The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: January 17, 2008
Cities of the future, part 2: If we build them, will we stay?
(Nanowerk News) An article in TechNewsWorld questions whether the super-cities and hyperstructures under consideration today really new and improved ways for man to exist?
In discussing whether we have the means to build these monster-scale cities now the author discusses the need for nanotechnology applications:
"Current construction technologies already allow for such growing populations. It's not a matter of new technology," Matteo Di Michele, spokesperson for the Arcosanti Project of the Cosanti Foundation, told TechNewsWorld.
The proposed Shimizu TRY 2004 Mega-City Pyramid would seem to prove the point. The structure would be 12 times higher than the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt, and would house 750,000 people. If built, it will be the largest man-made structure on Earth and sit on Tokyo Bay. The structure would be 6,575 feet high. The pyramid structure would be composed of 55 smaller pyramids stacked five high. Each of these smaller pyramids would be roughly the size of the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas.
First, the pyramid's foundation would be formed by 36 piers made of special concrete. OK, so we have that.
The trusses would be coated with photovoltaic film to convert sunlight into electricity and help power the city. We have that technology as well.
Air bladders would be used to elevate trusses above the first layer using a construction system proposed by Italian architect Dante Bini. Spheroid nodes at the connections between trusses would provide structural support and serve as transfer points for travelers. We also have Bini and his magic as well as numerous other intellectuals with their various inventions and perfections of existing materials and gadgets to build this part.
Transportation within the city would be provided by accelerating walkways, inclined elevators, and a personal rapid transit system where individual driverless pods would travel within the trusses. Yes, we have these too -- the entire gamut from GPS Latest News about global positioning system (global position system) to lane-departure warning systems, motion and proximity detection, self-guiding parking controls, automated driving tools, etc.
Housing and office space would be provided by 30-story-high skyscrapers suspended from above and below, and attached to the pyramid's supporting structure with nanotube cables.
Now there's a bug that will take some work: nanotechnology.
The external structure of the Mega-City Pyramid would be an open network of mega-trusses supporting struts made from carbon nanotubes to allow the pyramid to stand against high winds, earthquakes and tsunamis.
In fact, the entire design relies on the future availability of super-strong lightweight materials based on carbon nanotubes. While we do have that technology, we have yet to perfect the means to manufacture carbon nanotube materials on a mass scale. That may prove a bit troublesome for the moment.