Super city: Pushing the technology boundaries

In the last article I discussed the concept of Technology Development Zones. This concept can be taken all the way with what we can call a super city. I started with this idea after thinking, what could I do with $1bn. After finishing with dreams of a house on the moon or a medieval castle in the mountains, I started jotting down some points.

Why can’t we start building an entirely new, entirely futuristic city? When you start from scratch, you can benefit from having no boundaries.

Australia so happens to be the perfect place for such an idea. A good economy. A housing shortage.

The Detail

I’ll try to keep it short

  • The city is a sky scraper – providing spectacular views for all residents. ie. 500m high, 500m wide, 40m deep, accommodating a little less than 50,000 people.
    • This reduces the human footprint, with all services contained within a single building. The only reason for people to leave the building is for recreation and farming.
  • It’s located at least 300km from Melbourne – reducing city sprawl
  • But it’ll only take you 30mins to travel 300km in any direction – see Transport below
  • Implements a “Base Luxury Standard”. A body corporate scheme, to operate on economies of scale.
    • Logistics – Cater for all logistics problems in one solution – Let’s call it a Transporter
      • A 3D “elevator” system
      • Elevator capsules which can carry up to 10 people and a few tonne
      • Can travel up/down, left/right, and back/forth
      • EG. Move from the first floor at the front of the building in the middle laterally, to the top floor at the back of the building on the left without “changing elevators”
      • Transporter capsules travel laterally along what would normally be the hallway for walking to your apartment
        • When travelling laterally to an apartment, the transporter doors and apartment doors open together
        • In an emergency, the apartment doors can be manually opened and occupants can walk down the lateral transporter shaft
          • Manual overrides are detected by the system and transporters for the entire floor are speed reduced and obstacle detection is activated to avoid collision with people.
      • Keep in mind that in an emergency, transporters should still be operational laterally, as there is no danger of dropping.
      • Transporters are not just used to transport people but also:
        • Food – Washable containers, transport prepared food, cutlery etc.. from kitchens, used containers are returned to be washed.
        • Heating / Cooling – Heat bricks or molten salts and LN2 packs for refrigeration, air conditioning and heating
          • No pipes = less cost, no maintenance
        • Water – A set of dedicated water transporters are used to fill small reservoir in each apartment
          • No pipes = less cost, no maintenance
          • Bathroom and commercial facilities do have pipes
        • General Deliveries – Furniture, clothing, presents, mail, dirty/washed clothes etc…
        • [Not Data] – That’s fixed line or radio wireless, can’t just transport hard disks, latency is much too slow 🙂
    • Food (Diet) – Set base cost for food every week which is pooled and food providers are then paid for. To start off with, fully automated systems are desirable to peel, slice, etc.., it’s possible to have a fully automated catering system which deals with 80% of meals. The final 20% is catered for by Chefs who still use machines for preprocessing – and are an additional cost. Eg. $5 / person per day for any basic meal and additional for specialist meals.
    • Climate – Instead of having thousands of small air conditioner compressor inverters in every apartment, have 3 very large and very efficient heat pumps and then efficiently transport the head/cold. Each apartment then has their own fan and climate control system where Liquid Nitrogen and Heat bricks are utilized, a simple refrigerator and freezer also run off the Liquid Nitrogen, removing two more compressors.
    • Data – Fibre runs to each apartment, and then inside is patched to different equipment. A fibre runs to the TV and Ethernet over Power is provisioned and isolated for the apartment so that every appliance and electrical device is controllable. Wireless systems are a feasible alternative.
    • Hygiene – Several banks of showers and toilets on each floor, the transporter takes you to the next available toilet or shower as required. So instead of having a toilet and shower taking up space in each apartment that only gets used 100th of the time in a day, you can be more efficient with a central bank of them. The showers and toilets are self cleaning, with minor cleaning cycles after every use and major clean cycles as required (eg. every half day).
    • Transport – Within the building, the transporter can take you anywhere, but what makes a remote city work well is fast transport to already established city centres. Mono rail is quite expensive and still relatively slow and inefficient when compared to air travel over long distances (about 800Km). There is plenty of scope for new transport ideas:
      • Air evacuated tunnel rail (Super sonic speeds without the risk and fuel of staying aloft)
      • Personal air craft (looking more like aeroplanes and possibly launched by ground based launcher, not those ridiculous artist impressions of cars with 4 loud, fuel guzzling turbine engines)
      • Automated Electronic Vehicle transport
      • Community car pool (basically like small automated buses which only travel along a particular route or highway)
    • Menial Tasks – Clothes/Dish washing is fully centralized and automated. Less tedious work for residents means more time to live – a higher quality of life.
    • Shelter – No one truly owns their space, they can either hold (pay around $50,000 for their entire life) or rent (interest of $50,000 over lifetime)

Conclusion

With a Super city, developed countries have an opportunity to push past the so-called “Modern” boundaries of today and exceed peoples expectations with a completely reinvented society and lifestyle. Super cities are not just technology test beds, they also offer citizens cheaper living for a greater quality of life, less stress – freedom from menial tasks, very short waits for transport and short travelling time.

But even developing countries could stand to benefit. The cost effectiveness of super cities and the efficient systems can help pull poor countries out of poverty. And various novelties could be redeployed into existing cities.

One thought on “Super city: Pushing the technology boundaries”

  1. Looks like this Chinese company is on the right track:
    http://singularityhub.com/2013/06/04/chinese-firm-gains-approval-hype-to-raise-worlds-tallest-building-in-only-90-days/

    Building it in a relatively small city, essentially building a whole city in a skyscraper. And their tag line best sums up what a super city is about
    “Higher quality of life in close proximity to nature”.

    Rather than being surrounded by city, traffic, pollution, you are embedded in picturesque scenery.

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