Archive for ‘environment’

January 23, 2012

wetropolis, or “let’s build a town on the Andaman Sea”

The CGI “photos” of Wetropolis (via Likhit) are fascinating, but I have reservations about the practicality of this seasteading project off the coast of Thailand, and not just because it looks so expensive that it’s probably by default a playground for the rich (I have to admire the chutzpah of putting actual Thai watercraft in the shot – it’s like showing Fred Flintstone’s feet poking out of the bottom of his sleek sportscar).

For instance, it might be a little sanctuary in the event of widespread flooding, but how does it then connect to the land, which probably won’t enjoy the same protection. And, didn’t some Tsunamis come through there not so long ago? How tall are those stilts? How fast can the living units go up and down on them? Is it actually a better idea than just living on a bunch of boats tethered together?

For my money, this gallery of 6 designs for floodproof homes pretty much covers the gamut of such projects, from the immediately practical and largely familiar to architect’s renderporn to the sustainability fantasies that schools and studios seem to be encouraging this year. And this project shows a very interesting proof of concept for something or other, although probably not commercial shipping.

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November 28, 2011

technology and landscape

This is more interesting than anything I might have to say about it – the ironic effects of landmines on the preservation of natural landscapes, placing woods, meadows, and even remote country roads off-limits, fatally tainted terrains given back to animals and vegetation. Reminds me of the surveys of Bikini Atoll 50 years after the nuclear tests, which found wildlife in considerably better condition than that which had been exposed to tourism over the same period.

At the other end of the landthreat spectrum, Tsunami Escape Pod is a great name for a band, but the artifact sadly doesn’t look either as functional or as gojirapunk as you might hope. … it measures 4 feet in diameter, can house up to four  adults [um? For how long?] …Inside you won’t find any safety-belts or webbing and there doesn’t seem to be much padding – just a vertical bar which survivors are expected to hold onto while bouncing off buildings and debris. Right. Also, on the plus side a buoyant sphere is a good choice of shape for dealing with unpredictable threats but on the minus side, it’s completely uncontrollable, unstabilizable, and incapable of dealing with threats like sudden acceleration or crushing by other flotsam. Reminds me of Roger Dean’s retreat pod, only more paranoi.

It looks like even if you get swept out to see there’s no chance of escaping google – which is part of a robot vessel/sensor-pod scheme, to gather data about the oceans. Which in turn reminds me of how little we know about the deep sea, and how comparable such ventures are to the Mars Rover.

May 30, 2011

Incredible presentation of New York Harbour maritime urbanism

Worth checking out for the slides alone. This, I think, just might be what I do next: from the waterfront urban studies.

Christina Sun’s presentation for Coastlink’s Hamburg conference, on New York and the Hudson. Scroll down for grain elevators, disused factories and overloaded skiffs.

February 22, 2011

Port Cities website

Of course, my favourite building in London is a ghost, and something of a cliche: the shell of Battersea Power Station. But it’s long been stripped of all its glorious industrial age guts and has had an afterlife mostly as a set of fever dreams for urban planners who think “museum” will elevate their shopping mall plans. Greenwich Power Station, on the other hand, is still working. And, although clearly inferior as an icon, is still awkwardly mesmerising.

This post, though, is about the remarkable website I stumbled across while trying to figure out what the building was: Port Cities is the kind of project I love. Deep-time history (though not very deep resources) on Britain’s major ports. I just wish there were more of it.

…although I can’t complain about the 6 page article on London prostitution. Which itself stands as an interesting social document on what we look for out of history.

July 18, 2010

Delightfully odd infographics via gcaptain: Knock Nevis and mapping of sumarine cables AND gulf oil spill roundup

Supertanker Knock Nevis, later MV Mont, was the largest ship ever built. Here are dodgy infographics comparing it to the Petronas Tower.

The virtual world requires a lot of actual hardware. Submarine cables run your internet. Except when they get severed in freak unexplained occurrences, as happened a lot in 2008. Here‘s a map that shows just how important NY City continues to be on the world stage.

I’ll get to this when I have time: 50 visualisations of the gulf oil disaster.

April 30, 2010

oil spill actually a leak, or “drainage”

image112 Maritime Monday 211Deepwater Horizon

So what happens if an active oil rig blows up and sinks? And the well-head isn’t capped off? It turns out oil continues to rise to the surface of the sea and feed a perpetual fire there. Yikes.

Deepwater Horizon story still unspooling. State of emergency declared in Louisiana, oil pool broadening uncontrolled, nearing coast. Not obvious what anyone can do right now…

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