Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Room of One's Own



Introducing the ROO

By John Taylor; 2010 May 18, Azamat 01, 167 BE

Here is draft four of the next chapter in the infrastructure section of "People Without Borders."

The present world economy is highly weaponized. Nations spend over a trillion dollars a year just to keep their armies equipped with the latest killing machines. The formation of a world senate and democratic parliament of humanity would eliminate any real need for national governments to defend themselves from one another and from terrorists within. Large standing armies could be demobilized, disbanded and the military industrial complex's huge labour pool could be put to productive use for the benefit of all. Just as important as re-deploying soldiers, the media, knowledge industry and educational system that now prop up war and division could be de-militarized and converted to peaceful ends.

This change of direction would create a huge unused labour pool while freeing up vast funds for reconstruction. A world senate would be wise, therefore, to take advantage of this brief window of opportunity by immediately investing this human and monetary capital in mega-projects such as the World Belt just discussed. As experience accumulates, the next step would be the colonization of deserts and mountainous regions.

We have already outlined some of the many physical and structural projects that could be undertaken at this time on the macro-economic level. These include hidden high-speed transportation links using evacuated and pneumatic tube transit. These transport arteries would be part of the world belt, a globe-encircling belt of power lines and hillside housing developments.

Most notably, the world belt's superconducting HVDC power lines would for the first time combine electrical generation, storage and transmission in a single system. Buckminster Fuller calculated that as soon as the Asian and American grids are connected across the Bering Strait, suddenly the day and night sides of the globe would connect, allowing all-but-unlimited, inexpensive electric power, even at peak load.

On the local level, we have outlined ideas like worker's palaces built on domed street corners, stoa streets and hillside construction. In future sections of People without Borders we will consider the many intellectual, ethical and political changes that will also have to take place at this crucial juncture of history. We will need to reform scientific funding, set up a universal curriculum, reform property law, introduce co-operative ownership and democracy to industry, as well as many other reforms to politics, religion and finance.

However, we have neglected one foundational element of this global infrastructure. This is only visible locally but it depends wholly on the macroeconomic infrastructure that we just mentioned. This is an elaborate system of containerized, mobile housing units that I call the ROO, or room of one's own. Like most of these infrastructural innovations, the idea has been floated many times. It was popularized by science fiction writers like Jules Verne and partially worked out by engineering visionaries like Buckminster Fuller, who wrote,

"And so, if we solve the energy and food problems, how do we provide good, inexpensive housing for everyone? Simple. Shelter people in mass-produced, self-contained, surplus-energy-producing, geodesic dome homes which would be helicopter-delivered to anywhere for a tenth the cost of conventional houses." (http://www.buckminster.info/Strategy/GrandStrategy.htm)

Unlike Fuller's proposal, however, the ROO would not be designed primarily as a free standing structure. It is a unit that fits into a larger structure, and is intentionally designed to depend upon larger, local facilities, since this is the most ecologically and socially friendly form of construction.

With our present fractured habits of thinking, we think of large megaprojects and local grassroots initiatives as mutually exclusive, as alternative ways of dealing with reality. Quite to the contrary, they are complementary and dependent upon one another. Comenius showed that he understood this when he proposed that a world senate not only found continental and world governments, but also this central focus be balanced by the simultaneous inauguration of strengthened household and neighbourhood governments.

A ROO construction system would be unimaginable without the above standards and projects already well on the way to full implementation. Its full promise will come to flower only as global infrastructure mega-projects germinate in local empowerment and grassroots initiatives.

A Description of the ROO

The Room of One's Own, or ROO, allocates to every world citizen a standard enclosure the size of a standard air freight shipping container. Just as matter is comprised of atoms and organisms are collections of cells, so the cosmopolitan condition is the product of many ROO's; ROO's are the physical expression of a Comenian world order. This minimum, standard living unit fits into standard slots in all hillside buildings. The ROO is designed to be easily carried from any point to any other by the transport facilities of hillside developments. Each unit is a standard size, fully modular, so that it can be rapidly shipped to any point on the world belt and its subsidiary branches. In areas that are not directly connected to the World Belt, helicopters and blimps can carry them by air to any building with a ROO standard receptacle. The ROO can also be moved around within or between household compounds or apartment complexes, as required.

Each resident retains this minimum private space, the ROO, as a fundamental human right, from cradle to grave. It is integrated with a virtual analogue in software, which also changes and adapts in standardized ways to the needs of early childhood, adulthood and old age. Typically, the ROO will serve as the nucleus of all major activities, residential, educational, recreational and professional. It can be kept together or split into sub-units located in one's residence, at school, in the workplace or a recreational facility.

The ROO is the visible outcome of a standard building code for the entire globe, mediated by the democratic world government and adapted by household and neighbourhood authorities to local needs and conditions. The ROO will be the cornerstone of a new kind of architecture that I call Consultative Construction, for "consultation" is the best word to describe what determines what the ROO contains, and where it is fit into larger unities. Let us delve more into what Consultative Construction is next time.


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