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Arcologies

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Three arcology designs:

  • Ziggurat: a carbon-neutral pyramid-shaped building in Dubai that would have a 2.3 sq. km footprint (at least, I assume that number is the area covered by the base) and would house 1.1 million people.
  • X-Seed 4000: a sort of funnel-shaped building in Tokyo that would have a 6 sq. km footprint, would be 13,000 feet tall, and would house 500,000 to a million people.
  • Ultima Tower: about 150 sq. km, 10,560 feet tall, housing a million people. Designed in 1991.

My impression is that none of these are actually intended to be built. But they're pretty cool designs.

I got a bunch of this info via a website called Inhabitat: "future-forward design for the world you inhabit." An interesting mix of architecture, sustainability and eco stuff, and fashion/lifestyle stuff.

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All bow before the exalted self-reliance of the Ryugyong Hotel!


When I was a kid, I read in Ripley's that all human beings on the planet could fit into a giant cube that was half a mile in length, width and height.

I never did the math until today, but it seems plausible. (Plausible from a pure hypothetical mass standpoint; Ripley's didn't claim that it could be done from a logistical standpoint). We are not talking floors and elevators and kitchens; we are talking hypothetical people crammed in a hypothetical cube.

Such a cube would contain about 18.4 billion cubic feet, and at an average of 3 cubic feet per person (that is a SWAG), 6.1 billion people could fit. (This is short of the current population of about 6.7 billion, but remember, I read it in Ripley's about 30 years ago, when population was smaller.

Increase the size of the cube to 1 mile by 1 mile by 1 mile, and you have 147 billion cubic feet, or a luxurious 22 cubic feet for each of the 6.7 billion of us.

Last one: Increase it to a box that has a square base of five miles by five miles, that is one mile high, and you have 3.7 trillion cubic feet, which gives enough space for each of the 6.7 billion of us to have our own little cube of about 8 feet by 8 feet by 8 feet (literally bigger than the space you get at certain "coffin hotels" at certain airports). But this giant box would have no room for walls, floors, celings, or hallways...so much for privacy!


David: Wow, I don't think I had heard of the Ryugyong Hotel. Fascinating. (Though the news article about it that I found is remarkably poorly written.)

Jay: Interesting. TSOR indicates that the human body does indeed displace about 3 cubic feet of water, but I suspect that real humans take up more space than that. In particular, if you're just squeezing people in next to each other, you can't put one person's feet right next to another person's, because the other person's shoulders and/or hips are gonna be significantly wider than the width of that person's two feet next to each other.

So it seems to me that for packing purposes, you need to measure not displacement volume, but rather the product of a person's dimensions at the person's widest/tallest/deepest points. (Minus a little for clever packing--for example, one person upside-down in front of another might fit a little more snugly.)

So I think if you're trying to fill space with humans, you might need 6 to 10 cubic feet per person, on average.

But I'm making all this up; I could well be wrong. Next step: count the number of people on a crowded subway car, estimate the volume of the car (from top-of-head height down, that is), divide.


Just after Katrina hit New Orleans, I wrote a blog about how we should build an Archology just off the coast, and allow currently inhabited areas to succomb to natural forces. Part of the problem there is that humans have built out in what used to be a natural defense against hurricanes.

I think it could be built with some kind of shutters that could close itself off in event of winds over a certain level. If it were designed (tested in a wind tunnel) correctly, it could withstand winds of hundreds of miles an hour!

Access could either be by boat or even an underwater tunnel! The old sections of New Orleans could even be rebuilt (simulated) within this Archology.

I've long been an advocate of dismantling all our cities and allow everyone to move into Archologies. Within the structure, no cars or trucks would be necessary, and transportation between Archologies could be by underground high-speed train. Voila! Trillions of gallons of foreign oil no longer needed!

If the entire world did this, we could have a lot more farmland and natural habitat for wild animals.

(Sure, it would cost a bunch. Hey, we could always borrow the money from Halliburton or China.) d8^o


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