Tag Archives: skyscrapers

Looking back on 9/11

911-memorialImagine trying to exit a burning building.

Based upon conversations with the WTC survivors, researchers from the Universities of Greenwich, Ulster and Liverpool concluded that more than half of them delayed evacuating because they wanted to gather information about what was happening; those intent on getting more info about the attacks before exiting took between 1.5 and 2.6 times longer to begin evacuating than others; and congestion in stairways was the main cause of delay in getting out, even though the towers were less than one-third occupied that day.

Also: Al-Qaeda HQ has harsh words for AQ in Iraq:

Taken in context, Zawahiri’s latest memos seem to indicate that al-Qaeda’s oft-cited “central front” is a persistent if increasingly difficult management challenge for the movement’s front office.

And some angry leftist observes:

Aside from everything else, 9/11 was the day our mainstream news people promised they’d stop focusing on the trivial.

Oh well.

[Bayonne, NJ 9/11 memorial, Sister72]

Urban redevelopment: building demolition, Tokyo style

OK, so it’s not quite so dramatic as the old-fashioned controlled explosion method, but it’s infinitely more elegant and high-tech: check out this amazing time-lapse video of the Kajima Corporation’s new method of demolishing obsolete buildings in crowded Tokyo:

According to Pink Tentacle:

Unlike conventional demolition that begins at the top of the building, Kajima

Two miles high, one mile wide, and housing a million people

Cover of The World Inside In Robert Silverberg’s 1971 novel The World Inside (a book I remember fondly for having contributed a great deal to my early sex education), the bulk of the 75 billion people on a future Earth live inside Urban Monads, or Urbmons, each of which is three kilometres tall and houses 800,000 people. (Via io9.)

Architect Eugene Tsui has a proposal on his website for something similar: the two-mile high “Ultima” Tower, intended to be home to a million people:

There are 120 levels to the structure with great heights at each level. The scale of this stucture is such that the entire central district of Beijing could fit into its base. One must not think in terms of floors but, instead, imagine entire landscaped neighborhood districts with “skies” that are 30 to 50 meters high. Lakes, streams, rivers, hills and ravines comprise the soil landscape on which residential, office, commercial, retail and entertainment buildings can be built…the structure itself acts like a living organism with its wind and atmospheric energy conversion systems, photovoltaic exterior sheathing, and opening/closing cowl-vent windows that allow natural air into the interior without mechanical intervention….ecological efficiency is a rule and all areas of the structure feature resource conserving technolgy such as recycled building materials, compost toilets, nature-based water cleansing systems for all buildings, plentiful amounts of forrest, plant life and water-based ecosystems.

Even the setting would be beautiful:

The tower is surrounded on all sides by a lake. Sandy beaches, stone cliffs, water inlets, grass, trees and rocky islands create a beautiful and majestic setting…

Could such a thing ever be built? Well, Tsui’s concept dates back to 1991, and nobody’s breaking ground for it yet, or for similar projects like Tokyo’s SkyCity. (The projected $150 billion price tag might have something to do with that.) But the problems of urban sprawl and overpopulation aren’t going away, and structures like this could be part of the solution.

And to me, at least, it actually sounds like a pretty cool place to live…unlike Silverberg’s rather nightmarish (plentiful–mandatory, in fact–sex notwithstanding) Urbmons.

(Image: Amazon.)

[tags]cities, urban sprawl, overpopulation, architecture, skyscrapers[/tags]