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Self-sufficient Arcologies

An almost completly self-sufficient city in a skyscraper!!
(+4, -4)
  [vote for,

Two of the main problems facing mankind today are overpopulation and dwindling natural resources. Basically, there are too many people using up too much land and fossil fuels, with the inevitable environmental concequences.

With the ever developing material and design technologies we are mastering, it will soon be possible to build skyscrapers over 1000 m tall, and probably higher. The sky literally is the limit! These buildings will be cities in themselves, housing tens of thousands of people and containing hospitals, schools, offices, the whole caboodle!

OK, that idea has been done but what I propose is that these be built about 1-5 km off shore of big cities such as New York, Beijing, Hong kong and Tokyo. Whilst most food, raw materials and some manufactured items would need to be exported from the mainland, power and drinkable water could be produced using the structure itself.

The underwater levels of the building could take in seawater and desalinise it, pumping it up to the dwellings and offices above. The area immediatly below the surface could be used to harness the energy of the waves, generating power. Automated fisheries could even operate from the submergerd base of the tower.

Wind turbines increase in efficiency the bigger they are. i.e. 2 X 5 metre blade turbines will produce less than 1 X 10 metre blade turbine. Wind turbines are fairly ugly and nobody wants to live near them. The same can be said for skyscrapers in general. So, why not combine the two?! The skyscrper itself could be a huge wind turbine with blades as large as 500m! The blades could also possibly be covered in solar panels. The amount of electricity produced would be immense, easily enough to power the building itself. The fact it is out at sea would also contribute to its effectivness. Being out at sea it would also not be quite so visable to those on land.

The only real drawback I can think of is who the hell would want to live there really? But, i think it may appeal to some! In the futre we will likely have litttle choice anyway. The other thing is terrorist attacks but we can't let them put us off developing our societies, that is what they want! In any case the structure would be so large, only an oiltanker full of explosives would bring it down. If the turbine blades idea were implemented, this would also help defend against hijacked jumbos!

I guess this idea (or series of ideas) is either going to be ridiculed or loved. Bear in mind I am not putting forward the notion of Arcologies which is baked; but SELF-SUFFICINET Arcologies! Let me know your thoughts........

ferret, May 27 2002

Nexus http://www.tdrinc.com/nexus.html
Mobile Floating Sea City [angel, May 27 2002]

Arcology Discussion - Floating City-States http://www.peagreen..._disc7/0000004e.htm
"As I understand it, the OTEC system will give Aquairius a self-sufficiency in energy, minerals, and food." [angel, May 27 2002]

Solar panels as windows..... http://www.ecotech.com.hk/pv.htm
Stolen from other discussion!! [ferret, May 28 2002]


       Been playing SimCity again ferret?
yamahito, May 27 2002

       OK, you got me, I played that game when i was younger. All good ideas are based on previous good ideas though.......(and that game is pretty class!)
ferret, May 27 2002

       angel: some strange ideas there, not quite what i had invisaged! I don't really see how they bake my idea, but its your call!
ferret, May 27 2002

       I'm for the idea, but it's not original (hence the term 'arcology').
phoenix, May 27 2002

       Where's the Unabomber when you need him?
brewmaster, May 27 2002

       phoenix - I know the idea of Arcologies has been done, but what I am proposing is different. I do not know of any past suggestions to make the arcologies self-sufficient using the methods I have put forward, do you?
ferret, May 27 2002

       /…who the hell would want to live there really?…/
Anyone who's been living on a moon base slogging around in steel boots for a year or two. Gaaa!

       Not a bad idea essentially, and one that I've entertained myself. My concern with the type of structure you propose is its behavior during navigation. Now, you have to give me that I am using navigation to describe the task involved in keeping the structure in one place. Building it with a deeper draft or more massive bulkheads requires a depth of water to encompass the structure's draft.   

       Deeper water means drift, also increased wave height. I think it best to build at an atoll, on a reef system, or upon an existing desert island. The advantage is surroundings of shallow seas and a fixed location for the structure's foundation. Drawbacks are increased accessability to the structure by casual travelers, and relocation of the existing population of seals, reptiles, or squatters.
reensure, May 27 2002

       Arcology (in my mind) has always meant self-sufficient, so it seems redundant to me. I don't know what the official definition is.
phoenix, May 27 2002

       // The skyscraper itself could be a huge wind turbine with blades as large as 500m! //   

       If someone managed to build a giant building that rotated with the wind, and yet was sturdy and had all of the proper connections, now _that_ would be the engineering marvel of the century. No way. Although I suppose very tall blades could use the building as their axis. That's a nifty idea.   

       The curious thing about solar cells is that unless you buy the really high-dollar ones, they generally cost more in energy to produce than they will ever generate.   

       Better to design the building to the prevailing wind pattern, in a shape to direct the flow towards the turbine blades.   

       The building would have to stand up to hurricanes at their worst, which could get really tricky.   

       A group of floating, relatively flat platforms would really be the better way to go. More stable, more sunlight.   

       This skyscraper would have to import nearly all of its food, like Hawaii, since there wouldn't be enough ground for agriculture.
RayfordSteele, May 27 2002

       If Walt Disney had lived another ten years, his Epcot Center might have looked more like he originally envisioned--an Environmentally Productive City Of Tomorrow, or EPCOT (I might not have gotten this quite right). Instead, we have the regimented, overly plastic and kind of boring amusement park, although their greenhouse area was interesting.
entremanure, May 28 2002

       UB, the last time I seriously played with solar cells on our school's solar car, my quote was quite true. But that was 6 years or so ago and I may be out of date. Back then, manufacturing the things took a monstrous amount of wattage, they were terribly fragile, and the efficiency for your standard-grade Silicon monocrystalline cells was around 15-16% and capable of pretty limited voltage potential internally. This new thin film technology could change things. If I remember right, our car's 2m x 4m main array of good quality cells cost us around $10 / cell US. Peak power output was around the neighborhood of 1300 Watts on a bright, sunny noon day in Florida.
RayfordSteele, May 28 2002

       44% is great, but as manufacturable in an industrial facility for a reasonable price is another thing altogether.
RayfordSteele, May 28 2002

       phoenix - Arcology is derived from 'architecture' and 'ecology' but this does not mean it is self sufficeint, just ecological.   

       Rayford - NO! I dont want the whole blimming building to rotate, just the blades attached to it! The building itslef would simply act as the upright for the turbine.   

       Hurricanes are not everwhere in the world, for example such a building in the English Channel (perhaps half way across a giant bridge from england to france) would be ok.   

       As for the solar cells - well if they managed to build this idea, i think they may have better cell technology by then! ;-)   

       Thanks all for your contributions......
ferret, May 28 2002

       //a giant bridge from england to france//   

       Are you quite mad?? The tunnel's bad enough! ;op   

       Plus, there are the occasional hurricane even in this mundane part of the world - last one was in the early 90's. Better to make sure the structure could stand up to it.
yamahito, May 28 2002

       yam - yes, but the tower would also incorporate machine gun turrets to keep the french at bay.   

       unabub - sounds good to me!
ferret, May 28 2002


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