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The future is going to be an amazing place, if science fiction is to be believed; we will have space mining, super soldiers and TVs the size of buildings, and if some architects have their way, we will be watching all of this progress from the ocean or skyscrapers shaped like buckyballs covered in ferns.
Green Towers in the Park
Designed to go up in Seoul South Korea, these things are being developed as a communal park/living space/commercial space. It is being referred to as “sustainable” implying that the people who live here will have little need for the outside world and will only have to come out if they want to. Given the fact that South Korea is about the most video-game crazy nation on earth, it stands to reason that if the community here has an internet connection, they may begin to evolve into a separate species. The project is also being called “Seoul Commune 2006″, implying that they have 16 years to get it put together.
The buildings as you can see are being designed to use lattice-like geometric shapes to allow airflow as well as maximum strength while using a minimum of materials. And yes, they are green because they will be covered in plants. Let’s just hope for their sake that they don’t experience any swarms of Japanese beetles, otherwise they could be the world’s first community wiped out by a garden pest.
The original idea here is inspired; a giant mile long ship that contains everything people might need to survive, apartments, commercial space, docks, an airstrip. The idea was for Freedom ship to be an independent nation and reside out in international waters, circumnavigating the globe every 3 years. Communication with the outside world would be limited to boat trips and small aircraft flights. Unfortunately, Freedom Ship never really got going. The people who conceived it had a hard time raising the billions of dollars needed to build a 1 mile long boat, and the cost only continues to rise with each passing year thanks to inflation.
Then there is the fact that the company trying to put it together has been mired with controversy. As of March of this year, they still haven’t begun building anything, despite the fact that they have been accepting down payments from people who were interested in living on it. They also have released very little information about how they actually expect to accomplish their goals, leading many to believe the whole thing is just a big scam. Press like that makes it hard to raise a few billion, especially when these days people are reluctant to throw down a few grand on even a “sure thing”.
This is the brainchild of significantly more grounded and forward thinking people. Building has actually begun, and the concept is a lot less ridiculous than a floating nation. There are 10 main buildings, referred to as “tall ships” that are actually apartment buildings, and an eleventh called the “lighthouse” that is a hotel. The whole thing is located near the sea, with great views, and follows a nautical theme. The apartment buildings are named after major port cities (Dubai, Monte Carlo and Miami, for example) and are built facing the direction of the city they are named after.
It’s nice to see that someone in the world not only has a crazy idea, but that it is a smart idea and is actually going through with it. Of course, with my luck, someone will screw up, they’ll pull the plug and I will look like an idiot. (However, I beat them to that years ago)
Penang Global City Center
Here’s what they want to do with this thing, in no particular order:
• two five-star hotels
• performing arts centre
• retail complex
• two office towers
• residential properties
• convention centre
• observatory tower
• parking space
• monorail transportation
• public arena
That is ambitious to say the least. The entire thing is designed to cover 860 square kilometers (534 square miles), which has managed to piss off a large number of locals. Unfortunately, the folks in charge of the project were “undemocratic” in their decision making process, so the angry public blocked their efforts to get started. As for now, nothing has been started, but there is some back and forth going on, with the people who want to build it being a bit more forthcoming with their information about what is going on, and a media blackout against those who oppose it. In the end, let’s hope that if they do manage to build it, no one gets hurt and everyone benefits. (Sparkles and sunshine for everyone!)
The Venus Project
Okay, so this is less of a city and more of a societal restructuring. The Venus project is an attempt to get the world to start thinking green and sustainable. It is also built on the philosophy that we as a species would progress more efficiently if we weren’t so profit minded; if technology progressed independent of profit, we would see more and more profound leaps forward. There is definitely logic in this way of thinking; plenty of superior technologies have been stifled due to companies with more money squashing smaller but more capable competition. Unfortunately, those that have power like to keep it, so that does not bode well for this concept. It sure does sound a lot like Starfleet from Star Trek, where there is no money and everyone lives in a happy world, except we would be lacking Klingons and green alien women who want to sleep with captains and eat everyone in a red shirt. On the other hand, we had a similar concept take hold after the Bolshevik Revolution, and it didn’t work out so well.
Of course, the USSR didn’t have city boats so maybe all will be well this time around.
These are a pretty novel idea; rather than using up ground-space to build parks, build huge towers and build them on top of those. They were designed with places like Tokyo in mind, where they don’t have the land to rip down buildings for a park or a greenbelt. The towers would feature grass, fountains, benches… everything you could want in a park, except for that non-terror inducing “being at ground level” thing that usual parks have. To be honest, I don’t think I will be playing catch 10 stories off the ground, I would most likely lay spread eagle in the grass, praying a strong gust of wind doesn’t dash my body on the streets below. Also keep in mind that these were built with Tokyo in mind, a giant city in a country notorious for earthquakes.
On the other hand, the towers are also meant to provide shade and collect rainwater, so they aren’t all terror-games and terrified tourists. Time will tell if this or any of the other bear fruit, but the world will be a cooler place if they do.