Public: City
Interconnect the 5th Floor   (+1)  [vote for, against]
Oneof the disadvantages of building up instead of sideways is that you become vulnerable to fires. Linking up with your neighbours ameliorates this.

The principal objection I can think of to this is that the reason you build a tall building in the first place is to get as much floorspace as you can per square meter of downtown. However, the loss of space needn't be total, and there is at least one significant advantage. (see above)

These interconnections could be extended to block scale, and then further to bridges across streets. At some small scale, it's already a somewhat baked idea (the Bridge of Sighs, and some of our own downtown bridges between a parkade across the road and the building it serves); at some larger scale, it becomes a new way of living, and not just a way of making fires more survivable.

Yes, and I suppose every sci-fi dystopia has a city like this somewhere, actually planned to be 3-dimensional; so at the comprehensively 3D level the idea is at very least WKTE (as long as one isn't too fussy with the rather small distance between the "E" in there and "~E").

As a process that could actually be pushed into existence by city planning depts, I don't think it's properly half-baked as far as the details go. For instance the possibility of the Fire Brigade becoming a 5th floor operation (or better, a 15th floor one) isn't something on all lips.

Perhaps to push the essential idea over into "dough country" it needs some implementable modification, though; so for the sake of the space-saving owners I propose cantilevered extensions to the sides of all 5th floors, permitting possibly restricted traffic to to move past the building without tunneling through. Unfortunately this won't save potential ego-wounded monument makers whose Art will be violated by the protrusions.

In China (nimen hao), where a lot of cities begin as tabula rasa, I'm surprised they're not doing something like this already (and thereby leaving the rest of the world behind, somewhere in the mildew of the past). When they do, you're all going to have to do this modification, anyway, just to almost keep up, so at least your halfbaking has prepared you for the shock.
-- skoomphemph, Apr 03 2014

[Voice, Apr 03 2014]

Des Moines Downtown Skywalk covers 6x4 city blocks
[Voice, Apr 03 2014]

Development over time
[Voice, Apr 03 2014]

This Idea can help fires spread between otherwise- separate buildings. You may now expect to receive buns from certain folks, based on that.
-- Vernon, Apr 03 2014

Yes, I suppose 5th floor fires (as well as 10th, 15th, 20th ...) would be the worst of all kinds. I think fires spreading upward might be less terrible, in compensation?
-- skoomphemph, Apr 03 2014


Maybe attach automatic explosives to break the bridge when the fire is spreading across the bridge.
-- mofosyne, Apr 03 2014

It wouldn't be a great feat of engineering to assure that bridge material doesn't burn at the ignition temperature of the interconnections nor that hot gas and debris wouldn't make it across. A bigger concern would be the sudden loss of structural integrity.
-- Voice, Apr 03 2014

This is actually just the retrofit version of a more radical idea that would fit in better with cities yet to be built. I might post the less compromising version as a different idea at some stage (because, qualitatively and quantitatively it is).

Interesting to see how many places "Phase 1" has already succeeded so well.

I'll counter the "argument" of the guy in the tribliv piece that Skyways (thanks [Voice]) are so-20th-century with a telling point of the same kind (but much, much more valid, if such an attribute is possible):

Suburbia is so-20th-century ...

(some might even be saying "America is so 20th century ... and Europe is a Victorian fossil").

As for methods of making a CBD "vibrant" ... Wait, making it what?? ... The method is simply not to try to do the impossible. Get a beach or some other natural promenade, if it's vibrant you want.
-- skoomphemph, Apr 03 2014

A skywalk may be made in such a way that it does not convey fire. One simple way is to have vents that passively open if they become hot. Another way is active fire suppression by way of sprinklers. A third way would prioritize isolating the pathways of egress and thus the skywalk from sources of fuel. A third way is to make the skywalk of such material and length that even a catastrophic fire would not be able to cross it. Or some combination of the above. This isn't even hypothetical, it is a matter of contemporary architecture.
-- WcW, Apr 03 2014

A fire brigade that has a monopoly on large-vehicle traffic up above the streets should be able to respond more quickly without traffic in the way, even to lower-floor fires in some cases. When they get there, they start closer to the problem with a higher fire, at least.

Perhaps your higher unit could just start a bit of containment until the street level one arrives to tackle the blaze from below.

And yes, if Skywalk floors are actually fireproofed to the extent that this is possible (eg. restrictions / prohibitions on flammable material) they might even buy some time.

I think that maybe some lives might have been saved in 9/11 if the towers had been the "next level version" - with "horizontal layers" all the way up to the sky. It's conceivable that some of those murdered there could've moved into adjacent buildings.

If one were not retrofitting such a feature, one could possibly cut the losses inherent in such a system by designing in cheap sacrificial floors to serve entirely as whatever an ideal Skywalk - cum - "upper street level" might turn out to be. Fire containment and survival would figure hugely in that.

I suppose one has to cross one's fingers and spit thrice to leeward when using the word "cheap" in the context of a tower block --- or extended family of these.
-- skoomphemph, Apr 03 2014

There are a few problems. 1. Not just fires, but air access. Prevailing winds will enter buildings and try to move through the 5th floor network. This can drive fire, and act as a horizontal chimney. That's if the network is flat. Which it won't be, because the ground is rarely flat and building stories are rarely uniform. 2. Insurance companies will hate this, linking buildings will link risks, security, fire, earthquake, whatever. They will no longer be able to perform risk calculations on one isolated building. Insurance is why we don't have flying cars, they're not hard to build.
-- bs0u0155, Apr 03 2014

The air ingress problem could be designed away till it's less of an issue in the upper tiers of the city than on any other floor, so that's sorted. Example: split the 35th floor, eastbound, from 35th floor, westbound, with a wall. Reduce the number of windows in-building ...

Non-contour floors? I suppose some kind of undulation pattern could roughly even that out?

And woe unto the insurance company, for lo, the city council hath spoken, and they say "Do this deed". They'll just have to go and hire more mathematicians to figure out the solution (either that or keep changing the angle they're viewing things from till they've seen which corner it is they've painted themselves into.)

And eyish ... as we say. I really wish it was the insurance companies that killed the flying car... (I'm not saying they didn't make a big contribution; I know nothing about that aspect of the thing)...

If the insurance companies did it, then we would not be to blame, you see. But my guess is what kills things like flying cars is what kills things like electric cars: viz. they're unfamiliar. A car has become a bundle of expectations which must not be meddled with. For starters, it must go "RRR".

What will kill augmented reality? People who don't want to look dorky. Put another way, people who want to look like their grandfathers "because that's the way it is". The kinds of timidity that snuff out other innovations are similar in quality.

Or at least that's what I think.
-- skoomphemph, Apr 03 2014

random, halfbakery