derekmead writes "When urban planners were trying to turn New York's Roosevelt Island from a haven for the disabled and the mentally ill into a liveable city, they got utopian. Lying beneath their plans was an unusual technology: a series of tubes that literally suck garbage from buildings at speeds up to 60 miles per hour to a central collection point, where the trash is taken off the island by truck or barge. Theoretically, that eliminates the emissions and traffic caused by giant garbage trucks, and makes trash sorting easier. Now, more than thirty years after the 'AVAC,' or Automated Vacuum Collection System, was installed, Envac, the Swedish company that built it, is exploring how to upgrade it and even extend the system to other parts of the city. Under a new feasibility study conducted by City University and funded by two city agencies, the easiest option would be to stretch the current system south, to cover the new technology campuses being built on Roosevelt Island by Cornell University and the Technion. "