Sunday, March 11, 2007

Horizontal Versus

Horizontal sprawl sucks. I do not think I am alone saying that. It extends commute times, therefore raising long-term pollution. It gives the illusion of freedom (the land, the space, the yard, the privacy) that is just a stricter constraint than city living.

Yes: living in a vertically oriented space is not for everybody, and it has some philosophical problems, but on a purely pragmatic level it works. I am not celebrating the Burj Dubai, Taipei 101, the Freedom Tower, or the Shanghai World Financial Centre, merely saying that I think building up is better for urban environments.

What is up? Two things:
1. A fixation with the sun that gives life, always exhibited through a phallic form.
2. There is a too tall right now.

7 Billion people do not need towers that vie for the world's tallest. I'm sorry SOM, but I don't think it is that impressive. On the other hand, these supertalls definitely work like racecars: the safety and evacuation technologies developed in them filter down to lower-scale construction, which is good. Though the human scale, the line of repose of human life, is horizontal, with so many of us, and so little livable land available, I think it is time to stop sprawling out and start expanding up. This is my opinion and I want to hear what you think. I can see some deep philosophical problems with towers, and I'm not sure how I feel about Megastructures, but I can't see a way around it.

Down? We run into water-table issues.
Oceanic? Too expensive and again we run into space availability issues.
Space? Come on Stephen Hawking, I think it's a little early to be talking about that just yet. Someday maybe.

To my core I believe technology is not able to fix all of technology's problems. Every fix creates new problems.

This is me being human. This is me confused.

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