Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Hillside Construction

Dimension Three Palaces
Here is draft four of the next chapter of the first section of People Without Borders.

A Palace on Every Corner, Hillsides Down Every Street

By John Taylor; 2010 May 04, Jamal 06, 167 BE

We have been discussing Flora Tristan's ideas for a cooperative social security system that would be run and financed not by the state but by workers and professionals themselves. Broad-ranging social institutions called "worker's palaces" would be featured in prominent places, such as town squares and under domed-over street corners. This system of public "palaces" would be designed, in their charters and in the constitutions of local governments, to place the virtuous woman and her enterprise front and center, in answer to the prayer in the Bible to,

"Give her of the fruit of her hands; Let her works praise her in the gates." (Proverbs, 31:31, WEB)

These worker's palaces, located on street corners, are the centerpiece of a new kind of infrastructure supporting a wholly novel, cooperative architecture called "hillside housing." Hillside construction would be made possible by an integrated, intermodal transport system. In these developments the law would permit only bicycle and pedestrian traffic in the open street. Longer trips must take modes of transport running either underground or through the sub-basements of buildings.

This advance in transportation Buckminster Fuller compared to the leap from unicellular amoebas to multi-cellular life forms. The latter abide in three dimensions rather than two. No animal exposes its nerves or blood vessels to outside view the way primitive life forms do, yet we do just that with our open roads and rail lines.

Whatever the travel technology, be it evacuated tube transit, light rail, electric automobiles or some mode yet to be invented, the essential thing is that cargo and commuters take any means that is invisible and inaudible to the passer-by on the street. With planes, trains and automobiles are banished from sight and hearing, their din and danger will cease to destroy the public forum.

Suddenly large spaces will be opened up on every street corner. Crossroads will resemble the stoa, peripatea and agora of ancient Athens, a safe, silent and pleasant place for all to stroll through, converse and spend time. They can be domed over, freeing them from the caprice of rain, snow and wind.

The banishment of intrusive transport will permit a total re-design of streets and roads, as well as the buildings that run along them. Hillside construction builds everything from the ground up for improved frequency and quality of human contact, while integrating renewable energy, local agriculture and, of course, eliminating pollution, emissions, waste and other negative human impact on the environment. 

We will discuss all these aspects of hillside housing in more detail in future essays, starting with "Neighbourhood Design for Health" next time.


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