There is obvious need for development of new cities in areas poorly suitable for living – shortage of water, occasional destructive storms, earthquakes, etc. Following is an outline of how this could be done.
Inexpensive land is an economic foundation of a new growing City. As development goes, prices of land grow and this serves as a foundation for new investment and as basis for lending to City developers. As long these prices grow, the City has room to grow.
The City has to be developed with the City Development Company, which buys land perpetually and quickly. As it develops some of it, it sells it together with developed City’s infrastructure and buildings and buys new land around growing City. When that process becomes not profitable enough, this would be a sign that the new City reached limits of its expansion on land and this is time to focus on other venues of expansion.
Large amount of land, where it is possible to erect large buildings, provides an opportunity to create a unique new City with tall buildings, standing at substantial distance from each other, and space between them filled with the park.
Eventually, the park should be owned by the City and buildings and land under them should be owned by private entities.
When a part of the City is complete, the City Development Corporation should start selling it to appropriate entities and recovered funds it should use for further expansion of the City. The City, when it is formed as an entity with taxing power, should gradually buys City’s Park with land under it.
Since the City is built from scratch it could easily avoid usual problems of city traffic. Its Streets do not need to be straight, they could fit into terrain. Streets should be very wide, with traffic in different directions divided with a broad Divider. Later, this Divider could be made narrower to accommodate more traffic.
Streets divide the space into Blocks, only unlike usual blocks of the city, these blocks should be long and broad, and buildings should be placed there with substantial distances between them. All that space between buildings should be filled with trees.
On the edge of the Block, around the Block, should be a relatively wide Block Road, where speed is restricted and parking is permitted. This is where bus stops should be.
A Block Road and parts of Streets adjacent to the Block should form one system. One could imagine the Block Road as a lane of the Street closest to the Block. There are two limitations:
- near the corner of the Block, it is forbidden neither to leave the Block Road nor enter it (this maneuver should be done far from the corner by merging the traffic)
- traffic on the Block Road is one way, which matches everywhere the traffic on adjacent lane of the Street.
To bind parks in Blocks into one City Park, there are tunnels for pedestrians and small vehicles between Blocks separated by a Street. It should be one such tunnel between adjacent corners of the block, it should be in the middle between these corners to stay away from busy Street crossings. These tunnels should have low incline to accommodate small vehicles and should not have stairs and should be tall and wide to accommodate cleaning machines used to clean the Streets.
In any city, potable water is a major concern. In a city built in area with shortage of water it is a crucial issue.
Water of precipitation should be collected, processed and securely stored. Salty water should be accessed, desalinated, processed and securely stored.
Usually, all this done in a centralized manner by the city, and when water is stored, it is stored unprocessed in some reservoirs.
This City cannot afford such approach. It has to deploy massively decentralized system to assure reliability of the potable water supply
Rain water or snow could be collected on the roof of a building, if a king of a “tab” placed there, preferably a tab taking up entire roof.
Desalination system using heat of the Sun for evaporation also needs entire roof for itself. Hence, either such system or a tab should be on the roof.
Desalination system using high pressure does not need the roof and even could be used in addition to one taking up the roof.
Thus, roofs of almost all buildings of the City should have some kind of a Water Plant. In addition, space in some buildings should be used for a Water Plant, which does not need to use the roof.
Water produced this way requires some enhancement (adding minerals, some disinfection) and, in some cases, some preliminary filtering. This processing should be done in place, in the same building, which produced it.
Water should be stored in the same building, which produced it. It should be stored in cylindrical water tanks, which, most likely, should be made with reinforced concrete, and placed in dedicated rooms on some floors of the building. These rooms do not need windows and should be somewhere on the middle of the building. This would require buildings to be longer and wider than usual buildings providing the same space for people. The City, where buildings are placed at large distance from each other, could afford that.
The City would provide universal quality control of the potable water and its redistribution: it would buy water from buildings, which produce it and would sell it to buildings, which consume it.
Water desalination plants leave brine, which is either disposed into the sea, or is channeled into evaporation ponds for salt production. Special pipes are needed to move brine from the desalination plants to ponds, because brine is corrosive.
Evaporation ponds should be outside of the City, as the City grows, they are moved further out, while area used for old ponds is used for buildings and the Park, this should be taken in consideration in long term City planning.
Trees of the park and small ponds in it, which are needed to sustain birds of the park and other its creatures, need to be watered. This could be done through a system of tanks buried in the park and pipes interconnecting them and connecting them to trees and ponds. Tanks are filled during the day and water is slowly released to trees and ponds overnight.
Ponds should be regularly drained and cleaned to prevent increase of number of harmful insects in the Park.
Since water is expensive, some water, used by people, should be recycled for watering the park and providing water for birds. For this purpose, a system of Clean Sewer should be created, where the water from building’s pools, tabs, showers and alike is directed. In the building this water is filtered, chemicals are added to neutralize soaps and it is enhanced and passed to the Park Watering System. All this should be done under supervision of the City.
The City pays for this water. When it needs more of it, it raises the price it pays and the building starts diverting to Clean Sewer some of the water it produces (before it goes through filtering and enhancement to become potable).
Underground, water moves through water permeable layers separated by water impermeable layers (like clay).
During ordinary construction, water impermeable layers are perforated and water from higher water permeable layers drains into lower layers. This could be a desirable effect on many construction sites, but it could be disastrous for trees of the Park.
Hence, in this City, buildings should be designed and erected in the way that it is not detrimental to the Park. Water impermeable payers should seal themselves around buildings’ foundations. Most likely, this means avoiding having basements in the buildings of the City.
Similar problem exists with laying various pipes, power and communication lines, etc. For those, special technical tunnels should be created, with protection of underground water system in mind. All new installations, additions and changes in the system of pipes and cables should go only through such tunnels. Access to these tunnels should be restricted, obviously.
Buildings on the perimeter of the Block are easy to access from the Block Road, where there is space for parking. Hence, most of them would be used as commercial buildings.
For buildings inside the Block special access system is needed. It should have access roads – narrow, with speed limit and decorative – it is in the Park. In addition, “walkways” should be created for pedestrians and small vehicles. They also should be narrow and decorative.
Vehicles’ maneuvering near a building (loading and offloading passengers and cargo, taking garbage, delivering building materials, etc.) is problematic and should be facilitated.
First, buildings should have “ports”-niches, where a truck could back-up and upload or offload something. For example, a garbage track could back-up into a specialized port and take garbage dropped from the second floor of the building into it.
Second, the First Floor of a building should be a special floor, a Lobby. In addition to doors for pedestrians it should have gates for cars and trucks on opposite sides of the buildings. A car should be able to enter the Lobby through one gate, offload passengers and exit through another gate on the opposite side of the building. Access roads should be arranged accordingly.
Parking of cars should not be allowed in the Park outside a building. It is recommended to have a special multilevel facility in each building for parking small vehicles (carrying not more than two people). These vehicles should be placed in special crates and these crates should be stored in vacant “niches” of the facility.
Well developed cities create environment of streets similar to one in an apartment or an office – organized, clean. In this City, environment outside the door of a building is nature, with dust, dirt, insects, mice, etc. The Lobby has to become a place, where these environments are separated.
First, a Washing Station is needed, where one entering the building could wash shoes, before walking into an elevator. The same Washing Station should be used to wash small vehicles, before they are stored in specialized building’s facility or ridden into an elevator (for example, a vehicle used by handicapped).
Second, Guardian Cats are needed. These are cats, specially selected for their ability to catch mice and alike, these cats should live in the Lobby and should have free access outside the building. They need to carry identification collars, and should have some degree of protection.
To provide redistribution of potable water or water for the Park, the City needs a special infrastructure – a system of interconnected Hubs.
A Hub is a small building, to which buildings near to it are connected via a technical tunnels. It should be one or more Hubs in a Block and every building of the Block should be connected to one Hub on the same Block.
Some Hubs are connected between themselves via Hub-connecting technical tunnels. For any pair of Hubs in the City should be a path through these Hub-connecting tunnels, which connects this pair of Hubs.
A Hub houses equipment, which allows water taken from one building to channel to another building or to another Hub. This equipment is controlled from a central place by the City. This is done for potable water and for Clean Sewer water.
This arrangement is sufficient to redistribute water any way the City wants.
This system of Hubs is used also to provide electricity, gas, communication, steam, Dirty Sewer, to transport brine from desalination plants to evaporation ponds, etc. All needed switches (electric, electronic, valves, etc.) should be housed in these Hubs. Communication equipment and computers to preprocess information are housed in these Hubs.
Initially, the Hub system is developed and owned by the City Development Corporation and City pays for its use, and eventually, it is sold to the City.
What goes on city streets is usually seen and heard by many people. Not so in the Park. Hence, technology is needed to provide similar environment.
External walls of all buildings should be equipped with Observation Stations collecting visual and sound information, measuring air temperature, detecting smoke, etc. This information is passed to the building’s Information Center and from there to the building’s staff, to building’s apartments or offices, and to the Hub, from where it could reach the City’s Information Center, other buildings, etc.
Quality of such information system is increased, if it is augmented with information filtering and integration. For example, since locations of all Observation Stations are known, that could be used to compute exact location of observed objects and events, and this would be work of information integration system.
With such information system, parents could see and hear, what their children are doing in the Park, City could quickly detect fire in the Park, etc.
Additional Observation Stations should be installed in public places in a building, but this information is not passed to the Hub, it is used by building’s staff.
Similar Observation System should be installed around Streets to monitor traffic and environment on the Streets. This information should be passed and integrated through the Hub system to City’s observation and control centers.
Weather conditions in different places call for corresponding adjustments to design.
When climate is too hot, southern side of the building heats up more than others; when it is too cold, northern side child more than others. This should be compensated with making windows smaller and walls thicker on corresponding side. Inside these walls should be installed elements of air conditioning system (for example, air channels) which allow adjustment of the walls temperature.
There are regions, with regular periods of rain (snow) and periods of drought. During rain (snow) periods water is stored (in ponds, cisterns, etc.) and this stored water is used during drought periods, it is often used this way even for agriculture.
In such regions, City buildings should have rain (snow) collecting water plants and buildings should be longer and wider than usual to provide ample space in their water tanks. In addition, artificial ponds in the Park should have roofs, to reduce water evaporation during dry periods.
Note that even in regions with periods with strong rain (snow), could be years with low precipitation. The City could hedge with placing desalination plants in buildings, belonging to City, which it activates in such dry years to add water as needed.
In this City, one has to cover unusually large distances to accomplish simple everyday tasks. This will bring proliferation of small self-propelled vehicles, which could be used to ride on the Streets, and in the Park. They will emerge in mass, and it is better to regulate and standardize them from the beginning of the City.
These vehicles should be designed for one person only. It is desirable for them to have a light cabin and accommodation for cargo, because they will be used for shopping, long trips, etc. They should have four soft broad wheels or two soft broad tracks to minimize damage to vegetation and soil of the Park.
They should be boarded from the front and the driver should slide back after that, thus the driver’s door should be in the front. Cargo and emergency door should be in the back. Controls should be under hands, no steering wheel, seat belts. It should be possible to quickly take apart the cabin from inside in case of emergency.
Instruments readings should be displayed on small flat screens, which could be repositioned.
Observation Station(s) could be added to the vehicle, with information from them passed to screens and speakers. They could be connected wirelessly to the City’s network of observation stations, especially for special vehicles deployed by police, firefighters, etc.
In a process of development of the City, new companies should be formed to facilitate it.
Some will acquire expertise in the system of Hubs. These companies will be able to use this expertise to produce needed equipment and to design and install similar systems in other places.
Others will acquire expertise in production and repair of small vehicles. This could become another developed industry.
Production and installation of Observations Stations, providing means of transmission, integration and presentation of observed information, all that should facilitate emergence of yet another developed industry.
This City cannot afford to forget where it is built. It has to enact strict rules of how it is built, maintained and governed, which allow mitigation of losses in case of quite possible disasters as fires, storms with floods, very strong winds, earthquakes, etc.
Each building has to have industrial strength fire suppression system, using water stored in it. In addition, it has to have ability to spray water from its external walls on the ground around them to suppress fire in the Park.
The Park is first of all an oxygen-making “machine”, the rest is secondary. Following should be forbidden in the Park:
- making fire
- setting camp
- sleeping overnight.
Sick or broken trees in the Park should be quickly removed and replaced with new (small) trees.
Metal “Shields” should be placed over all windows in all buildings in anticipation of strong winds. When windows are large, these shields should be modular and they should be assembled during their installation.
It should not be possible to open any window in the City; an integrated air-conditioning system should be used in every building.
Floors, which do not need windows, should not have them; particularly, the first floor (the Lobby) and the top floors (serving Water Plant on the roof, the building under them, etc.), should not have windows.
Water tanks in the buildings, where produced in the building water is stored, have to be placed in enclosing rooms (as it is described above) with possibility to channel water spill first into Clean Sewer system, and when it is full, into usual (Dirty) Sewer, and when that is full, directly into the Park.
Water Plants on the roofs of the buildings should have special system deployed, when a heavy storm is approaching:
- they have to have foldable roofs, which are usually folded, but unfolded before the storm
- they have to have movable walls, which are usually lowered down into the top floor of the building, but, before the storm, should be lifted up to the roof.
In areas, where hurricane strength winds are possible, buildings of the Block have to be arranged in a particular way that they could shield the Park. They have to form concentric “walls” with tall (two-three floors) arches. Arches have to have metal “gates”, which role is to turn movement of the wind through them from laminar (coordinated) into turbulent (disorganized) one. This arrangement should reduce speed of wind below roofs of building to level tolerable to the trees. It should be no windows in arches; hence width of the “wall” should be much smaller, than width of a standalone building. Placement of tunnels between Blocks should be coordinated with location of arches.
Strong rains could cause short-term flooding in the Park and erosion of its soil. This is unacceptable; hence capacity of Dirty Sewer, which removes runoff from Streets and Blocks, should be increased – its channels should be large, and it should not rely on gravity only – pumping stations should be in it, which speed-up movement of sewage and facilitate moving the sewage over some obstacles.
To service external walls of the buildings and various installations on them, as:
- windows (cleaning, assembling and placing shields over them and removing them later, replacing window glass, etc.),
- Observation Stations,
- water jets used to suppress fire in the Park,
buildings need External Access Elevators, the complete set of them.
These Elevators are moving on vertical rails, which are embedded into the walls of the building (between windows of the building), gripping these rails and hanging on the cables. Cable drums are housed in one of top (service) floors of the building.
Only the side facing the wall of such Elevator should be open, three other sides should be closed (they could have some windows, though).
These Elevators should be a permanent feature in the building. To house them, a few top floors of the building should be somewhat longer and wider than the rest of the building (as if there is a “hat” on the building). The part of this “hat”, which extends beyond the building below it - a “brim of the hat”, should have a niche, where Elevators are lifted and stored protected from weather. This place creates also safe environment to move between an Elevator and the building.
Since Elevators are not deep, the “brim” is not large and entire system could be made highly reliable and safe.
We had to impose unusual requirements on buildings of the City. Now, we will try to make the best of it.
We had to specify “industrial” internal space of the buildings without windows in it and with water tanks and Water Plants. We will call it the Core.
The space around the Core with all windows of the building in it, we allocate for apartments or offices. We will call it the Perimeter.
In between these two spaces, there is an excellent place for various corridors of the building. We will call it the Joint.
First, we harden the building against earthquakes. We will require water in tanks to be filled, drown and to be moved between tanks in the way that empty and half full tanks are concentrated closer to the top of the building. We will require also, that designers of the building use this three component structure of the building to provide better survivability of the building during earthquake. This should be possible to do, because these components of the building vibrate at different frequencies and that could be used to minimize amplitude of building oscillation during an earthquake.
In addition, we will require that all vertical shafts in the building, all staircases, all vertical components of the system of pipes and the system of cables in the building were limited to the middle part, to the Core.
Pipes and cables going horizontally through the Joint and the Perimeter should go in special channels in a floor or in the ceiling, before they are diverted to their final destination.
The special place in the Core, where vertical and horizontal pipes or cables meet, we will call Auxiliary space; this is where dedicated equipment serving an apartment or an office is placed. Thus, every apartment or office located in the Perimeter should have Auxiliary space in the Core across the corridor from the apartment (office). It is easily accessible by building’s staff. Also, it is the space, where one would want to park small vehicles used by handicapped and have some additional storage space.
Having Sea Shore in the City promises plenty of opportunities and challenges.
Easy access to sea water is great for desalination plants. Ability to dedicate Blocks of the City on the Sea Shore to hospitality industry and resort is even better. Beaches should be adjusted to serving many people then. When access to them is difficult, elevators should be installed and operated.
The City should be cautious with setting up a sea port, even a passenger only port, though, as a port would pollute the water.
The main problem of setting the City on sea shore would be sea water inundating the land during hurricanes. If it possible to set up the Dirty Sewer in the City, which can handle regular events of this sort, then inclusion of Sea Shore in the City looks like a great idea. If it is not, then it is possible that entire idea of the City in this place should be abandoned.
Disposal of garbage and Dirty Sewage is a difficult problem everywhere and it should be solved well in advance. The new City built in arid area should have some dry land at substantial distance from it. After some utilization of garbage and its disposal to fill depressions in the ground and utilization of sewage’s sludge, the remaining liquid component of Dirty Sewage could be used for irrigation of some area of that dry land. That area should be seeded with grasses and shrubs and designated as a wild life refuge with restricted access.
When all depressions in the land a filled and healthy layer soil is created in this area, another area, further from the city should be used for garbage and Dirty Sewage disposal, while this area should be irrigated with Clean Sewage.
As the City grows, it could use this reconstituted parcel of land for its expansion.
Cities, which we know, grew through long periods of corruption, bad governance, and testing of crazy social ideas on their citizens. Many attempts to create cities were unsuccessful. It is doubtful that this City has any good chance to survive traditional mismanagement, because it has to overcome serious natural obstacles. Hence, its management and self governance have to be designed and implemented very carefully.
Initially, it is managed and governed by City Development Corporation, which has strong material interest in City’s long term success. At some point, it introduces new management and governing structure and passes power to it. It has all initiative to do this as quickly and as carefully as it can, because to make profit it yet has to sell a lot of land and infrastructure to the City, and the City has to collect enough taxes to buy it, yet. Even when the City borrows money to pay the Corporation, the lenders have to reasonably sure, that they could be repaid.
The City Development Corporation starts building future management and governance structure from the very beginning of the entire project. Managing structure emerges first and the Governing structure (including the City court system), emerges later.
Management structure should be set as decentralized as possible, to limit so pervasive corruption in large bureaucratic systems. This could done by hiring different management companies to manage distinctive and relatively independent areas of the City activity.
First, City Management Department is created as a part of the City Development Corporation. It sets rules and regulations and arbitrates appeals of actions of management companies hired to act on its behalf.
Next, management companies are hired by City Management Department (they all could issue fines, which are collected by City Management Department):
- a group of security and fire protection firms; they detain for short periods of time;
- a water management firm, which manages redistribution of potable water and water for watering the Park, and it manages Park Watering System;
- a Dirty Sewer management firm;
- a traffic management firm, which sets traffic rules and signs, installs and controls traffic lights;
- a Park Management firm, which takes care of the Park;
- a Hub System management firm.
Arbitration of decisions of these firms, of fines issued by them and of temporary detention made by them is mostly done remotely according to procedures set by City Management Department.
Following activities should be managed by sections of City Management Department and should be performed by individuals employed by City Management Department due to danger of their jobs and need to provide for them and their families in certain cases:
- policing, including active investigation of crimes and detention;
- management of detention centers;
- fire fighting.
When City management system achieves some maturity, the City Governance system is introduced. This system should include City Court system.
In addition, it provides oversight of City Management Department, which at this point is still a part of the City Development Corporation.
Initially, the City Governance system is appointed by the City Development Corporation with advice and consent of citizens of the City. Gradually, these positions become elected for long term of holding the office. Simultaneously, rules and procedures are introduced, which govern removal of an elected official from his office before expiration of his term.
Hopefully, the City would have enough time to hone this governing system to fit its unique circumstances.
Eventually, City Management Department of the City Development Corporation becomes independent from this Corporation and responsible to the City Governance system, and City Governance system appoints its top management according to procedures it sets for itself.
At that point, the City Development Corporation relinquishes all responsibility for managing the City and all its relationships with the City become governed by a system of contracts.
Most likely, the City would want to have two types of specialized buildings. One for parking of vehicles, and another to grow produce.
Both types of buildings should adhere to above outlined structure with the Core containing Water Plant and water tanks. This would provide additional source of income to their owners and additional water to the City.
A building for parking should have no windows – modern lighting systems are inexpensive.
A building for growing produce needs special windows – large, with frame accepting relatively small, easily replaceable pieces of glass. The glass has to be quartz, transparent to UV light. The building would need some system of natural (gravity) ventilation in addition to air conditioning system.
An industrial building could be long and narrow to accommodate a given industrial process. Exhaust of its air conditioning system should be filtered.
Blocks of the City should have shape similar to a square, this way space in the middle of a block acquires special properties – it is quiet, not too many people walk there, etc. That space should be attractive to people with small kids, whom they could let play in the Park, to retired people, who could live there in full service hotels, to people not pressed by schedules, etc. Apartments in this area could be large and expensive. Special buildings could be constructed housing hotels, resorts, etc.
Space without windows, between a corridor and a room with windows, requires special attention. Buildings of the City should be toll, because they have to be placed at relatively large distance between themselves to allow sufficient space for the Park. This leads to the need to better utilization of living space of each building – space outside the Core. Hence one has to make rooms without windows more attractive. This is possible because of integrated air conditioning system, but some substitute for windows is needed. Fortunately, it is easy to arrange in this City with the Observation Stations and the system to integrate information from them.
A building should have an Information Center, where information from Observation Stations through the system of Hubs and their Information Integration Systems is delivered. Information from the Building Information Center should be passed to Auxiliary Spaces of all apartments and from there to apartments themselves. From that point, large flat screens and speakers on the walls of a room could serve as a substitute for windows. They are even better than windows, because it is possible to change a view on them or switch to some TV channel, movie, etc.
In this City, beauty of the Park is not sufficient alone. In the same time, many usual methods of beatification of the buildings are unavailable to buildings architects, because of the Core and External Access Elevators. Nevertheless, buildings themselves need to be strongly differentiated and beatified, at least to improve orientation in the Park.
Colors and flat textures and images should be used on the buildings. Some could be permanent, as backed into ceramics, other temporary, for example, on a thin film temporarily attached to a building.
Such City enhances living; in essence it is a Life Enhancing Machine:
· the Park produces oxygen, reduces level of carbon dioxide, increases air humidity and decreases strength of winds;
· water stored in buildings provides stable supply of drinking water and reduces range of temperature oscillation;
· ponds of the park provide drinking water for birds;
· desalination ponds increase humidity of the air;
· garbage and sewer disposal system reverses erosion of the land and stimulates regeneration of the soil;
· in dry area, City’s location could be selected in the way, that land around the City sufficiently saturates with water sipping from the Park and it become suitable for agriculture.
Alexander Liss, 3/24/2019, 5/22/2019