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Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

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  • Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

    Given the way city design packs people in like sardines, and the vulnerability that places them in, is there any actual utility to skyscrapers? Doesn't modern communications technology obsolete them? Why not spread the denizens of NYC through the Dakotas at very low density? Imagine how much less vulerable we'd all be to terrorism if we didn't all cluster together like rats in a wall.

    I work in a manufacturing facility, and I can understand how dense packing can facilitate the movement of physical goods. But we don't need that density for the information industries that typically occupy the highrises of the inner city, do we?
    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

  • #2
    Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

    I don't think it's required to pack people into small spaces, but it just happens. People tend to congregate into large population centers, and as the need to stay close fights the need for room, we build up instead of out. Why spend the money to drive 30 miles to your when you can spend a little more to live above it?

    And really, if you look at it from a Civ point of view, it's all about culture. The barren Dakotas have little, New York has a lot. People live where the culture is.
    [squadl]
    "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

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    • #3
      Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

      Originally posted by Underworld
      Mmmm, Skyscraper, I love you
      There is no reason to have a skyscraper, except as ST noted, that people tend to want to congregate in the centers where a certain level of culture, services (mass transit, shopping centers, restaurants), and opportunity (jobs, particulalry in diversity of jobs) exist.

      New York, Chicago are great examples of this. There is no room, so you build up. In other areas, like Dallas, Paris, LA, you build out, resulting in a gigantic sprawl that belies anything like a community, whereas NYC and Chicago have a level of fierce loyalty to the place and the general culture that it hs developed.

      In addition, many industries, particularly finance, require proximity to the decision makers and to the sources of exchange. Stock broking, securities lending, banking, etc., are still personal businesses, despite technologies that should make that obsolete.

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      • #4
        Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

        Skyscrapers are an extremely efficient use of energy and building materials, as compared to private homes or rural areas. Think about how much electricity you waste in sprawling energy grids as opposed to closed urban systems. If we do get hit with an energy crunch, we will see the suburbs wither under the cost of infrastructure.
        In game handle: Steel Scion
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        • #5
          Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

          Also keep in mind that spreading people out means it takes more work to get them places. When you want to go to work, or go to a store, or go to a friend's house, it's a much shorter trip in a city than it would be if we were all spread out like a layer of Vegemite over the big ol' states.

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          • #6
            Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

            But note that when I suggest eliminating them, I'm also suggesting eliminating the daily commute to them. (I hate driving, and I particularly hate driving through rush hour stop-and-go traffic.)

            For companies that don't like their employees working in a home office, I've seen a suggestion to rent office space in local strip malls for their remote employees. Imagine being able to walk to the end of the block to go to work at your "office" thousands of miles away.

            To facilitate "face to face" meetings, we can make more use of video conferencing. Apparently this experienced a surge in interest after 9/11 when the airlines were in so much disarray. Considering the lost time due to security measures, this could save a bundle in executive costs.
            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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            • #7
              Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

              Originally posted by ScratchMonkey
              To facilitate "face to face" meetings, we can make more use of video conferencing. Apparently this experienced a surge in interest after 9/11 when the airlines were in so much disarray. Considering the lost time due to security measures, this could save a bundle in executive costs.
              Personally speaking, I hate this idea. Although I work in the tech field, I have almost as much hate for technology as I do love. I hate phones, I hate video conferencing, I hate the computerized check out lanes at the grocery store. If I'm going to meet with someone to have a conversation and they're within reasonable transit distance, I'll go see them rather than the alternative.
              [squadl]
              "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

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              • #8
                Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

                What a cool thread. TG's community continues to impress me with the range of thought represented. +rep to ScratchMonkey.

                Originally posted by Steeler
                Skyscrapers are an extremely efficient use of energy and building materials, as compared to private homes or rural areas. Think about how much electricity you waste in sprawling energy grids as opposed to closed urban systems. If we do get hit with an energy crunch, we will see the suburbs wither under the cost of infrastructure.
                This is accurate and correct, at least from my point of view. Skyscrapers are extrodinarily efficient both in terms of physical footprint and energy/infrastructure footprint. They are an efficient design born purely out of necessity, and have only begun to benefit from architectural form.

                Suburbs, on the other hand, are a design based purely on one thing - the automobile. In the worst design examples the needs of the human being are replaced by the needs of the automobile. For example - houses with two and three car garages as the frontmost, forward-facing design element. This layout tends to socially isolate the inhabitants of the dwelling - something many would argue is the opposite goal of a 'neighborhood' development.

                The concept of a more urban suburbia - or even urban rural plains - is a fascinating one, though. I'm curious if anyone here is familar with Frank Lloyd Wright's "Broadacre" and "Usonia" projects. Links below for those interested:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usonia
                http://www.arch.columbia.edu/DDL/projects/usonia/

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                • #9
                  Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

                  As a likely candidate for Aspergers Syndrome, I dread being around other people. I like the isolation of my suburban home, and love those days when I can telecommute. I typically work in the middle of the night, which is great for isolation but sucks when I actually have to go shop for something. So the idea of packing people like sardines into a concrete tower seems pretty alien to me. Esp. when the tower has to be loaded up every morning and drained out every night. Surely that process isn't very efficient.
                  Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                  snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                  Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

                    I certainly wouldn't want to live in the city, either. In fact, I want to find a hundred acres of land that I can put a house smack dab in the middle of, so I can't see any neighbors in any direction.

                    I don't understand people that actually want to live like sardines...
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                    • #11
                      Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

                      I want Cing as my neighbor. ;)
                      Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                      snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                      Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

                        I don't understand people that actually want to live like sardines...
                        I don't understand why anyone would want to live further than 50 miles from the sea.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

                          I want to live by a mountain stream 30 miles from a major metropolitan area's amenities and within a few hours' drive to the ocean. However, like most people on the planet, I make the best of the hand I've been played and live where I must if I want to provide for my children.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Skyscrapers, sardines, and lemmings

                            I'm happy to say that I've had the opportunity to try a variety of living conditions and eventually figured out what suited me best. I was raised in the suburbs, moved to the high mountains, then into the city. After all of those experiences, I've opted to get a good sized tract of land where I can't see my 4 neighbors, 50 miles from the sea and 50 miles from the mountains. I'm really happy and thankful that I'm able to do this.

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