megastructure

33 results back to index


pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, peer-to-peer, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, undersea cable, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

But for The Stack at least, what is computation, and how does the computational infrastructure at the Earth layer support the accidental megastructure? “Computation” is not only what The Stack is made from; it is also how the megastructure composes, measures, and governs itself. At the Earth layer, algorithms and electrons interweave at landscape scale, driving continental economies; in turn, those landscapes are disciplined by other algorithms hoping to rationalize the enormous energy appetite of the whole. We will examine this recursion from the ground up. The first sections of this chapter consider the materiality of computation in itself, before any artificial computing machines came onto the scene, and will ask if computation was “discovered” more than it was invented. The Earth layer is also made from the Earth itself, as the terraforming imperative of the Stack megastructure disembowels geological resources toward global conversions.

Such is the model infrastructural information warfare of microorganisms, insects, mobile software, and megacities.13 At landscape scales, The Stack supports the consolidation of bandwidth infrastructure into continental nodes as well as the design of massively integrated architectural forms and programs, encapsulated into architectural megastructures visible from a now primary satellite perspective: buildings at Stack scale. These megastructures may be there to organize human habitation or object flow (e.g., corporate campuses, airports, warehouses), but in many cases, the design problems are increasingly similar to one another. The end result is not so much a neutralization of placefulness but rather a monumental (or antimonumental) hyperinscription, a total architecture withdrawn from the public city and bound by its own structural borders, gates, walls, and skins, gardens, introverted from its immediate environment so as better to connect to external planetary economies on its own terms. Enclaves inside of enclaves digest one another all the way down. For these megastructures, spatial integration is defined in the paired tongues of experience and logistics, and realized by folding their urban functions under a single roof and programming them (attempting to at least) as a single architectural system, as a self-binding and homogeneous geodetic datum.

The Stack, as a whole, structures the City layer through the consolidation of urban nodes into megacities and also through the consolidation of both public and private urban systems in megastructures. We'll find that instead of heterogeneous and open interfacial platforms, for their own footprints Cloud platforms prioritize instead urban-scale walled gardens. The megastructure provides a bounded total space in which architectural and software program can be composed by complete managerial visualization; for it, the border, the gate, and the wall bend into closed loops containing vast interiors, sometimes in pursuit of utopian idealization and isolation. The megastructure is an enclave within the city that also holds a miniaturized city within itself, and so the specific and different terms of that miniaturization are the vocabularies of differing utopian agendas, whether explicit or suppressed.


pages: 519 words: 136,708

Vertical: The City From Satellites to Bunkers by Stephen Graham

1960s counterculture, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, Chelsea Manning, Commodity Super-Cycle, creative destruction, deindustrialization, digital map, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, energy security, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, Google Earth, Gunnar Myrdal, high net worth, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, late capitalism, low earth orbit, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, megastructure, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, Project Plowshare, rent control, Richard Florida, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Skype, South China Sea, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trickle-down economics, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche

Skywalk/Skytrain/Skydeck: Multilevel Cities 1See Antonio Sant’Elia, Luciano Caramel and Alberto Longatti, Antonio Sant’Elia: The Complete Works, Rome: Rizzoli International Publications, 1988. 2Antonio Sant’Elia, Architettura Futurista, Milan: Galleria Fonte d’Abisso, 1984 [1914]. 3Ibid, p. 280. 4See Jean-Louis Cohen and Hubert Damisch, Scenes of the World to Come: European Architecture and the American Challenge, 1893–1960, Paris: Flammarion, 1995. 5See Peter Cook and Michael Webb, Archigram, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 6Japanese architect Maki Fumihiko defined a ‘megastructure’ in 1964 as a ‘large frame in which all the functions of a city are housed’. Megastructures had, he argued, ‘been made possible by present day technology’, Maki Fumihiko, Investigations in Collective Form, St Louis: Washington University Press, 1964, p. 1. 7Hideo Obitsu and Nagase Ichirou, ‘Japan’s Urban Environment: The Potential of Technology in Future City Concepts’, in Gideon Golany, Keisuke Hanaki and Osamu Koide, eds, Japanese Urban Environment, Oxford: Elsevier Science, 1988, pp. 324–36; and Zhong-Jie Lin, ‘From Megastructure to Megalopolis: Formation and Transformation of Mega-Projects in Tokyo Bay’, Journal of Urban Design 12:1, 2007, pp. 73–92. 8Cook and Webb, Archigram. See Reyner Banham’s definitive Megastructure: Urban Futures of the Recent Past, London: Harper Collins, 1976. 9Ibid., p. 10. 10Aileen Tatton-Brown, and William Tatton-Brown, ‘Three-Dimensional Town Planning’, Architectural Review 40, September 1941, p. 83. 11Newcastle City Council, ‘Central Area Redevelopment Plan’, Newcastle, 1963, p. 12. 12The quote comes from John Gold, ‘The Making of a Megastructure: Architectural Modernism, Town Planning and Cumbernauld’s Central Area, 1955–75’, Planning Perspectives 21:2, 2006, p. 113. 13Institution of Municipal Engineers, Town Centre Redevelopment, Proceedings of the Institution’s Convention, London: Institution of Municipal Engineers, 1962. 14London County Council, The Administrative County of London: Development Plan First Review, London: London County Council, 1960, p. 169.

At the same time, car and commercial traffic was be unleashed from the disturbance of intervening human bodies within an unconstrained world of free-flowing mobility below. Crucial here was the shift from one all-purpose system of roads to a labyrinth of single-purpose ones, organised three-dimensionally within the huge new concrete megastructures of the city. (Critics suspected from the outset that the dominating motivation behind the idea of raised walkways in the UK was simply to remove people from the accelerating momentum of proliferating vehicles.) City centres would thus be progressively re-engineered into huge multifunctional and multilevel containers12: three-dimensional megastructures designed using the latest modernist and functionalist concepts to ‘heap up’ housing, commerce, retailing and leisure while providing enough space for the mass-automobile society. Vertical stacking would, the argument went, allow land to be used much more intensively than through the more traditional horizontal separation of land uses in cities.

Urban and architectural historians, always less dominated by such flat discourses, planar metaphors and flat cartographic traditions than urban geographers, have already done much to start to explore the ways in which vertical urban life has been imagined, normalised, built or contested over the history of cities.20 Within these traditions what Dutch architect Ole Bauman has called the ‘metaphysics of verticalism’ extends from classical structures through the city-cosmos geometries inherent in medieval city planning to modernist mass social housing towers and the contemporary global proliferation of massive skyscrapers and urban megastructures.21 Unfortunately for the purposes of this book, however, rather than addressing the broader geographies, sociologies and politics of verticalising cities, such debates tend to focus rather on the aesthetics of vertical buildings as individual objects.22 ‘Flat’ traditions in geography and urbanism clearly need to be over-turned.23 As we shall see in the chapters that follow, in many cities the urban ‘ground’ itself, rather than being the product of natural geological processes, is increasing manufactured and raised up as humans shape the very geology of cities in ever more powerful ways.


pages: 578 words: 141,373

Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain by John Grindrod

Berlin Wall, garden city movement, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, megastructure, Neil Kinnock, New Urbanism, Right to Buy, side project, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, young professional

‘A Wild and Romantic Place’: Arndales and Urban Motorways (1959–65) 4. ‘A Natural Evolution of Living Conditions’: Newcastle Gets the System Building Bug (1959–69) 5. ‘A Contemporary Canaletto’: How Office Blocks Transformed our Skyline (1956–75) 6. ‘A Village With Your Children in Mind’: Span and the Hippy Dreams of New Ash Green (1957–72) 7. ‘A Veritable Jewel in the Navel of Scotland’: Cumbernauld’s Curious Megastructure (1955–72) Part 3: No Future 1. ‘A Pack of Cards’: Tower Block Highs and Lows (1968–74) 2. ‘A Terrible Confession of Defeat’: Protests and Preservation (1969–79) 3. ‘As Corrupt a City as You’ll Find’: Uncovering the Lies at the Heart of the Boom (1969–77) 4. ‘A Little Bit of Exclusivity’: Milton Keynes, the Last New Town (1967–79) 5. ‘A City within a City’: The Late Flowering of the Barbican and the National Theatre (1957–81) Epilogue ‘The Dream has Gone but the Baby is Real’ Index Acknowledgements Copyright ‘Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made’ INTRODUCTION It is difficult to understand the place you come from.

Even Buchanan was moved to speculate that ‘perhaps some kind of individual jet-propulsion unit will eventually be developed’ though, practical as ever, he was one of the first to think through the issues around jet packs: ‘The problems of weather, navigation, air space and traffic control appear so formidable that it may be questioned whether such a device would ever be practical for mass use.’63 The Smithsons, naturally, were less cautious, writing in 1970 that ‘we may find that a revolutionised railway system, or the use of helicopters for local high speed passenger services, will make our proposed 120 foot wide “ring roads” ridiculous.’64 So what would Britain look like by the impossibly distant year 2000? Sixties planners did their best to imagine. One of the most ambitious schemes was the superhuman speculative shopping megastructure named High Market. It had been sponsored by the glass manufacturers Pilkington Brothers, and drawn up by yet another husband and wife team, Gordon and Eleanor Michell (who had advised Colin Buchanan while he was writing Traffic in Towns). The Michells imagined an artificial ridge stretching between two hills in the countryside near Dudley in the Midlands, creating what was effectively a dam of shops.

‘The ideal town,’ wrote Jellicoe, ‘would seem to be one in which the traffic circulation were piped like drainage and water; out of sight and out of mind, to go as fast as it likes, to smell as it wants, and to make noises.’67 The designs and models he produced looked like a cross between postwar Plymouth’s town centre and Tron. What was the best thing about it? ‘It can be extended indefinitely,’ enthused Jellicoe.68 The countryside may not have become home to High Market-style megastructures, but American-style out-of-town malls and European-style hypermarkets did begin to appear. Sadly lacking space-age transport infrastructure, these malls would instead continue to rely heavily on the car. The early sixties planners would no doubt be shocked that their futuristic plans for city centres never came to pass, and by the ongoing ad hoc sprawl of car-dependent trading estates. A few years ago I visited New York and explored Rochester’s huge Midtown Plaza, the inspiration for the Elephant and Castle’s shopping centre.


Norman Foster: A Life in Architecture by Deyan Sudjic

Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Frank Gehry, interchangeable parts, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, low cost airline, Masdar, megacity, megastructure, Murano, Venice glass, Norman Mailer, Pearl River Delta, Peter Eisenman, sustainable-tourism, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, University of East Anglia, urban decay, urban renewal, white flight, young professional

Foster and Rogers collaborated on the next project set by Rudolph: the design for a group of research laboratories for the Yale campus. ‘This is an urban problem. It is also the problem of the architect, as planners and developers have failed to rebuild our cities. They are obsessed with numbers (people, money, acreage, units, cars, roads, etc) and forget life itself and the spirit of man,’ Rudolph wrote in his unusually discursive brief for the students. Their proposal took the form of a megastructure, stepping towards the existing campus buildings. A continuous series of buildings, running one into another, was organised around a spine of lower structures that housed car parks, and cafés, with the laboratories radiating off it. What is most striking about Yale in Rudolph’s time is that he produced students with wildly divergent outlooks on architecture. Some, like Foster, came away more convinced than ever about the essential rightness of modernism.

Their campuses were conceived as self-contained worlds that demonstrated new ways to live and work, reflected in an architecture that was more adventurous than would be possible on the outside. Lasdun designed a remarkably powerful, even ruthless scheme that created a continuous wall of concrete structures, like a set of linked stepped pyramids, perhaps the most ambitious attempt at that feverish, half-dystopian, biggest-of-the-big architectural idea of the 1960s – building a megastructure in Britain. Tradition had been abolished. The University of East Anglia wall, backed by an elevated walkway, contains student residences, as well as laboratories, teaching spaces, and classrooms. It has the massive presence of an aircraft carrier beached in a wheat field. As an expression of a single, ruthless architectural will, it would have attracted attention anywhere. On the edge of the medieval cathedral city of Norwich, the impact was overwhelming.

Foster was planning not only to break with the concrete uniform worn by the rest of the campus, but also to site the building in a such a way that it could be interpreted as turning its back on Lasdun and the architectural ethos of the university. To avoid that impression, he wanted Lasdun’s endorsement. Foster conceived of the Sainsbury Centre as a gleaming silver tube, turning away from the campus to look out over the green landscape, and a lake. Foster’s building seems barely to touch the ground; it is tethered to Lasdun’s concrete megastructure by the most tenuous of umbilical cords, a high-level glass walkway. It penetrates the tube at an oblique angle, and then descends into the gallery by way of a sculptural spiral staircase with no visible means of support. It was typical of Foster’s approach at the time. He abolished design problems – the joint between two materials, for example, or how to make a formal approach to a building – by avoiding them altogether.


pages: 238 words: 75,994

A Burglar's Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh

A. Roger Ekirch, big-box store, card file, dark matter, game design, index card, megacity, megastructure, Minecraft, off grid, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, smart cities, statistical model, the built environment, urban planning

There, you ring a buzzer on the door of the actual command center for the nation’s largest municipal helicopter fleet—and you’re in. It’s a bit like climbing up into an airport control tower, and in some ways, that’s exactly what you’ve done. The building’s landing deck is the size of an aircraft carrier: a vast meadow of painted concrete baking in the Southern California sun. This makes the Air Support Division’s HQ a kind of beached warship in the heart of the city. The inner sanctum of this megastructure is a dense sequence of small corridors and stairways, and even this at times resembles the guts of a military ship. Helicopter timetables and safety-procedure posters are tacked up on the walls, and an erasable whiteboard keeps track of who is flying what and when. I have never seen the facility crowded, although there are an awful lot of chairs, as if waiting for some future gathering. A TV plays nonstop, showing the news, weather, or whatever else the officers might want to watch before going up on their next patrol.

Sequences would build; it was like listening to someone recount an elaborate chess game, narrating moves and countermoves with one eye always on what would happen a few more steps down the line. He would describe things to me in precisely detailed sequences, hoping I would come to see these intricate geometries the way he could, every metal-on-metal contact and even the tiniest of grooved surfaces invisible within the lock itself. For Towne, each lock could clearly be blown up to the scale of a megastructure, a palace the size of a city block, its inner gates and cylinders like cavernous hallways and rooms his mind could then wander through. He seemed to hold a detailed, three-dimensional model of each lock in his head, and he could manipulate it back and forth, round and round, like a hologram rotating in space. A catalog of the Mossman locks was published in 1928, written by Alfred A. Hopkins.

Codella describes a monstrous residential complex known only as the Site Four and Five Houses: “Site Four and Five was a multistory poured concrete rabbit warren so sprawling and generic that even seasoned cops would get completely lost in its hallways or not be able to give the correct address for where they were when calling Central for backup.” If we recall LAPD tactical flight officer Cole Burdette’s interest in clarifying the city’s system of house numbers and addresses, Codella is just describing the indoor equivalent: making state-funded megastructures numerically legible to the police forces tasked with patrolling them. Even navigating their behemoth interiors required tactical innovation. Residential tower blocks require what are known as vertical patrols, for example, during which officers will walk the stairways up and down, often navigating only by flashlight, as dead bulbs can go for days or weeks at a time without being replaced. Codella describes how he and his fellow officers would pass acoustic signals to one another by tapping their nightsticks on the walls and railings of stairwells, echoing out to their colleagues somewhere else in the titanic shafts.


pages: 321 words: 89,109

The New Gold Rush: The Riches of Space Beckon! by Joseph N. Pelton

3D printing, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, Carrington event, Colonization of Mars, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, global pandemic, Google Earth, gravity well, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, life extension, low earth orbit, Lyft, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, megastructure, new economy, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post-industrial society, private space industry, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, Tim Cook: Apple, Tunguska event, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, wikimedia commons, X Prize

The amazing thing is that if the various space agencies around the world were to devote something like 5 % of their budgets to these three tasks they could make significant headway in all three of these key elements of a planetary defense program. For too long there has been minimal progress made against these dangers because of what is a stupendous case of cosmic myopia. The time of change is now. It is time for a clear-cut change in the top strategic goals for all the world’s space agencies. Save Earth first! Explore and research outer space second. 4. The Unrealized Potential of Mega-structures and Intellectual Infrastructure in Space. It is possible that some space scientists and experts will say, “But the Sun’s power and processes are much too vast for human tools to change its behavior.” The answer is that one does not have to change the Sun’s behavior. We only need to create a solar shield, most likely at the L-1 Lagrange Point some 1.5 million km away from Earth—at the “balance point” between the Sun’s and Earth’s gravitational forces.

</SimplePara> <SimplePara>The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.</SimplePara> Reference 1. Joseph N. Pelton, “Let’s Build a Megastructure in Space to Save Earth,” Room Space Journal, Summer, 2016. Appendix: Current Status of the U. S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, Public Law 114-90 , as of June 2016 In December 2015 the U. S. Congress passed Public Law 114-90 that was signed into law by President Obama. Part of the requirements of that act was that the President was required to recommend a process whereby the U.S. would fulfill the requirements of the Outer Space Treaty to provide oversight of activities carried out by U.S. entities in space.

S. regulatory actions Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG) Space navigation Space R&D programs Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act of 2015 common heritage of mankind global commons legal enforcement outer space change policing regulatory system Sentinel infrared telescope space colonies traffic control and management Space Resource Utilization Space Swiss Systems (S3) Space tourism Space transportation ICAO radiation danger radio frequencies, allocation of SARPS traffic management and control Space-based navigation Space-based war-fighting systems SpaceHab Spaceplane system aerospace organizations safe and non-polluting development Space Ship 2 Space Swiss Systems (S3) SpaceShipOne and space tourism SpaceShipOne SpaceShipTwo Star wars Stratobus Stratolaunch Subspace/protospace Super automation Super urbanization Syncom 2 T TASI SeeTime Assignment Speech Interpolation (TASI) TDRS SeeTracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) system Ten Point Program the global commons global population control humanity laws and regulation mega-structures and intellectual infrastructure planetary protection programs singularity space- and ground-based infrastructure sustainability urban sprawl Time and human technological progress Time Assignment Speech Interpolation (TASI) Tiny 40-kg Early Bird satellite Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) system Transformational Satellite System (TSat) Transitional satellite (TSAT) Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space Tripartite space governance unit TSat SeeTransformational Satellite System (TSat) TSAT SeeTransitional satellite (TSAT) U U.


pages: 211 words: 55,075

Soft City: Building Density for Everyday Life by David Sim

A Pattern Language, active transport: walking or cycling, autonomous vehicles, car-free, carbon footprint, Jane Jacobs, megastructure, New Urbanism, place-making, smart cities, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, transit-oriented development, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city

However, there are particular challenges in accommodating buildings with uses that require very large surfaces in a way that makes them good neighbors to the medium-sized and smaller structures surrounding them. Clearly, some larger activities can fill an entire block, or at least a significant part of one. The larger buildings should be integrated into the local streetscape without breaking up the smaller-scale rhythm and life of local streets. 01. Edinburgh, Scotland. In a polite gesture, the mega-structure of the Victorian Balmoral Hotel (left) lifts its skirts to present small shops (unrelated to the hotel business) to the back steps leading to Edinburgh’s main railway station, offering useful services to hurried passengers. The 1980s shopping mall (right) does not afford such courtesy. 02. Barcelona, Spain. A “mousehole” entrance to a chain supermarket allows the large floor plate of this function to be otherwise hidden while giving space to smaller local shops, offices, and residences. 03.

The hotel building takes up a complete block, with a large indoor courtyard containing the hotel’s bars and restaurants as well as a spectacular five-story fish tank, the world’s largest. The tank is part of a major aquarium mainly housed in the basement. The building has an active ground floor, which brings life to the surrounding streets, with independent restaurants, cafés, and shops. The hotel takes advantage of the enclosed block with a loop for servicing and access/evacuation. Section through hotel showing central atrium and aquarium tank. Landing a Big-Box Megastructure in a Fine-grained Neighborhood: IKEA, Altona, Hamburg, Germany In a time when online retail is increasing and large stores are pushed farther into suburban locations, the placement of a full-size IKEA store in a human-scale city neighborhood in Altona, Hamburg, Germany is a significant achievement. This size IKEA is usually found in a big, blue, industrial shed in the outer suburbs, next to the motorway.


pages: 693 words: 204,042

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

availability heuristic, back-to-the-land, Black-Scholes formula, Burning Man, central bank independence, creative destruction, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, decarbonisation, East Village, full employment, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, income inequality, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, liquidity trap, Mason jar, mass immigration, megastructure, microbiome, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, the built environment, too big to fail

This being the case, if you think you know how the world works, think again. You are deceived. You don’t know; you can’t see it, and the whole story has never been told to you. Sorry. Just the way it is. But if you then think furthermore that the bankers and financiers of this world know more than you do—wrong again. No one knows this system. It grew in the dark, it’s a stack, a hyperobject, an accidental megastructure. No single individual can know any one of these megastructures, much less the mega-megastructure that is the global system entire, the system of all systems. The bankers—when they’re young they’re traders. They grab a tiger by the tail and ride it wherever it goes, proclaiming that they are piloting a hydrofoil. Expert overconfidence. As they age out, a good percentage of them have made their pile, feel in their guts (literally) how burned out they are, and go away and do something else.

Over the scrubby pine barrens, then the green and empty New Jersey shore, which had been a drowned coastline even before the floods; then out over the blue Atlantic. Thus, as she reminded her audience, they had flown over one corridor in the great system of corridors that now shared the continent with its cities and farms, and the interstate highways and the railways and power lines. Overlapping worlds, a stack of overlays, an accidental megastructure, a postcarbon landscape, each of the many networks performing its function in the great dance, and the habitat corridors providing a life space for their horizontal brothers and sisters, as Amelia called them on her broadcasts. All creatures made good use of these corridors, which if not pure wilderness were at least wildernessy, and it was easy to wax enthusiastic about their success while flying over them at five hundred feet.

Olmstead had a pad under the screen, and he was tapping away at it with his usual pianistic touch. “Don’t let that map fool you,” Gen advised Olmstead. But they were on the hunt, so she sat in the corner and waited. Eventually they split off an inquiry and gave it to her to work on. She settled in and began to apply overlay maps to the snaps of the days when Rosen and Muttchopf had been kidnapped. Stacks within the great stack that was the city in four dimensions. An accidental megastructure, a maze they could reconstruct and then weave threads through. Outside the carrel the station emptied as people went home or out to dinner. They ate sandwiches brought in for them. More time passed, and the graveyard shift came in on a waft of cold air and bad coffee. On they worked. Gen paused at one point to regard her assistants. So many hours they had spent together like this. Her youngsters were so much younger than she was.


From Satori to Silicon Valley: San Francisco and the American Counterculture by Theodore Roszak

Buckminster Fuller, germ theory of disease, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet Archive, Marshall McLuhan, megastructure, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, Silicon Valley, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog

Fuller nophiliac was not alone in extrapolating the tech- vision of postindustrial were others, each of whom became, countercultural secret of building a at There favorite. McLuhan, who saw history. the electronic new some was There point, a Marshall media as the "global village" that was 30 somehow cozy, participative, and yet at the same time technologically sophisticated. There was Paolo Soleri, who believed that the solution to the ecologi- modern world was the building of megastructural "arcologies" - beehive cities in cal crisis of the which the urban billions could tally environments. artificial who barnstormed O'Neill, be compacted into to- There was Gerard the country whipping enthusiasm for one of the zaniest schemes of all: up the launching of self-contained space colonies for the millions. For a few years, O'Neill fascination of Stewart Catalog (later of these became a special Brand and the Whole Earth The Co-Evolution Quarterly).


Exoplanets by Donald Goldsmith

Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Carrington event, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, dark matter, Dava Sobel, en.wikipedia.org, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, megastructure, Pluto: dwarf planet, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking

Dustlike material orbiting the star—­typical of stars as they form, but absent from the vicinity of mature stars—­could swirl in complex ways, blocking dif­ fer­ent amounts of light at dif­fer­ent times.2 Rings of material in the far outer solar system might provide the answer, if ­those rings happened to lie between Kepler’s line of sight and the star.3 Perhaps the data have errors, ­either in the mea­sured light variations or in the spectral observations that establish Tabby’s Star as no youngster. Or perhaps—­and ­here the public mind grows most heavi­ly engaged—­a megastructure surrounds the star, a variation on a “Dyson sphere,” the enormous light-­and heat-­trapping shield around a star that the physicist Freeman Dyson suggested in 1960 could result from an advanced civilization’s attempt to capture all of its star’s energy. If the shield ­were only partial, perhaps composed of many parts in orbit around the star, its motions could at times block a large portion of the stellar output from our view.4 In scientific circles, all hypotheses remain subject to a basic approach: How can we attempt to check on their validity?

Kimberly Cartier and Jason Wright, “Have Aliens Built Huge Structures around Boyajian’s Star?,” Scientific American news posting, May 1, 2017, available at https://­www​.­scientificamerican​.­com​/­article​ /­have​-­aliens​-­built​-­huge​-­structures​-­around​-­boyajian​-­rsquo​-­s​-­star​ /­#; see also Jason Wright et al., “The G Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations with Large Energy Supplies: IV. The Signatures and ­Information Content of Transiting Megastructures,” Astrophysical Journal 816 (2016): 17. 5. Gerry Harp et al., “Radio SETI Observations of the Anomalous Star KIC 8462852,” Astrophysical Journal 825 (2016): 155. 6. Jason Wright and Steinn Sigurðsson, “Families of Plausible Solutions to the Puzzle of Boyajian’s Star,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 829 (2016): L3. 7. Wright et al., “The G Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations,” 17. 8. Xavier Dumusque et al., “The Kepler-10 Planetary System Revisited by HARPS-­N: A Hot Rocky World and a Solid Neptune-­Mass Planet,” Astrophysical Journal 789 (2014): 154. 9.


City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age by P. D. Smith

active transport: walking or cycling, Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business cycle, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, congestion charging, cosmological principle, crack epidemic, double entry bookkeeping, edge city, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, en.wikipedia.org, Enrique Peñalosa, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, garden city movement, global village, haute cuisine, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of gunpowder, Jane Jacobs, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, Kickstarter, Kowloon Walled City, Masdar, megacity, megastructure, multicultural london english, mutually assured destruction, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, peak oil, RFID, smart cities, starchitect, telepresence, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, Thomas Malthus, trade route, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, young professional

We live today in an age of rapidly expanding megacities, and it is therefore not difficult to imagine a future in which the world itself has become a continuous city, such as Trantor in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Empire series of novels, a phenomenon known as ‘Ecumenopolis’, a word first used in 1967. In a future world with ever more people and fewer resources, it no longer seems fanciful to imagine the creation of ‘megastructures’ (a word coined by Rayner Banham in the 1970s), in which a whole city is contained within a single building. The Situationist architect Constant Nieuwenhuys proposed a utopian megastructure called New Babylon as early as 1956. If, as scientists predict, the glaciers melt and sea levels rise dramatically, then ship-cities such as Armada in China Miéville’s The Scar, or cities built out across water, as in architect Kenzo Tange’s elegant ‘Plan for Tokyo’ (1960) which extended the Japanese capital out into the bay, might become reality.

In 1939, the science fiction magazine Amazing imagined ‘the city of tomorrow’, conjuring up fantastic visions of ‘gigantic buildings connected by wide, suspended roadways on which traffic will speed at unheard of rates’. Every building would be ‘a city in itself, completely self-sustaining, receiving its supplies from great merchandise ways far below the ground’. The magazine predicted that an urban utopia awaited us in which pollution would be eliminated and people would ‘live in the healthy atmosphere of the building tops’.32 A Walking City, a robotic megastructure designed by Ron Herron of Archigram in 1964. In the same year as this was published, Dorothy and her fellow travellers in The Wizard of Oz caught their first glimpse of the sky-high crystalline towers and domes of the Emerald City glittering on the horizon. ‘It’s beautiful isn’t it? Just like I knew it would be,’ says Dorothy. In this fairy-tale film, Dorothy expresses the heartfelt feelings of millions of people who had flocked to cities, such as New York, in the previous century: all of them hoped and prayed this was the city in which their dreams would be realised.


The Paths Between Worlds: This Alien Earth Book One by Paul Antony Jones

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, megastructure, period drama

“What do I need to do with it?” “When you reactivate me tomorrow, simply hold it in front of my eye-bar. I will automatically recognize it and assimilate the information.” I nodded at the robot. “Will do.” “Thank you, Meredith.” Silas dipped his shoulders in acknowledgment. I leaned back against the rocks. The clouds that had earlier obscured the monolith had moved on, so now most of the huge mega-structure was visible. It was hard to look at it without feeling uneasy; it was just so massive. But it was also beautiful. The reflected sunlight shone like a distant beacon. A sudden realization hit me like a slap across my face. I jumped to my feet. “Are you okay, Meredith?” Silas said. “I’m fine,” I replied, then, “Come on. We need to talk to Chou and Freuchen.” I jogged to where Chou stood on her rock, casually chatting with Freuchen.

“I can’t even begin to imagine how something like that would be built,” I said. “I would not even hazard a guess,” Chou admitted quietly, in a rare moment of technical ignorance. “It is just like a leisurely boat ride on a Sunday afternoon,” Freuchen said, only half joking. I playfully elbowed him in his ribs and laughed. “Sure is,” I said, “if you ignore the robot, the woman from the far-flung future, and the mega-structures built by some long forgotten unknown hand.” “Vell, ven you put it like that.” We all laughed. “It is a pleasant change,” Chou said, a smile playing across her lips. Freuchen stood up, placed a foot on the gunwale, and leaned against the roof of the pilothouse, his eyes fixed on the ever-nearing coastline. “Ve are like the Argonauts,” he said, his tone suddenly reverent. “Sailing toward Colchis, in search of our own Golden Fleece.”


pages: 398 words: 105,032

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve And/or Ruin Everything by Kelly Weinersmith, Zach Weinersmith

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, connected car, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Glasses, hydraulic fracturing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, market design, megastructure, microbiome, moral hazard, multiplanetary species, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, personalized medicine, placebo effect, Project Plowshare, QR code, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, Skype, stem cell, Tunguska event

And by having computers and robots do more of the labor (and even the thought) that goes into making structures, we narrow the space between the design phase and the construction phase. Thus, the vision of an architect becomes less constrained by the nature of factory production. If we ever get to a point where an architect can design a building and then just tell the machines to go build it, we’ll have cheaper, better, faster housing for regular homes, and we’ll have more incredible, beautiful, wondrous megastructures. So let’s get to it. Actually, wait. First can we just for a moment discuss how weird some of the architecture literature is? It’s like, for a second someone will talk about the technical details of how to build a certain steel facade, then suddenly they’re rhapsodizing about “exploring a new digitally influenced materiality.” In our research, we came across a lot of confusing examples of this weird artspeak, but far and away our favorite was from Dr.

Maybe we’ll get the right sort of robots via some of the developments discussed in this book, but even if you had an autonomous swarm of repair bots, you’d rather have them repairing panels in Arizona, home of the World’s Largest Petrified Tree.* One possible virtue of solar arrays was that they might (in the very distant future) be valuable for space transport. The idea is that you harvest energy from panels near the sun and then beam power to vehicles that are already in space. This might actually be the way things go in the long term, since the sun represents an enormous amount of free energy. But by the time we can launch megastructures with robot repairmen onboard, we’re guessing there’ll be better options. We looked at a lot of far-out technologies for this book, and no doubt some of them will not materialize, or at least not materialize in the form we find most exciting. But space solar seemed to us to be undesirable even under its most ideal conditions. Perhaps if our energy needs become far, far greater and we decide only to use renewables, we could one day literally run out of usable real estate.


Saving America's Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age by Lizabeth Cohen

activist lawyer, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, charter city, deindustrialization, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, garden city movement, ghettoisation, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Jane Jacobs, land reform, megastructure, new economy, New Urbanism, Peter Eisenman, postindustrial economy, race to the bottom, rent control, Robert Gordon, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Victor Gruen, Vilfredo Pareto, walkable city, War on Poverty, white flight, white picket fence, young professional

Delighted that prominent architects were working in urban renewal all over the country, Abrams concluded that redevelopment was teaching cities and developers “to add design to profit criteria.”121 Not everyone, however, praised the architectural legacy of urban renewal. Robert A. M. Stern, already embarked on his own path toward postmodernism, accused urban renewal’s architects of promoting “heroic” designs rigidly loyal to orthodox modernist principles rather than more flexibly responding to how people actually used a particular urban site. He singled out “piazza compulsion,” obsession with towers, and technologically innovative “mega-structures” as common mistakes.122 Even the Temple Street Parking Garage, designed by Stern’s Yale professor Paul Rudolph, came in for criticism, with its “arbitrary” and “unbending geometry of stacks of identically sized structural elements”—the aqueduct-inspired arches much beloved by Logue and Lee—and for an accommodation to the automobile that was “perhaps too expensive and too prominent.”123 Logue, Abrams, and many other patrons of the era’s urban architecture would not have agreed with Stern’s critique.

So Logue seized Rudolph’s entry into the project and named him coordinating architect for the whole State Service Center. Rudolph brilliantly figured out a way of integrating three fragmented, uninspiring designs into one cohesive, triangular, and sculptural complex enclosing a bowl-like central courtyard intended as a counterpoint to the convex dome on the Massachusetts State House several blocks away.60 He gave the megastructure the massiveness he felt its social importance required, prescribed ambitious design standards for all three units, planned a grand serpentine stairway entrance, and faced the entire surface with his distinctive corrugated concrete, originally developed for the Yale Art and Architecture Building. Much as social services were united in one all-encompassing HEW in Washington, D.C., so the Massachusetts State Service Center unified them in one monumental-scale building in Boston.

Charles Abrams, “Some Blessings of Urban Renewal,” in Urban Renewal: The Record and the Controversy, ed. James Q. Wilson (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1966), 561–62, originally published in Abrams, The City Is the Frontier (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), chapter 9. 122. Robert A. M. Stern, New Directions in American Architecture (New York: George Braziller, 1969), 8, 10, 80–108; for “piazza compulsion,” 91–94; for towers, 94–98; on technologically inspired mega-structures, 105–8. 123. Stern, New Directions in American Architecture, 15, 17; also see discussion of Rudolph, 12. 124. Logue to Eugene Rostow, December 5, 1961, EJL, Series 6, Box 150, Folder 445. 125. Quotes from Logue, interview, Schussheim, 20; Talbot, Mayor’s Game, 127, 131, also see 117–18, 126–34. In addition, see Grabino, interview, on Stevens’s experience as a real estate investor and inexperience as a real estate developer.


pages: 153 words: 45,871

Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson

AltaVista, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, edge city, informal economy, Joi Ito, means of production, megastructure, pattern recognition, proxy bid, telepresence, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

Business Times editor Patrick Daniel, Monetary Authority of Singapore official Shanmugaratnam Tharman, and two economists for regional brokerage Crosby Securities, Manu Bhaskaran and Raymond Foo Jong Chen, pleaded not guilty to violating Singapore’s Official Secrets Act. South China Morning Post, 4/29/93 Reddy Kilowatt’s Singapore looks like an infinitely more livable version of convention-zone Atlanta, with every third building supplied with a festive party hat by the designer of Loew’s Chinese Theater. Rococo pagodas perch atop slippery-flanked megastructures concealing enough cubic footage of atria to make up a couple of good-sized Lagrangian-5 colonies. Along Orchard Road, the Fifth Avenue of Southeast Asia, chockablock with multilevel shopping centers, a burgeoning middle class shops ceaselessly. Young, for the most part, and clad in computer-weathered cottons from the local Gap clone, they’re a handsome populace; they look good in their shorts and Reeboks and Matsuda shades.


pages: 331 words: 47,993

Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind by Susan Schneider

artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, Elon Musk, Extropian, hive mind, life extension, megastructure, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, silicon-based life, Stephen Hawking, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons

Indeed, barring blaringly obvious scenarios in which alien ships hover over Earth, as in films like Arrival and Independence Day, I wonder if we could even recognize the technological markers of a truly advanced superintelligence. Some scientists project that superintelligent AIs could be found near black holes, feeding off their energy.8 Alternately, perhaps superintelligences would create Dyson spheres, megastructures such as that pictured on the following page, which harness the energy of an entire star. But these are just speculations from the vantage point of our current technology; it’s simply the height of hubris to claim that we can foresee the computational structure or energy needs of a civilization that is millions or even billions of years ahead of our own. For what it’s worth, I suspect that we will not detect or be contacted by alien superintelligences until our own civilization becomes superintelligent.


pages: 568 words: 162,366

The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea by Steve Levine

Berlin Wall, California gold rush, computerized trading, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, fixed income, indoor plumbing, Khyber Pass, megastructure, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil rush, Potemkin village, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, trade route

It was an astounding triumph for the American oilman, but Effendiev wasn’t finished yet. Next he offered Remp access to geological and seismic documents containing the most vital secrets of Baku’s “elephants.” Until now, the materials had been kept carefully hidden from outside eyes. Remp could see why. They depicted world-class oil fields waiting to be drilled, clearly visible in painstakingly drawn maps and sketches and well logs that revealed what Remp recognized as “super megastructures” offshore. In August 1990, Remp returned to Scotland, where he drafted a five-page letter to the two big oil companies with U.K. headquarters, British Petroleum and Shell. In it, he noted his appointment as agent for Azerbaijan’s oil industry, summarized Effendiev’s data, and invited their inquiries. Then he sat back and waited for replies. A week or so later, British Petroleum’s early negotiator in Baku, Rondo Fehlberg, concluded his own visit there and flew back to London.

“a seat at the table”: Author interview with Steve Remp, September 6, 1996. Out came his personal: Khoshbakht Yusufzade took the photograph from his office safe, November 28, 1996. “was dead”: Author interview with Remp. “You never felt”: Author interview with Tim Hartnett, August 29, 1996. “We will liquidate”: Author interview with Tom Doss (September 15, 2004), who headed Amoco’s Baku negotiations starting in 1991. “super megastructures”: Author interview with Remp. “What do you suggest?”: Author interview with Fehlberg, April 1, 1996. “coming-out party”: Ibid. an American citizen, “one in ten”: Author interview with Ray Leonard, Amoco’s vice president for frontier exploration, February 7, 2005. “risk-taker,” “liked technical people”: Author interview with Doss. “didn’t mind making”: Author interview with Sammy San Miguel (December 12, 2003), who represented McDermott, a British-based oil service company that was Amoco’s partner in the competition.


White City, Black City: Architecture and War in Tel Aviv and Jaffa by Sharon Rotbard

British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, continuation of politics by other means, European colonialism, global village, housing crisis, illegal immigration, megastructure, New Urbanism, Pearl River Delta, Peter Eisenman, trade route, urban planning, urban renewal

Intrinsically then, Zandberg portrayed the local International Style architecture as neither part of a great historical movement nor a revolutionary aesthetic, but primarily as a useful model for everyday city life, as a vehicle to promote values such as usability, economy, modesty, cleanliness, logic and common sense. Tel Aviv had only just begun to digest Israel’s post-1967 war testosterone-pumped architecture and its huge megastructures, like the Atarim Piazza, the Dizengoff Center and the New Central Bus Station. With the corporate offensive of the 1990s already emerging, such ‘effeminate’ values were certainly needed. Zandberg helped set the moral ground for the transformation of the White City narrative from being an academic chapter in an architectural journal into an integral part of the city’s urban agenda. Her White Box expressed first and foremost the priority of a civilian and human scale and of traditional values of urbanity and domesticity.


pages: 278 words: 88,711

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman

American ideology, banking crisis, British Empire, business cycle, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, illegal immigration, immigration reform, invisible hand, low earth orbit, mass immigration, megastructure, Monroe Doctrine, pink-collar, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, working poor

But there will be another dimension to this eastern bloc: an economic one. Since reunification in 1871, Germany has been the economic powerhouse of Europe. Even after World War II, when Germany had lost its political will and confidence, it remained the most dynamic economic power on the continent. After 2020 that will no longer be the case. The German economy will be burdened by an aging population. The German proclivity for huge corporate megastructures will create long-term inefficiencies and will keep its economy enormous but sluggish. A host of problems, common to much of Central and Western Europe, will plague the Germans. But the Eastern Europeans will have fought a second cold war (allied with the leading technological power in the world, the United States). A cold war is the best of all wars, as it stimulates your country dramatically but doesn't destroy it.


pages: 313 words: 92,053

Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life by Colin Ellard

augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, megastructure, more computing power than Apollo, Oculus Rift, Peter Eisenman, RFID, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, sentiment analysis, smart cities, starchitect, the built environment, theory of mind, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen

For the well-off, the abundant availability of high-quality organic and non-GMO foods was a welcome addition to the neighborhood, but for the majority of people living in this part of New York, many of whom had roots going back for many generations to New York’s immigrant beginnings, the scale of the new store, selling wares that few of them could easily afford, was seen as a symbolic affront to the historical values and traditions of this part of the city. When I conducted research at the site in 2012, my interest in the building, though perhaps connected to the tumult over gentrification, was more pedestrian—and literally so. On my first visit to the location, undertaken to plan a series of psychogeographic studies in collaboration with New York’s Guggenheim Museum, I was mostly interested in how this gigantic megastructure, plopped into a neighborhood more commonly populated with tiny bars and restaurants, bodegas, pocket parks, playgrounds, and many different styles of housing might influence the psychological state of the urban pedestrian. What happens inside the mind of a city-dweller who turns out of a tiny, historic restaurant with a belly full of delicious knish, and then encounters a full city block filled with nothing but empty sidewalk beneath their feet, a long bank of frosted glass on one side, and a steady stream of honking taxicabs on the other?


pages: 343 words: 101,563

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, cognitive bias, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, endowment effect, energy transition, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, failed state, fiat currency, global pandemic, global supply chain, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Joan Didion, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, life extension, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, megastructure, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, postindustrial economy, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Whole Earth Catalog, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator

There is the “zoo hypothesis,” which suggests that aliens are just watching over us and letting us be for now, presumably until we reach their level of sophistication; and something like its inverse—that we haven’t heard from aliens because they’re the ones sleeping, in a civilization-scale system of extended-sleep pods like the ones we know from science fiction spaceships, waiting while the universe evolves a shape more suitable to their needs. As far back as 1960, the polymath physicist Freeman Dyson proposed that we may be unable to find alien life in our telescopes because advanced civilizations may have literally closed themselves off from the rest of space—encasing whole solar systems in megastructures designed to capture the energy of a central star, a system so efficient that from elsewhere in the universe it would not appear to glow. Climate change suggests another kind of sphere, manufactured not out of technological mastery but first through ignorance, then indolence, then indifference—a civilization enclosing itself in a gaseous suicide, a running car in a sealed garage. The astrophysicist Adam Frank calls this kind of thinking “the astrobiology of the Anthropocene” in his Light of the Stars, which considers climate change, the future of the planet, and our stewardship of it from the perspective of the universe—“thinking like a planet,” he calls it.


pages: 335 words: 111,405

B Is for Bauhaus, Y Is for YouTube: Designing the Modern World From a to Z by Deyan Sudjic

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, dematerialisation, deskilling, edge city, Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, illegal immigration, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Kitchen Debate, light touch regulation, market design, megastructure, moral panic, New Urbanism, place-making, QWERTY keyboard, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, University of East Anglia, urban renewal, urban sprawl, young professional

Hatherley’s history reads something like Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, with the action of Hamlet seen through the eyes of two minor characters. His account of the past thirty years of British architecture reduces Norman Foster, James Stirling, Alison and Peter Smithson and Denys Lasdun to walk-on parts; the greater part of the action is focused on such figures as Owen Luder, Rodney Gordon and Robert Lister, responsible for provincial shopping-centre megastructures, bush-hammered concrete car parks and trade union offices. Blueprint’s tabloid format, powerfully designed by Simon Esterson, was borrowed from Skyline, a short-lived New York magazine art directed by Massimo Vignelli that set a worrying precedent by going under just before our first issue came out. The range of subject matter, from fashion to car design by way of architecture, came from Domus, the Milanese magazine established by Giò Ponti.


pages: 341 words: 116,854

The Devil's Playground: A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square by James Traub

Anton Chekhov, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Lindbergh, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, fear of failure, intangible asset, Jane Jacobs, jitney, light touch regulation, megastructure, New Urbanism, Peter Eisenman, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, rent control, Ronald Reagan, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal

Venturi proposed something radically different from 1 Astor Plaza: rather than replace the hodgepodge of buildings with a tower, he proposed to wrap the entire assemblage in huge signs. Venturi described his thinking in a subsequent book, Learning from Las Vegas (written with Steven Izenour and Denise Scott Brown). “Times Square is not dramatic space,” he wrote, “but dramatic decoration. It is two-dimensional, decorated by symbols, lights and movement.” Thus he concluded that “a decorated shed” would be a more apt homage to its traditions than “megastructural bridges, balconies and spaces.” Venturi was the first architect to propose a new idiom faithful to Times Square’s helter-skelter, mongrelized past; but since he had done so with an almost perverse indifference to the site’s economic value, the developer rejected the idea. Sharp was, on the other hand, dazzled by the work of John Portman, the architect-developer who had built the Peachtree Center in Atlanta, and who was becoming known for his glass hotels with soaring interior spaces.


The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape by James Howard Kunstler

A Pattern Language, blue-collar work, California gold rush, car-free, City Beautiful movement, corporate governance, Donald Trump, financial independence, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, germ theory of disease, indoor plumbing, jitney, land tenure, mass immigration, means of production, megastructure, Menlo Park, new economy, oil shock, Peter Calthorpe, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review, working poor, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism

The existenzminimum housing block was just the place to put them, in large, neat, high­ density stacks, out of the way, occupying a minimum of land. It wasn't the final solution, but it might do as long as the buildings lasted-which was not necessarily long. One infamous project, the crime-plagued Pruitt-Igoe apartment complex in St. Louis, was demolished only four­ teen years after completion. Another type of Radiant City, the "big footprint" megastructure 7 9 _ T HE GE O G RA P H Y O F N O W HE RE embedded in an old bulldozed central business district, such as the Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York, and the Renaissance Center in Detroit, were grimly tole;;rted by the new postwar leg�oureaU:­ crats and corporate drones. The employee--a step above "worker"­ arrived from a green suburb in his car, parked in an underground garage, ate lunch within the complex, and had no need to venture out into the agoraphobic voids between the high-rise office slabs, let alone beyond the voids to the actual city, with its messy street life, crime, and squalor.


pages: 396 words: 117,897

Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization by Vaclav Smil

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, additive manufacturing, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, British Empire, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, global pandemic, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, megacity, megastructure, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, post-industrial society, purchasing power parity, recommendation engine, rolodex, X Prize

Plastics Europe (2012) Plastics—The Facts 2012, http://www.plasticseurope.org/cust/documentrequest.aspx?DocID=54693 (accessed 23 May 2013). Porada, E. (1965) The Art of Ancient Iran: Pre-Islamic Cultures, Crown Publishers, New York. Potonik, J. (2012) Any Future for the Plastic Industry in Europe? http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-12-632_en.htm (accessed 23 May 2013). Prak, M. (2011) Mega-structures of the middle ages: the construction of religious buildings in Europe and Asia, c. 1000-1500. Journal of Global History, 6: 381–406. President's Materials Policy Commission (1952) Resources for Freedom, A Report to the President by the President's Materials Policy Commission, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC. Princen, T., Maniates, M. and Conca, K. (eds) (2002) Confronting Consumption, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.


pages: 410 words: 119,823

Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield

3D printing, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cellular automata, centralized clearinghouse, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collective bargaining, combinatorial explosion, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, digital map, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, drone strike, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fiat currency, global supply chain, global village, Google Glasses, IBM and the Holocaust, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, license plate recognition, lifelogging, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, megacity, megastructure, minimum viable product, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, natural language processing, Network effects, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Pearl River Delta, performance metric, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, post-work, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, sorting algorithm, special economic zone, speech recognition, stakhanovite, statistical model, stem cell, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Uber for X, undersea cable, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

The more audacious observers of technical advancement dare to speculate that the point is not far off at which molecular nanotechnology and the “effectively complete control over the structure of matter” it affords finally bring the age of material scarcity to its close.25 In places where Green Plenty has broken out, most large-scale interventions in the built environment are intended to democratize access to the last major resource truly subject to conditions of scarcity: the land itself. Placeless urban sprawl is overwritten by high-density megastructures woven of recovered garbage by fleets of swarming robots.26 Equal parts habitat and ecosystem, they bear the signature aesthetic of computationally generated forms no human architect or engineer would ever spontaneously devise, and are threaded into the existing built fabric in peculiar and counterintuitive ways. But they afford everyone who wants to live in one of the planet’s great urban cores safe and decent space in which to do so, and come to be loved for their own virtues.


pages: 441 words: 135,176

The Edifice Complex: How the Rich and Powerful--And Their Architects--Shape the World by Deyan Sudjic

Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, colonial rule, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, megastructure, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, Peter Eisenman, Ronald Reagan, Socratic dialogue, urban planning, urban renewal, V2 rocket, Victor Gruen

Albany’s mayor then engaged the state to act as its agent in the building process and handed over the money to Rockefeller. From then on, Rockefeller treated the reconstruction of a city as if he were an eighteenth-century English landowner adding a wing to his country seat and supervising the construction of a series of follies in the grounds. It was Rockefeller’s idea that Harrison should design an artificial ground level for the mall, creating a megastructure, spanning a shallow valley. The inspiration, bizarrely enough, seems to have been the Dalai Lama’s palace in Lhasa. According to Harrison, Rockefeller showed him how ‘he wanted to stop the valley with a great wall going north and south. He had seen a something like it on a trip to Tibet. He wanted the feeling of separating the mall into a localized community, up on top of the hill so that he could not only get the vista of the wall, but of the whole capitol adjunct at the top.


pages: 348 words: 185,704

Matter by Iain M. Banks

back-to-the-land, germ theory of disease, gravity well, lateral thinking, megastructure

Now rare and generally Developmentally/Inherently/Pervasively Senile; see WorldGod, the Xolpe: humanoid; Nariscene client species, at war ynt: quadruped equivalent of small tame otter; L8&9S Zeloy: humanoid, one of the contending species on Prasadal General Glossary 34th Pendant Floret: region of space 512th Degree FifthStrand: Humanoid Guest Facility, Syaung-un aboriginistas: those with obsessive interest in ‘primitives’ Aciculate: bush-like afap: as fast as possible (C) Altruist: a civilisation purposefully and consistently eschewing naked self-interest Anjrinh: district in Hicture; home to a Scholastery Aoud: star/system, home of Gadampth Orbital aquaticised: (humanoids) fully converted to water-dwelling Arithmetic: re a Shellworld, term given to one whose levels occur in simple multiples Articles of Inhabitation: rules by which Shellworld inhabitants live Aspirant: civilisations wanting to be Involveds Asulious IV: Morthanveld planet, Lesser Yattlian Spray autoscender: uncrewed transport within Shellworld Tower backing: direction (opposite of facing) Baeng-yon: Surface crater, Sursamen bald-head fruit: edible by caude, common to L8&9S Bare: places on Shellworld with no ground cover Baron Lepessi : classic play by Prode the younger Baskers: species type; absorb sunlight directly bell-goblet: vibrating crystal container used when drinking Chapantlic spirit billow bed: C bed with 99% AG, multiple soft wisps of material and smart “feathers” able to avoid being breathed in Bilpier: Nariscene planet, Heisp system black-backed borm: C animal Botrey’s: gambling/whore house in Pourl’s Schtip district Bowlsea: body of water filling Prime depression in Shellworld brattle: bush, L8&9S, Sursamen bravard: lusty, drinking, up-for-a-fight kind of man Bulthmaas: planet in Chyme system where Xide Hyrlis found camoufield: (C) projected field camouflaging objects Chapantlic spirit: type of booze (see bell-goblet) Charvin: a county of Sarl Cherien: ridge, near Sarl city, L8S Chone: a star in the Lesser Yattlian Spray Chyme: stellar system, home of Bulthmaas CleaveHull: type of Morthanveld ship Clissens: a Rollstar of the Ninth, Sursamen cloud trees: flora, L8&9S, Sursamen Conducer: (species) those which make habit of taking over and (usually) exploiting structures, artefacts and habitats built by earlier civilisations – from ancients to the recently Sublimed Core: solid centre of a Shellworld crackball: C game played with solid wooden ball Crater: re a Shellworld, a high-walled habitable area on Surface crile leaf: cocoa-like drug, chewed; L8&9S Curbed Lands: type of (originally Deldeyn) province cut-rot: gangrene (Sarl term) Dengroal: town, L8S, beneath the D’neng-oal Tower deSept: Nariscene clanlet without a Sept or major clan/family Despairationals: extremist group, Syaung-un Dillser: ducal house by Boiling Sea of Yakid, L9S director general: high rank of the Morthanveld Disputed: re a Shellworld, one whose Towers are not all controlled by the same species D’neng-oal Tower: Oct transport Tower, Sursamen Domity: a Rollstar of L8S Enabler: (machine) device used to find ways to communicate with alien species and artifacts Evingreath: a town on the Xilisk road from Pourl Exaltinates: elite troops under Chasque Exaltine: top Sarlian religious rank; chief priest Exponential: see logarithmic facing: direction; from facing direction of world’s rotation (opposite of backing) Facing Approach Street: near royal palace in Pourl Falls Merchant Explorer: guild of merchants exploiting Falls Falls, the: cataract on the Sulpitine river, L9S (aka the Hyeng-zhar) Far Landing: peripatetic port on far side of Sulpitine from the Settlement farpole: direction to pole of world furthest from Sarl heartlands (opposite of nearpole) Feyrla: river, Xilisk, L8S Fifth deSept: minor, unaligned clanlet, Nariscene/Sursamen Filigree: complexes of Shellworld Tower ceiling supporting inverted buttresses Fixstars: Shellworld interior stars, unmoving floater: slightly derogatory term used for aquatic peoples by landgoing peoples Foerlinteul: C Orbital FOIADSFBF: First Original Indigent Alien Deep Space Farers’ Benevolent Fund (Morthanveld) Forelight: pre-dawn light cast by Rollstar Gadampth: C Orbital Gavantille Prime: waterworld planet, Morthanveld space Gazan-g’ya: a Crater of Sursamen Gilder’s Lament, the: tavern, Pourl Godded: a Shellworld with a Xinthian at its core Grahy: Morthanveld planet, Lesser Yattlian Spray Grand Zamerin: exalted rank of the Nariscene (see also Zamerin) Greater Army: combined armies gathered by Hausk to resist Deldeyn and invade their level Great Palace: Rasselle, L9S Great Park: Rasselle, L9S Great Ship: type of very large Morthanveld ship Great Tower: one of six fortifications within Rasselle Guime: a Rollstar of L8S habiform: technically correct term for what is usually called terraforming; altering any already existing environment to suit it to the needs of one or more species Heavenly Host: Deldeyn religious sect tyl Loesp empowers Heisp: Nariscene colony system Hemerje: ducal palace near the Great Park, Rasselle Heurimo: a fallstar of L9S Hicture: a region of L8S Hicturean: Tower (L8S, not far from Pourl) Hollow World: see Shellworld House of Many Roofs, The : play by Sinnel Hyeng-zhar: cataract on the Sulpitine river, L9S, aka the Falls Hyeng-zharia Mission: religious order; controlled the Falls’ excavation Hyeng-zhar Settlement: ever-temporary city, the Falls, Sursamen Ichteuen: (Godwarriors) fight for Sarl; L8S Illsipine Tower: Sursamen Imperial Procreational College: on Nariscene homeworld; regulates Spawnings Incremental: re a Shellworld, term given to one whose levels occur in exponential increments (hence aka Exponential) injectiles: any organisms or mechanisms capable of being injected (usually into metre-scale entities, in context especially humans) In Loco’d: placed under care (Morthanveld term) Inner Caferlitician Tendril: region of space interior star: artificial suns emplaced by secondary Shellworld species within these worlds; anti-gravitational, pressing against ceiling of given level; most mobile (Rollstars); some not (Fixstars) Ischuer: city, Bilpier Jhouheyre: city-cluster, Oct planet of Zaranche Jiluence: a Monthian (megawhales) ancestral homeworld Keande-yi: region near Pourl, L8S Keande-yiine: Tower in region near Pourl, L8S Khatach Solus: Nariscene homeworld Kheretesuhr: archipelagic province, Vilamian Ocean, L8S Kiesestraal: a fading Rollstar of L9S Klusse: city, Lesuus Plate krisk nuts: caude stimulant, L8&9S Kuertile Pinch: region of space Lalance: continent, Prasadal lampstone: carbide Lemitte: general, Sarl army Lepoort: plate, Stafl Orbital Lesser Yattlian Spray: region of space Lesuus: plate, Gadampth level: re a Shellworld, one of the world’s spherical shells lifebowls: see mottled Logarithmic: re: a Shellworld, term given to one whose levels occur in exponential increments (hence aka Exponential) Machine Core/level: level immediately surrounding a Shellworld Core Meast: water-nest city, Gavantille Prime Meseriphine: star in the Tertiary Hulian Spine MHE: Monopathic Hegemonising Event (usually runway nanotech) MOA: Mysterious Object from Afar Moiliou: Hausk family estate, L8S Mottled: re a Shellworld, term given to one whose Surface is partially (mostly) free of atmosphere, with significant areas – within large, high-walled (normally original) Surface features – of nominally inhabitable pseudo-planetary environments, called Lifebowls Multiply Inhabited: re a Shellworld, one with more than one intelligent species in residence Nameless City: of L9S; long buried metropolis being uncovered by the Hyeng-zhar nanorgs: nano-scale organisms; often aka injectiles (though this covers non-biological material too) Natherley: a Rollstar of L9S nearpole: direction (opposite of farpole) Nearpole Gate: a main gate of Pourl city, L8S Nestworld: usually, and always in context of Morthanveld, a type of artificial habitat composed of multiple twisting tubes, complexly intertwined and generally water-filled Night: re a Shellworld, places within a level which are totally or almost totally dark, over the horizon from both direct and reflected sunlight or vane-blocked Oausillac: a Fixstar of L9S, Sursamen Obor: a Rollstar of L8S, Sursamen Oerten: Surface crater, Sursamen Optimae: name given to Culture, Morthanveld, etc. by more lowly civilisations; roughly equivalent to HLI Oversquare: re a Shellworld, levels beyond which increasing separation of secondary supporting filaments branching from Towers no longer allows intra-filament inter-Tower travel (usually in top half of levels); opposite of undersquare Pandil-fwa Tower: Oct transport Tower, Sursamen Parade Field: Pourl, L8S Pentrl: a Rollstar of L8S Peremethine Tower: Oct transport Tower, Sursamen Pierced: re a Shellworld, a level-accessible Tower Placed: placed under care (Morthanveld term) Pliyr: star, Morthanveld space Pourl: region and capital city of Sarl, L8S Prasadal: planet, Zoveli system Prille: country on Sketevi Primarian: type of large Oct ship Prime: re a Shellworld, term given to structure of world as originally built by Veil Quoline: river, draining the Quoluk Lakes Quoluk Lakes: of L8S, near Pourl Quonber : module platform, Prasadal Rasselle: Deldeyn capital city, L9S Reshigue: city, L8S roasoaril: fruit plant, L8&9S (refinable) Rollstars: Shellworld interior stars which move roving scendship: (Oct) scendship air- and underwater- capable Safe: (multi-million-year) re a Shellworld, term given to one with no recent history of world-caused gigadeaths saltmeat: (Sarl) salted meat Sarl: people and kingdom, L8S, Sursamen (also planet) scend tubes: tubes scendships use scendship: ship which ascends or descends within a Shellworld Tower Scholastery: recessional university, like a secular monastery devoted to learning Schtip: district of Pourl, L8S scrimp: dismissive name for Falls workers seatrider: C skeletal AG device; personal transport Secondary: re a Shellworld, term given to structural additions to world added by later possessors shade: areas on a Shellworld level without direct sunlight (effect severity varies with shell diameter, vane geometry, etc.) Shellworld: artificial planet, part of ancient megastructure; also known as Hollow World and Slaughter World (archaic) Shield world: see Shellworld Shilda: province of Sarl, L8S silse: collective term for class of Shellworld creatures which transport silt particles from seabeds and other aquatic environments to land, via hydrogen sacs, evaporation, clouds and rainfall Sketevi: continent on Bulthmaas Slaughter World: see Shellworld SlimHull: type of Morthanveld ship Sournier: county within Sarl, L8S Spiniform: (world) a partially collapsed Shellworld spiniform: applied to species, indicates a spiny, pointed body type Stafl: C Orbital Stalks: slightly derogatory term used for landgoing peoples by aquatic peoples Starfall: (rare) phenomenon occurring when the remains of an exhausted Shellworld interior star fall from the ceiling of a level to its floor; generally catastrophic Sterut: Nariscene Globular Transfer Facility Sull: Deldeyn region, L9S Sullir: Deldeyn regional capital, L9S Sulpitine: river, L9S Superintendent: judicial rank, Sursamen Surface Sursamen: Arithmetic Shellworld, orbiting Meseriphine Swarmata: the detritus of competing MHEs SwellHull: type of Morthanveld ship Syaung-un: Morthanveld Nestworld in the 34th Pendant Floret Taciturn: of a species, one which is especially uncommunicative tangfruit: C fruit, pan-human edible terraf: short for terraformed; a planet so amended, or any other large-scale constructed environment (see habiform) Tertiary Hulian Spine: region of space; location of Meseriphine thin-film: screen; goes over eyes to show virtual reality (Morthanveld term) Tierpe Ancestral: port, Syaung-un tink: dismissive name for Falls worker T’leish: sub-group of Morthanveld, on Gavantille Prime Tower: re a Shellworld, a hollow supporting column or stem, normally with vacuum inside, also used as transport tube Tresker: a Rollstar of L9S tropel trees: C flora; common on ships Twinned Crater: Surface crater, Sursamen Uliast: general, Sarl army undersquare: see oversquare unge: drug, smoked; L8&9S Upstart: (species) generally recognised if mildly pejorative term for (usually intelligent and even Involved) species which is regarded as having achieved such status by the exploitation of its relationship with another, already advanced, civilisation Urletine: (mercenaries) fight for Sarl; L8S Uzretean: a Rollstar of L9S Vaw-yei: Tower, Sursamen Veil World: see Shellworld Vilamian Ocean: on L8S Voette: country, L8S Vruise: location of Falls, L9S wallcreep: foliage, L8&9S Wars of Unity: sequence waged by Hausk to unite the Eighth Wiriniti: capital of Voette, L8S Xilisk: region near Pourl, L8S Xiliskine Tower: Tower nearest to Pourl, L8S xirze: crop, common on L8&9S Yakid: Boiling Sea of, L9S Yakid City: on shores of above, L9S Yattle: planet, Greater Yattlian Spray Zamerin: high rank of the Nariscene (see also Grand Zamerin) Zaranche: planet, Inner Caferlitician Tendril Za’s Revenge: C cocktail Zoveli: star and system, location of Prasadal Zuevelous: Morthanveld family, Gavantille Prime Zunzil Ligature: region of space; location of Iln home world/s Ships Culture Don’t Try This At Home: Steppe-class MSV Eight Rounds Rapid: Delinquent-class FP exGOU Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall: GCU It’s My Party And I’ll Sing If I Want To: Escarpment-class GCU Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill: GCU Liveware Problem: Stream-class Superlifter (modified Delta class, Absconded) Now We Try It My Way: Erratic-class (ex-Interstellar-class General Transport Craft) Pure Big Mad Boat Man: GCU Qualifier: Trench-class MSV Seed Drill: Ocean-class GSV Subtle Shift In Emphasis: Plains-class GCV Transient Atmospheric Phenomenon: GCU Xenoglossicist: Air-class LSV You Naughty Monsters: GCU You’ll Clean That Up Before You Leave: Gangster-class VFP ex-ROU Nariscene Hence the Fortress: Comet-class star-cruiser Hundredth Idiot, The: White Dwarf-class Morthanveld “Fasilyce, Upon Waking”: Cat.5 SwellHull Inspiral, Coalescence, Ringdown: Great Ship “On First Seeing Jhiriit”: Cat.4 CleaveHull “Now, Turning to Reason, & Its Just Sweetness”: Cat.3 SlimHull Sursamen Levels: Inhabitants Level Inhabitant 0Surface; vacuum/habiformed Nariscene/Baskers/others 1Vacuum Seedsail nursery 2Vacuum Baskers 3Vacuum Dark 4O2ocean Cumuloforms 5Methane shallows Kites/Avians 6Higher Gas Giant Tendrils – Naiant 7Methane Ocean Vesiculars – Monthian megawhales 8Land – O2 Sarl 9Land – O2 Deldeyn/Sarl (Under-/Over square division) 10Mid Gas Giant Tendrils – Variolous 11Methane ocean Vesiculars – Monthian megawhales 12Lower Gas Giant Swimmers 13Water/slush matrices Tubers/Hydrals 14Ice/water Dark 15Machinery the WorldGod – a Xinthian 16Core – solid the WorldGod – a Xinthian Time Intervals Term Years aeon 1 000 000 000 deciaeon 100 000 000 centiaeon 10 000 000 eon 1 000 000 decieon 100 000 centieon 10 000 millennium 1 000 century 100 decade 10 year 1 Epilogue Senble Holse was hunched over a tub with a washboard, furiously scrubbing, when her husband walked in.


pages: 635 words: 186,208

House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds

autonomous vehicles, cosmic microwave background, data acquisition, gravity well, megastructure, planetary scale

We’ve a lot on our minds at the moment - Hesperus, the other robots, Grilse and the other prisoners, why anyone would want to destroy the Line and what will happen if they find us again. Enough worry for a lifetime, even by Line standards. But despite all of that we’re still alive. We’re still alive and we still have friends, and somewhere to stay, and it’s a beautiful evening and the dunes of Neume are singing to us. Those dunes aren’t just any old dunes, you know. They’re the shattered remains of the Provider mega-structures, after their culture fell out of the sky. We’re being serenaded by the twinkling remains of a dead supercivilisation, the relics of people who thought themselves gods, if only for a few instants of galactic time. Now - how does that make you feel?’ ‘Like I’m living too late,’ I said. The Line was in private session for breakfast, on a terrace near the top of the building’s onion-shaped summit.


pages: 773 words: 214,465

The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton

battle of ideas, clean water, dematerialisation, invisible hand, mass immigration, megastructure

However, they can’t prove a damn thing thanks to the excellent encryption and strange lack of records your slippery ex has muddled his life with. Then there’s my fee, which is ten percent seeing as how you’re family and I admire your late-found pride. So the rest is yours, clear and free.” “How much?” “Eighty-three thousand.” Araminta could not speak. It was a fortune. Agreed, nothing like the corporate megastructure Laril had claimed he owned and controlled, but more than she had expected and asked for in the divorce petition. Ever since she had walked into Cressida’s office, she had allowed herself to dream that she might, just might, come out of this with thirty or forty thousand, that Laril would pay just to be rid of her. “Oh, great Ozzie, you are kidding,” she whispered. “Not a bit. A judge friend of mine has allowed us to expedite matters on account of the circumstances of the truly tragic hardship I claimed you’re suffering.


Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities by Vaclav Smil

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, air freight, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, colonial rule, complexity theory, coronavirus, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, endogenous growth, energy transition, epigenetics, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Law of Accelerating Returns, longitudinal study, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, megastructure, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, optical character recognition, out of africa, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Republic of Letters, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, technoutopianism, the market place, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, yield curve

Khafre’s neighboring Giza pyramid was nearly as large (2.21 Mm3) but the third Giza structure (Menkaure’s pyramid) was, at 235,000 m3, smaller than Djoser’s pyramid built more than a century earlier—and so were all other Egyptian pyramids built during the subsequent dynasties as well as pyramids built in the neighboring Kushite kingdom of Nubia. Completely unrelated, and structurally different, Mesoamerican pyramids, particularly those at Teotihuacan dated to the 2nd century CE, were also smaller and their construction was much easier because their cores were made of packed earth, rubble, and adobe bricks, with only the exterior of stone (Baldwin 1977). Stone pyramids are thus megastructures whose peak achievements came shortly after their ancient origins and that were never surpassed, not even equaled, by any later projects. Churches and Cathedrals Christian churches had a much more gradual trajectory than Egyptian pyramids, but major basilicas (derived from such large Roman civic structures as Trajan’s Basilica Ulpia) had large dimensions even from the earliest period of Rome’s new official religion (Ching et al. 2011).


pages: 1,171 words: 309,640

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

back-to-the-land, clean water, Colonization of Mars, cryptocurrency, dark matter, friendly fire, gravity well, hive mind, low earth orbit, mandelbrot fractal, megastructure, random walk, risk tolerance, Vernor Vinge

Six of the newcomers had blasted past Vyyborg Station and the rest of the planet’s defenses and landed in the capital city of Mirnsk. All but one. That one ship had aimed itself at Ruslan’s space elevator, the Petrovich Express. Despite the planet’s orbital batteries. Despite the UMC battleship, the Surfeit of Gravitas, stationed around Vyyborg. Despite the numerous lasers and missile batteries mounted around the crown and base of the mega-structure. And despite the best design-work of countless engineers and physicists … despite all of those things, the alien ship had succeeded in ramming and severing the ribbon-shaped cable of the space elevator, three-quarters of the way to the asteroid that served as a counterweight. As Kira watched, the upper part of the elevator (counterweight included) hurtled away from Ruslan at greater than escape velocity while the lower section began to curve toward the planet, like a giant whip wrapping around a ball.


pages: 1,386 words: 379,115

Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton

car-free, complexity theory, forensic accounting, gravity well, megacity, megastructure, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, planetary scale, trade route, trickle-down economics

Missiles leapt away from them, plasma exhausts turning space above the planet-sized artefact to a noonday brilliance. Nuclear explosions erupted, stabbing vast tracts of coherent radiation towards the tiny emission point betraying the Charybdis’s existence. Force field warning icons glared red. Ozzie increased their acceleration to twelve gees. His own anguished whimper joined Mark’s. * MorningLightMountain had never given the alien mega-structure much consideration. Not that it ignored the strange artefact. It had noticed the structure almost as soon as the barrier withdrew. Ships sent to investigate found a planet-sized machine with incomprehensible mass properties. Given its scale, MorningLightMountain concluded it had to be associated with the barrier; in all probability it was the generator or a part of it. According to the Bose memories, that was what the humans considered it to be.