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First Arcology? 337

vortmax(OU) writes: "OK, so it isn't that new, but I hadn't seen it posted on /. yet, so I thought I'd bring it up. According to World's Tallest Buildings, there's a proposal for a new supertall (3,700 ft) Bionic Building" in Shanghai, China. It will house 100,000 people as well as hotels, offices, cinemas, and hospitals -- a "vertical city" as the London Sunday Times put it. If actually built, it will dwarf the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lampur and the Sears Tower in Chicago. It should be interesting to see if it goes forward... The complete story is here."
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First Arcology?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...The reason for the lack of rentors is that buildings that are that high make people sick from the swaying with the wind. Its ok for an observation deck but you can't live there 8 hrs a day, every day unless you spend most of your life at sea or in planes. So you're saying this gigantic phalic symbol, will be full of sea-men :-o
  • Would you mind to use the metric system?

    The NASA lost already a satellite because
    some dork used feet instead of meters.
  • Wow. The world's biggest phallic symbol. :P
  • What were they, elevators to the moon? 500 fps is about 340 miles per hour... Maybe you meant 500 feet per minute?
  • Frank Lloyd Wright proposed a building once, for Chicago. It was called "The Illinois." One mile high. Big, triangular cross sections, lotsa steel, featuring a "tap root" style of construction. Of course, he did suggest things like nuclear-powered elevators, but it was 1957. It was only designed to house 45,000, but hey, a MILE high...
  • From the article:

    The Spanish architects envisage 368 lifts, with the journey from bottom to top taking less than two minutes.

    I cannot begin to imagine how fast those elevators must be... That's an average of 1850 feet per second if you're on the top floor... Fast elevators I've been in are about, oh... 500 feet per second. This thing would fly you up to the top. Craziness...

    -David Ziegler
  • So am I, and it's not entirely true, though in this case it probably is American billions.

    If more people used milliard, we could help keep billion with its original English meaning.

  • Prior to Columbine, I had joked
    about improving the Boston skyline
    by giving the Pru this treatment.

    Now.. If this thing is built,
    somebody's bound to try 747ing into it.
  • For those of you interested in arcologies, I check out the Arcologies egroup discussion. The practicality, benifits and implications of archologies are discussed and argued. Check them out at:


    Here is the description of Arcologies from the groups front page:

    "Arcology is Paolo Soleri's concept of cities which embody the fusion of architecture with ecology. The arcology concept proposes a highly integrated and compact three-dimensional urban form that is the opposite of urban sprawl with its inherently wasteful consumption of land, energy, time and human resources. An arcology would need about two percent as much land as a typical city of similar population. Arcology eliminates the automobile from inside the city and reserves it for use outside the city. Walking would be the main form of transportation inside an arcology. The miniaturization of the city enables radical conservation of land, energy and resources. Arcology would rely as much as possible on the sun, the wind and other renewable energy so as to reduce pollution and dependence on fossil fuels. Arcology needs less energy per capita thus making recycling and the use of solar energy more feasible than in present cities."
  • The book has been written.

    It's called "Oath of Fealty" by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle...
  • That is a classic case of the triumph of reality of simulation. For those who don't know the London Millenium Bridge is a new type of bridge - horizontal suspension. The architects and engineers extensively modelled it and worked out that it would perform within acceptable design parameters. What they missed was that when people walk across the bridge they exert a vertical force (the foot going down) and a horizontal one (which is usually small, and therefore usually unimportant).

    What is most important is that the designers and engineers reckon it can be fixed with only minimal modifications.

    As you say, this is a new bridge design. The Bridge Building Literature had very little to say about this kind of problem, because no bridges before had ever had this kind of problem. Keep in mind the huge problems with the first suspension bridges in the early 1900s: I'm sure everybody has seen the films of the bridge swaying metres side to side before it collapses into the river.

    Engineers like to build things, watch them break, and only then figure out why. I think that's why Engineers like lego so much...

  • Well some projects do get built. And even if they don't the idea work that goes into them does get used for something at some point. Someday someone will build a building like this. It might not be in china, it might be anywhere. But having folks think about this is a good thing.

    The question is not "Can we build this" for which we would have to respond yes, it would be hard but so what. Its more a question is it worth building this? And ofcourse that one will get readdressed every so often.

    And its always good to dream!
  • don't pump water.
    pump steam.
  • A joke?

    Look at the shape of that thing!

    It's actually going to be a giant vibrator for Galactus' girlfriend. (Galactus, Devourer of Worlds, Marvel comix? Remember?) Hey, it's built to wiggle as much as 8'. (does Galactus' gf have an 8' "button"?)
  • Maybe modify your calculations;
    put 100,000 people into a building for 10 years, you're going to have a lot more than 100,000 people at the END of that 10 years.

    Unless you had a system to distribute condoms...
  • might not be so far from the truth. . .

    put a big tube going all the way to the top, open at the ends, atmospheric pressure at the top is less than that at the ground, so you could build a constant suction device!
  • uh yeah, tell that to people who live in the Denver area and do daily commutes to 7000 feet.
  • crime is not caused by population density, it's caused by economic disparity.
  • damn.

    can't fool you. . .
  • you can watch the shadow of your finger on the ground move. All it takes is patience.
  • Dammit, that wacky Jim just keeps needed to compensate. Of course, with a moron like Kathy as his minion, I suppose he deserves it...
  • If you think that's impressive, check out Canada's Confederation Bridge [confederationbridge.com]. It's almost 13 kilometers long, and links the island province of Prince Edward Island to the mainland province of New Brunswick, on Canada's east coast. It was just completeled a few years ago, and threw quite a few ferryboat operators out of work.
  • Prior to the Big Asian Crash came the
    Big Asian Bubble (natch) which was the
    prompt for the Petronas.

    If this is a harbinger of an even bigger
    bubble, I'm stocking up on those second-hand
    Y2K goodies.
  • They exist. Usually with gear mechanisms
    (remember those Lego blocks?) that run
    along the shaft and are used by gears on
    the cab (with onboard motor).
    What I wonder is: what if a typhoon
    (or typhoon-earthquake combo) gets this
  • Wow the great wall is in China? I'm absolutely amazed at your mental accuity. There is alot of controversy over the dam, it is going to be supplying central China with lots of power but is also costing the state the equivilent of 10 billion dollars. Not only the immense cost of the dam but the fact the relocation and the quelling of labor strikes has been dealt with in a particulaly nasty fashion. A million or so people are going to have to be relocated, most of these people are farmers who get to go from well irrigated arable farmland to much less desireable land elsewhere. The Shanghai tower project is more of a pissing contest than the Three Gorges dam though. The TGD at least provides some way to make up for the 10 billion being poured into it. A 3.7km vertical city in Shanghai is more of a publicity stunt with little resell value. How do you justify spending uber billions on a 300 story tower skyscraper whose functions could be more easily sussumed by cheaper and more easily built structures.
  • Actually, I remember reading somewhere about a depresurization chamber for athletes to sleep in, because somebody discovered that it was beneficial to sleep at high altitude (so the body produces more red blood cells allowing faster transport of oxygen through blood) but train at low altitude (allowing more intense training sessions thanks to more available oxygen).

    So maybe a person who lives near the top and goes outside for a run regularly would have a pretty good thing going.

    And knowing the way China is with athletes, I can see it now: The "People's Olympic Athlete's quarters" somewhere in the top section.


  • To be an arcology wouldn't it have to be self-sustaining? (grow food, use wind and sun energy, maybe recycle water)


  • The cars can be centrally controlled and are able to move both vertically & horizontally

    Are they made of glass? Is there a button labeled "Up & Out"?

  • by KFury ( 19522 )
    "Well something like this is going to be necessary as our population continues to explode. Life once again imitates Simcity. When are we going to put Maxis in charge of city planning here in the US?"

    This is pretty silly. We'll run out of food resources long before we had so much population as to need these kinds of buildings for space.

    Not that they buildings won't be built, and not that they wouldn't be useful, but their use wouldn't be because people are running out of space...

    Warning: I lost my sense of humor after taking a linguistics course with George Lakoff, so I may just be missing the Maxis humor...

    Kevin Fox
  • Imagine how long it would take to get to the top of this thing? IIRC, once elevators go over 100 or so stories, the cables will snap under their own weight. You'd probably have to take at least 3 different elevators just to get to the top of this monster.
  • I read the article. 2 minutes is bullshit. They're not going to have one elevator that goes from ground level to the top. I'm assuming they'll have multiple elevators (which I said in my original topic). Put 2 and 2 together, and you have to count the time it takes to wait for elevators, for them to accelerate (they're not going to jet up at 50ft/sec right away or anything), and also waiting for other people to get on, get off the elevator.

    2 minutes sounds a lot like a best case scinerio. In a real world test, it would take MUCH longer. That's what I was commenting on. Sorry if I wasn't clear.
  • Another problem is if they built the tower with conventional elevators, they would have to fill the entire tower with elevators to have enough transportation capacity for everyone. I suspect that a building like this would have to use elevators that run both vertically and horizontally, like Star Trek's turbolifts. Otis Elevator Company has been developing elevator systams like this - it would be more like a mini-subway system turned vertically than a series of conventional elevators.
  • You could always look at The Straight Dope [straightdope.com] page on this subject.


  • IIRC, most tall buildings already use stacked elevators - 2 or three cars on top of each other, to carry more passengers (mostly at beginning and end of day rushes)...

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • > As I understand it, cabin pressurization is not activated until appx. 5000-6000 feet altitude, at which point the valves that control air exchange are closed and cabin pressure is maintained at 6000-8000 feet.

    Nowadays, cabin pressure is maintained at around 1000 meters (~3000 feet). Take an altimeter on board and check it out! And this is done actively using pumps, rather than just closing a valve. Btw, this allows to have the "virtual" (pressure) altitude to augment slower than real one, and stretch out the raise or decrease of pressure over a longer period to make it less painful. Unfortunately, this seems to be under pilot control, and not all do it equally well... So you may blame the pilot not only for the shaky landing, but also for the popping ears ;-)

    N.B. On some flights, pressure is actually decreased on landing, as seen on flights from Guyaquil to Quito: at start, cabin pressure is slowly decreased to 1000m (as usual), but some ten minutes before landing, it is further decreased to 3000m (the actual altitude of Quito)...

  • > The WTC bombing literally destroyed several levels of parking but did not bring down the structure itself

    That was because the bomb was not properly placed. Had it been fixed to a sustaining pillar, or, better, put into a hole drilled in a pillar, the effects would have been much more drastic, as whitnessed the year after at OKC.

  • But at least, Clinton was elected democratically!
  • > Remember, this isn't a Democracy in the USA, it's a representative republic.

    Guess that's why a Republican was elected, rather than a Democrat... ;-)

  • When was our last great engineering marvel?

    Windows 2000, surely. It's the code equivalent of the Bionic Building: gargantuan, mind-boggling in its complexity, and utterly terrifying to behold.

    However, if a skyscraper crashes...

  • Imagine how long it would take to get to the top of this thing?

    His book Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything [fasterbook.com] has a really good chapter on skyscrapers, elevators, and proposed "alternative designs" for elevators.

    Yes, it would take you forever to go to the top of this thing. So? It would take you forever to go that far horizontally on foot, too. (Going in a vehicle doesn't count, because you can't (say) shop on the way, plus you have to take time to park at your destination.)

  • It tells you specifically how long it will take, 2 minutes.

    And you believed it?

  • I also worried about the prospect of pumping clean water UP 3700 ft. How much power is this going to take? Would atmospheric condensers be a viable solution to at least some of this problem?

    There is no way for them to pump the water directly up that far. To get any sort of water pressure at the top would require a solid column of water in pipes 3700 feet tall. Coupled with the amount of water necessary, the pipes would have to be many many feet in diameter, the pumps would be pushing water weighing many many TONS, and pipes able to support it. Impossible? Maybe not. Efficient? Not even CLOSE.

    Luckily, you don't really have to worry much about sewage. If your sanitation plant is down
    below, just dig a hole and say "Look out below!" Who's to say that what works for outhouses can't work for a huge skyscaper?

    Yes you do. Imagine if you just had a big pipe heading down. Someone flushes at the top, then their waste goes into FREEFALL for thousands of feet. How long do you think the pipes at the bottom could support those sorts of stresses? And how big in diameter would the pipes have to be to handle that much waste?

    I think the only answer is to have waste processing plants inside the tower in multiple places. They could probably reduce the water issue at the same time.

    Standard engineering practices for smaller buildings, such as 5-10 floor apartment buildings, do NOT scale up to something this size. Alternative solutions are required.
  • > If you've first moved that much water up there, why let people drop it down again in the sewer? Place a water resirculation plant or three in the building at different heights, and save on the amount of plumbing required to both pump water up and let sewage down.

    I wonder how much energy you could extract by sticking turbines between each level when you let the sewage down?

    The problem with water is that it's massive - it takes energy to haul it to the top of the tower.

    The solution is to extract that same energy on the way down. Apart from evaporative losses (remember those "windows" in the aluminum and friction, you should be able to get most of the energy back.

  • You don't pump the water 3700 ft high in one go: you just need to put a reservoir capable of holding enough water for the habitants of that floor plus some extra to feed the reservoirs on the higher levels. Since there are 12 levels, you'd need 12 reservoirs, each about 300 ft to pump it higher up. That's not too difficult.

    If there are duplex connections between the tanks, a fire emergency on the lower levels would benefit of the water stored in all above levels. Taifun-sprinkler system on the way in :-)

    Okay... I'll do the stupid things first, then you shy people follow.

  • It's very obvious that you havn't really studied the cultural history of the Chinese.

    The Chinese people had never been agressive towards their neighboors. Yes, they are proud people, they have every right to be - their civilization has a long and rich cultural history. But the Great War of China wasn't exactly built for invading other countries, is it?

    The Chinese had never been domineering. They've never sent their troops to intervene in other country's political affairs - unlike the Americans who routinely send their carrier fleets everywhere. In fact, if you look at how often the US had been invaded (never), and when the last time the Chinese had been invaded (Japanese invasion during WW II, Allied invasion (including the US during the end of the Ching dynasty), all the "oh, fear China, they're gonna nuke us all" is just plain bullshit.

    And for god's sake - they're building a f*ckin' building - what's so scary aout that?
  • What is the point in going to the moon?

    It's a good place to get mass for earth orbital facilities. What's the point of being human? [geocities.com]

    If there was some sort of econimical point, rather then braging rights sure we would go to the moon again.

    There is, and "we" aren't therefore "we" can't. QED

    Lunar oxygen for use in orbital transfer of geostationary satellites will be the first material to be sold for large amounts of cash and it will not be the United States of America ("we") or any of its companies that does it because that pioneering culture of the USA has now been successfully destroyed by The Culture of Critique [csulb.edu].

  • "If you can send a man to the moon you can certainly build a tower for 100,000 people," said Goldschmied.

    If who can send a man to the moon? Certainly the United States of American can't and hasn't been able to for a generation. Oh, but China doesn't have a post-Apollo NASA still living off "The Glory Years" so maybe the Chinese might be able to actually pull it off.


  • The World Trade Center in New York City is a huge building. The terrorist attack there came close to killing 10,000 people (if the cyanide gas had not been destroyed by the explosion).

    I can just imagine the mess if a bad guy wanted to attack this monstrosity. Scary!

  • "you have nothing to worry about. the elevator will float up 3000ft on high powered magnets, with nothing supporting you if the power goes out, then slide into a recess in so that the elevator below you, travelling upward at 50kph, can safely pass us by while we let people off"

    All I can say is, please at least make that thing look sturdy. And don't have any of those "permit expires, Nov 7, 1994" papers you see all over Berkeley's elevators.
  • Today I read a bit by a developer on the Star Wars MMORPG. He mentioned that most of the people of the planet Coruscant never left their home building.

    How many of the people born in this building would never need to leave? This building will be done in around 20 years, so by then work on buildings for several times as many people will be in the works. Will Earth soon be home to giant city sized buildings, all just connections of sub-buildings? Couldn't we just hollow out mountains or something?

    Regardless of how it works out, this whole thing scares me. I think I just found the premise for my first sci-fi novel.
  • The Chinese people had never been agressive towards their neighboors.


    The Chinese had never been domineering. They've never sent their troops to intervene in other country's political affairs

    In the second part of the XXth century alone, China has invaded (not "intervened in the affairs of"; "invaded") three different countries: Korea, Viet Nam, and Tibet.

    *Every* country in the region has suffered a Chinese invasion at some point in its history. Some have managed to fight back, some haven't.

    China behaves exactly like any other big, overwhelmingly powerful empire in history. The only difference with the US are time (4000 years for China, two centuries for the US) and the fact that China doesn't have the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to protect it against invasions. Yes, it has been invaded by Mongols, Turks, Japanese, and any other big empire of the region. Yet being a victim at some point doesn't prevent you from becoming an aggressor later on. Ever wondered why a region of China was called "Interior Mongolia" ?

    Thomas Miconi
  • Imagine how long it would take to get to the top of this thing

    2 minutes according to the article.
  • Of course they will have Futurama-style air tubes that suck you to the top. Woosh!
  • The point of terrorism isn't how many people you kill, but how big of a media splash you make. Taking that tower down would be on EVERY channel and newspaper for months, and people would want to know why it was done (which gets the terrorist's messsage out).

    I imagine some anti-tech luddite group would have a good reason to destroy something that is so artificial, which would make people scared to live in one in the future and discourage more from being built.
  • he is talking about this:

    http://www.todd.demon.co.uk/encyc/million.htm [demon.co.uk]

    british billion != american billion

    so that tower is REALLY expensive!
  • In any case it doesn't typically result in hip surgery. Bad injuries among skaters are not that common at all.. Maybe in a contact sport like ice hockey you get a little more injuries but that is to be expected. Speed skating and figure skating are actually fairly safe if done properly and under professional supervision.
  • Although constructing such a huge building scores high on the coolness factor and even generates a bunch of tourism and national pride such a project is a terrible idea.

    There are several problems.

    Today's tallest buildings such as the towers in Kuala Lampur are actually less useful and efficient than somewhat smaller sky-scrappers because of the amount of building space occupied by elevators. Once a building reachs a certain number of stories/height the amount of space inside the building that needs to be devoted to elevators becomes so large as to make the building economically impractical.

    As another poster noted the price tag of about 15B USD is extremely high

    There is also the issue of earthquakes and wind. Constructing the largest sky-scrappers today takes most to all of architects and civil engineers Knowhow to prevent them from falling over in a storm of earthquake. The proposed Arcology goes way beyond anything we seem to have the Knowhow to do, which is quite dangerous. We also have 0 experience in building things of this size.

    Speaking of dangerous, China has quite a reputation for buildings that collapse due to poor construction. This is because the Chinese goverment is not regulating construction effectively. Here are a couple stories on the recent collapse of a shopping mall in China in which dozens of people died. Time of India [timesofindia.com] &nbsp &nbspChinadaily [chinadaily.com.cn] Note... this is not the recent case of a school explosion in China which killed 41 [timesofindia.com].

    If China needs to build large buildings to stop urban sprawl, which may well be the case, multiple 60 or 70 story buildings would be a much better solution.
  • Exactly -- socialism is the dream, and communism is the reality. A true Marxist (socialist) state has never existed... instead, terrorists use Marx's ideals to obtain support, and then follow in Lenin's footsteps. As in "The whole 'military government' thing is only temporary until we get the nation under control, then we'll work on being socialist afterwards" and the "afterwards" never happens. Socialism will never work because it is unnatural; it goes against human nature. Once a man has power he will not give it up so easily.

    With regards to China, I find it rather amusing that even after all these years, they still cling to the old faux-Marxist terminology. The hotdog fighter pilot was given the title of "Revolutionary Martyr!" Communists don't seem to understand that once you attain power, you are no longer revolutionary, you are the status quo! You're the establishment now! The left and the right switch sides, and the game begins anew. The most "revolutionary" thing the old men who run the PRC have done lately is evacuate their bowels.

    True, the West doesn't respect China, and that isn't going to change any time soon. The PRC won't last another fifty years, though, and maybe the new establishment will do better.


  • Wouldn't that floating city thingy, complete with it's own airstrip, qualify as a arcology, albeit a mobile one?
  • I'd love to base jump it

    You could quite possibly attain terminal velocity (120 mph) before having to open your canopy. IIRC, it takes a freefall of ~1500 feet to hit terminal velocity, and since the minimum opening altitude for experienced jumpers is 2000 feet, you would just be hitting terminal as you open.

    The AOL-Time Warner-Microsoft-Intel-CBS-ABC-NBC-Fox corporation:
  • Structure to rest on 3,000ft wide concrete base with lake to absorb earthquake shockwaves

    Now, if my maths is right then the area that would have to be set aside for this thing is

    (1500^2)*pi = approx 700000 sqr ft

    This is assuming that not much else could really be built on this area.
    That is 70 sqr ft per person.
    Now, would you really get more people in that area by building a great big building, or by having 700000 sqr ft of mid rise (3-4 floor) housing, and which would be cheaper? Anyone know how much floor space there would be per person in this tower (there are no dimensions except the height on the times article)?
  • ..So what? Tall buildings are *so* twentieth century. Whatever happened to those great big pyramid buildings ala Bladerunner? I mean come on people, its the year Two-Thousand-and-One! Lets get with the times!

  • they may even need to keep the upper levels pressurized

    Not likely. Pressure goes up underwater wayyyy faster than it goes down with altitude. 10 meters of water = umpteen kilometers of air, pressure-wise. Probably the only thing they'll need to worry about is keeping out the cold, which our faithful engineers are probably already quite adept at.

    My favorite sci-fi revenge was against this paranoid corporate executive type who kept a pressurized office in a high rise. Someone hacked the ventilation computers and rigged them to turn suck the air out of his office. Also locked the doors and since the office had basically unbreakable glass...


  • Can you say popping ears? Seriously, With that much height difference, I wonder if there will be health problems. I know that going from sea level to about 5000 feet is a noticible oxygen difference. Try going up 3000+ feet in 2 mins...
  • Funny, a few weeks ago I was in Mt. Shasta county in N. Cali, and I was studying a giant redwood. Large carpenter ants lived in the bark, and tended to their vertical obligations. I thought about creating vertical structures that contained complete city blocks: laundry, shopping, entertainment, services, etc: giant hotels, basically. It reminded me of some of the eagle-eye shots and flybys of the Jedi planet during Phantom Menace, how then entire planet was concrete with giant skyscrapers. (sorry, I'm not a star-wars fan...)

    Sure there are loads of issues to work out (security, safety, etc.), but the idea of centralizing everything tremendously reduces dependence on automobiles: everything from commuting (shopping, work) to distribution and delivery.

    Can't wait to see it.
  • Air pressure...

    I don't know that air pressure would be a problem. I live in a well-populated area (Salt Lake City) in which around a million and a half people live at about 4300 feet.

    I routinely fly to the west coast at sea level, with no ill effects coming or going.

    In fact, I can drive to almost 7000 feet within about half an hour, and that doesn't bother me either. So I doubt a 3700 feet building would be much of a health risk -- at least not on purely elevation-related grounds.
  • Hey! We were too invaded, during the War of 1812, and the pain has never gone away. How could we as a nation possibly forget?
  • China wants it built as a [phallic] symbol of power. It's funny because they're contracting Europeans to engineer it, but surely they won't let their own people know that.
  • And knowing the way China is with athletes, I can see it now: The "People's Olympic Athlete's quarters" somewhere in the top section.

    I don't understand what it is with the obsession with physical prowess. Whatever physical feat a man can accomplish, a machine can be built to accomplish it much more quickly, efficiently and frankly just better. Ooh look me at me, I can lift 500 lbs. Big fucking deal. We have cranes that lift 500 tons. Want to launch that 500 lbs into space? Just try it. Ooh, look at you, you can run 11 miles per hour for a minute. Wow I'm so fucking impressed. The worst one is rowing. They've already got the boat. By using oars they acknowledge that they are way too inefficient to not use a machine. The only thing they are providing is raw power. Buy a fucking 10hp motor and kick your 5 rowers off and you'll go a hell of a lot faster!!

    Fucking olympics.. what a fucking commercialized waste of everyone's time. Man those athletes must feel stupid when they permantly disable themselves in a training injury.

  • Man that must be one hell of a traffic jam in the morning when 40,000 people try to leave the building to go to work in the morning.

    What.. they work in it? Give me a break. Sure, 10,000 of them are maintenance for the building, I'll be generous and say that 10,000 actually work in other jobs that happen to be located in the building, but give me a break.

  • That's a dumb estimate. The building won't even be half full. So it's at least $280k. And of course the communist government will have to use it as some sort of projects so half the people that live there won't even pay rent. But hey.. other world leaders will tremble in fear at the Amazing Chinese Engineering Greatness of the European-designed Symbol of National Pride. Or something.
  • They are stupid. It'd be a lot safer to build them underground or submerged in the middle of the ocean.
  • Knowing the Chinese, they won't need the help.
  • you are doing here is putting your words in their mouths

    Oh, like the Chinese did with the US "apology." I'll put whatever damn words and phallic symbols I want in their mouths.

  • You're obviously ignorant of the concepts behind exercise

    Excercise typically does not result in requiring hip surgery before the age of 20 because of jumping up and down on ice 6 days a week for 14 hours a day.

    Olympics is supposed to be a celebration of Man's capabilities, not machine's.

    Well then it must be pretty embarrassing when every signal capability is easily exceeded by a trivial machine.

  • Imagine the shadow this thing creates! So long, you could probably see it move at its tip.
  • 40 yards is not 200 stories. 1 yard = 1 meter (approx) to use a measurement you're familiar with. That's 10 stories, which most people should be able to in about a a couple minutes. It's a much shorter distance than some current apartment buildings, where everybody goes down the stairs if there's a fire. Of course, there's a tremendous cost to put fire doors in that often...
  • leave it to those crazy Chinese to design a building that look like a grain of rice.
  • My guess is that if the Chinese government wants to do this, they'll find the expertise, even if they have to bring it in from abroad. It isn't too surprising, really, that they'd want to do this. Look at the Three Gorges hydro project. The thing is monstrous, and it's been said that something on that scale isn't just being built for practical purposes. It's more of a symbol of Chinese progress, something that the government can point to as an example of how the country is developing and can compete with anyone else in the world. The same holds true for this building. I don't think anyone can honestly say that the same goals can't be accomplished with several smaller buildings, but that isn't the point of building it. On a side note, can you imagine the propagation pattern of a TV or radio signal broadcast from the top of such a structure? In the U.S., the tallest broadcast towers are usually no more than 2,000 feet. This thing will be almost twice that height.
  • I believe that in the USA, the first 2000 ft of airspace belong to the landowner. The rest the airspace is the Government. I don't understand why the law exist.


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  • Creating hydroelectric dams is of benefit if your goal is to create more power. It may not be ultimately beneficial because you may end up doing more harm than good.
  • What if there is a fire down there?
  • Ehmm.. 700000 / 100000 is 7 square feet, not 70...

    Also, note that they're not only supposed to have appartments for 100.000 people, but also services like hospitals, shops, offices etc..

  • This is ridiculous, and shows a total lack of understanding of both communism and socialism.

    First of all, there is no such thing as a communist state - the term is an oxymoron. According to Marx, the state exists only as a tool of class oppression, and hence a socialist revolution is a revolution where the working classes take the power from the capitalist classes and use the state power to oppress the capitalists, and gradually nationalise the means of productions.

    The end result is supposed to be a system where the state withers away (Lenins "State and Revolution" goes into detail on this process), as the capitalist class at a certain point cease to exist as the only way the capitalists will be able to sustain themselves is to become part of the working classes.

    Only from the point where the class struggle end, and indeed the entire system of economic classes seize to exist, and with it the state itself as a political power, can the government be said to be communist as defined by Marx and Lenin.

    Not even the current Chinese leadership or the old Soviet leadership claimed that their countries are/were communist, but that they are socialist.

    Even that is a dubious claim at best, unless you start redefining the terms.

    Further, I disagree with you that the "left and right" switch sides. Normally, yes, you have a period of counterrevolutionary activity after any revolution, where the class losing the revolution attempts to reassert its power. However, after a while, the "normal" pattern reemerges and the political left is again the center of revolutionary activity.

  • You're assuming the building will only hold appartments, which is clearly not what the article says: They mention hospitals, shops, parks, etc. Basically, the complete works of support services for 100.000 people. Now, are you suggesting that 10 billion pounds is that expensive for more or less building a city suitable for 100.000 residents? Because that's essentially the suggestion.

    Once you start factoring in all the businesses, it starts to make a lot more sense. Also, you need to take into account any economical advantages gained by using less ground space. China for instance does not have much arable land. And as mentioned in the article, the growth estimates for Shanghai is horrendous, and the cost of building infrastructure and allocating land to handling the influx of new inhabitants may very well be a lot higher than building a few towers of this size.

  • This is solving a fundamental infrastructure issue. China is still early on in its urbanization process - a process every developing country in history so far has gone through, or is in the process of going through.

    This creates immense problems as the city populations are exploding, and basic things like handling transit systems, sewers, electricity and water become logistical nightmares. The more that can be done to push larger amounts of people into a smaller ground area frees up space that can be used for other things. Food production being an example that springs to mind.

  • You're assuming they'll be pumping it all straight up, which would be ridiculous. First of all, for a building this tall, it would be natural to have several reservoirs placed in the building, and filling the lowest reservoir with one set of pumps, then pump from that one into the next one, and so on.

    Second, since they plan on having lots of businesses and other support functions for the population, why not a resirculation plant as well?

    If you've first moved that much water up there, why let people drop it down again in the sewer? Place a water resirculation plant or three in the building at different heights, and save on the amount of plumbing required to both pump water up and let sewage down. And it will reduce the pressure on their existing sewage treatment plants.

  • In a building that tall you won't let all the lifts go from ground to the top. A lot of them will share the same ground space, but be limited to smaller ranges of floors, as a lot of the traffic will be between different floors in the building. Especially since this isn't intended as a purely residential building, but mixed with housing, businesses, even hospitals.
  • Since I doubt we'll see these structures for about another 25-40 years, I think that we may just be in sync with SimCity 2000. I remember how much excitement I felt as I approached the year when Arcologies were first available. :-) They had better be sure they build lots of police stations around these massive structures. With such dense population, crime is sure to increase and public opinion will go down, hence reducing the score.
  • by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) on Sunday April 22, 2001 @10:42PM (#273503)
    Okay I just hope this thing gets built with a little better quality controls than Shanhai normally uses for public structures. I've seen pictures brought back of lopsided buildings and power lines run over trees rather than power poles. China is going to desparate measures to get their name of the list of countries with World Wonders while throwing caution to the wind. The three gorges dam is a good example of this. THey are destroying archeological sites as well as displacing thousands of people in order to make a resivoir of questionable use to the public.
  • by pmc ( 40532 ) on Monday April 23, 2001 @02:39AM (#273504) Homepage
    As for simulators being able to predict the behavior of structures in adverse conditions, what about London's gloriously wobbly Millenium Foot Bridge, which was closed the day it opened because it was too unstable?

    That is a classic case of the triumph of reality of simulation. For those who don't know the London Millenium Bridge is a new type of bridge - horizontal suspension. The architects and engineers extensively modelled it and worked out that it would perform within acceptable design parameters. What they missed was that when people walk across the bridge they exert a vertical force (the foot going down) and a horizontal one (which is usually small, and therefore usually unimportant).

    This horizontal force increases when you are on a swaying structure, so once the bridge starts to sway the users are adding more energy to the bridge fighting the swaying. The resonant frequency of the bridge is about the same period as a stride, which a) adds even more energy to the bridge and b) tends to make everybody walk in step, which increases even more the positive feedback, resulting in a very wobbly bridge indeed.

  • by Illserve ( 56215 ) on Sunday April 22, 2001 @09:40PM (#273505)
    Well something like this is going to be necessary as our population continues to explode. Life once again imitates Simcity. When are we going to put Maxis in charge of city planning here in the US?

    I wonder if myoelectric fibers(a technology pulled straight from my ass that sounds plausible) that run the entire height of the building could generate significant energy as the thing wobbles 8 feet back and forth at its peak. I know it's not a huge wobble, but it's quite a massive distance (half a mile!), and obviously alot of energy is going to be absorbed by the thing as it moves.

  • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Sunday April 22, 2001 @09:36PM (#273506)
    Yay! One down! Now to build tons more so they'll all launch into space.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • by proxima ( 165692 ) on Sunday April 22, 2001 @09:51PM (#273507)
    For purposes of my having a grasp on the cost, I converted the article's estimate of 10 billion British pounds to U.S. dollars - about $14.4 billion. Now, I wondered, how long would it take for the Chinese government (assuming they built it) to gain their investment back?

    If I did my math correctly, in order to gain back the $14.4 billion out of 100,000 people through rent and other profitable businesses within the tower, they would need to reap about $120 in profits per month from each person for 10 years. I think such a goal is definatley possible, especially if the 10 year goal is extended to 20. Remember, that number is the amount of profit after all other expenses, maintainence, and bureaucratic costs have been paid.

    This sort of project would truly show the world that China's 1.2 billion people and vast landscape truly have an incredible amount of power. From a technological standpoint, I'd love to see this thing built.

  • by btb ( 258614 ) on Monday April 23, 2001 @12:22AM (#273508)
    The US bombed dams in N. Korea during the Korean war, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians through drowning and starvation (crops destroyed, no irrigation). You don't hear about that too often. The Japanese did it in WWII as well. -brad
  • Every few weeks we see another of these projects. Usually designed by some well-meaning academic team or proposed by a big-thinking developer they're trumpeted in the Sunday papers as a new wonder.

    Why are they in the Sunday papers (or Saturday if you're in a part of the world where that's the bulky-paper day?) Because they're not really news. Rather they're mildly entertaining filler. Nobody seriously expects these projects to go anywhere, including their authors.

    Rather they're explorations, a way of getting folks talking & thinking, a way of giving a bunch of students a project and a way to get a few news stories published.

    Actual blueprints? Nothing of the sort. There's no real finances, no real backers, just some folks willing to make positive noises and to push their own pet projects.

    A Bering-Strait Bridge (or tunnel), the tallest building, a mega-city in the wilderness, personal flying cars, etc. We read about these every month but how often do they pan out?

    Oh sure there's a sorta-prototype of the flying car (though the kewl fiberglass chassis they always wheel out has never flown) & yes the Chunnel did get built. Indeed there have been some extraordinary bridges built & a number of very impressive civil engineering projects in recent years. Heck, the Petronas Towers were generally assumed to be a joke when announced (Kuala where?) but what percentage of these do pan out? 1, 2 percent, tops?

    Sorry, but just looking at the sketch in the article one can see it's more of a theory then a practicality. 12 flat floors held up by columns with standard office blocks & parkland on each floor? Why not combine the columns & the buildins for efficiency/stabilty? Plus what's with all of the wasted space? Nobody builds a couple hundred stories in the air only to use a dozen floors & then allocate 50% of that floorspace for greenspace.

    Mega-construction is a fascinating topic & there are lots of neat things going on but this, well it's hardly a serious effort. Lets spend some time on something a bit more likely to happen at least, a better candidate for the first arcology.

    Anyone have any good links on more likely mega-projects coming up?

  • I used to live near a large dam. If somebody took made a sufficiently large hole, it would have taken approximately 5 minutes for the water to flood much of a town of about 70,000 people. The floods could then potentially devastate many, many communities along Australia's only significant inland waterway, and cut the water supply of Adelaide (a city of ~1 million people) in half until the dam could be repaired.

    If terrorists want to kill thousands of people and wreak havoc, it's not all that hard. My guess is the only thing that stops it is that, as well as the efforts of the intelligence services, is those with the brains to plan such a thing realize that it's not not a particularly productive tactic.

    Go you big red fire engine!

  • First of all for fires in a building a dozen stories tall or a coupla hundred, it's no different. There's no way to assist anyone over 6 or so stories up.

    These days all tall buildings advise their occupants to go a few stories up or down & hope the 'fireproof' construction holds. Since the contents of these buildings are fairly well regulated there's not a lot of danger though it is a lot of eggs to put in one basket.

    As to elevators Otis & other companies have been grappling with these issues for years. The first solution was to build high-speed elevators & express elevators. The came double-deck elevators as so to get double duty out of a single car in a single shaft. Also Sky-Lobbies were intoduced where folks going to upper floors change elevators part-way up.

    The current hot technology is self-propelled vehicles using onboard electric moters & the equivalent of cog rails. The cars can be centrally controlled and are able to move both vertically & horizontally (yes, as in Star Trek's "Turbolifts".)

    The reason horizontal motion is important is it allows cars to pass each other in the shafts, one simply goes onto a 'siding' or otherwise moves aside. This allows multiple vehicles to share a limited number of shafts saving building space & keeping costs down.

    However my concern is more about the surrounding infrastructure. The resource-requirements of an ediface of this scale will be astounding. The sheer volume of water & sewage, food & other consumables, trash, electricity, even the transportation to get these basic materials, consumer goods, not to mention people in & out of this will be mind-boggling.

    Essentially you're taking a good-sized city & placing it vertically in a few square blocks. This means that all of the support services that generally move in & around a city of that size will need to compress into those same few square blocks. Imagine the commuters, delivery vans, trucks, sanitation, pipelines, powerlines, telecomm, etc. that make up your part of the world compressed into something this (comparatively) small.

    Even with extensive automation, advanced delivery systems, recycling, waste reduction & other 'impact-lowering' techniques it's going to be terribly hard to support something of this scale.

    Building the tower may turn out the easy part, keeping it going may be the ongoing challenge.

  • by Glowing Fish ( 155236 ) on Sunday April 22, 2001 @09:41PM (#273512) Homepage

    Yet another story on Slashdot that shows that Slashdot is turning into all-stoner news.


    So, dude, do you ever think about like, how wasteful cities are? Like, all those cities spread out, like, messing up the nature and stuff.

    yeah, thats a total bummer dude. like, rats, and beavers and stuff need homes to


    Anyway, like, what if we built like a building that was , like, a mile tall? And then we could, like, fill it up with Chinese! and they would be able to chill there and everything! They would have like, movie theaters and everything.


    What would be even cooler, is, if we like genetically engineered Chinese people to be, like 3 feet tall, so we could, fit, like, 7 as many people in!

    Dude, and we could like, grow, them hydroponically and stuff!


    Yeah, and we could run the whole thing off a nine-volt battery!

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer