid? The towns could then be a bit closer together.   

       It would also probably be a good idea to have some roads between towns as well, even if only for emergency vehicles, but perhaps also bicycles and buses.   

       Why buses as well as trains? They are a little bit more adaptable, and reduce reliance on one system.   

       It would be nice if there were variety between the towns, they should have different priorities (industrial, medical etc), architectural styles and so on.
Loris, Mar 17 2006

       /they should have different priorities / This would also facilitate wars, which could take place in the totally undeveloped zone.
bungston, Mar 17 2006

       My intuition tells me that a Corbusian high density concept won't work (Re: Moscow). I've pondered off & on how to modify Moshe Safdie's concepts to get a higher density & incorporate green space.   

       With Moshe Safdie's higher density concepts at least you can stuff the utilites & commercial functions under the residential. (at least according to my sketches.)   

       I have some calc's & sketches on densities that I think are about 10 times higher than what you mention. It envolves a very intensive design based on sloped stacking 3D massive structures w/ support utilities under them. These designs included Very Large parks.   

       I can't find them right now.
Zimmy, Mar 18 2006

       I'm not so stupid to design parks entirely shaded. The building mass was an incremental increasing hillside town concept that was based on the massive park as a center for each neighborhood.   

       Sunlight is critical to residents' happiness, I think.
Zimmy, Mar 18 2006

       sorry [bigsleep]. I was about to delete my prev. comment, but then you commented on it.   

       I may be mad, but probably not in the way you think. I believe that a high density system can be developed as a fusion of the Mediteranean hilltown & a hydroponics farm.   

       Picture Spanish, Greek, Italian, even Morrocan hillside towns that rise up the hill & merge them with Habitat '67 and a collage of underground homes. The concept of mine, as I think of it is more of a recreation of the hanging gardens of Babylon where your rooftop is your neighbors' yard.   

       A punching thru of cylinders would occur to allow for great trees to grow (aided hydroponically) to make the view from afar of such a construct appear to be an overgrown hill.   

       The architectural design of such a place is very intense & great respect must be given to the sun angles. Great respect must also be given to the transportation of people & things, which I feel can be accomplished by using "underground" - but in reality these are only sub residential, not underground, slow medium & high speed trail. The other design issue for transportation is the management of transportation needs & incorporation of these needs into the neighborhood design in a way such that you may be able to get everything you need without ever having to use a "subway". etc. etc. sorry I can't find my notes & sketches folder on this.   

       I did not finish school for architecture (insert stereotypical thoughts now). I did not have the maturity or respect for what they were teaching me then (or on the respect part, maybe even now). I went to a very expensive school. I now do ok drawing up structural plans & writing autolisp programs to make such production very profitable.
Zimmy, Mar 18 2006


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