This sketch is from a series of drawings developed for the "Redwood" urban concept studies. With current concerns about debt and energy resources, the basic idea was to come up with a highly optimistic vision of a possible future if these problems were solved (as hinted possible in books such as the works by Ray Kurzweil).




This is intentionally fantastical, intended to spark imaginative thinking outside of the constraints of what might be practical with current structural technologies. The concept is based on the assumption of a solution to energy sources (through fusion, intense solar harvesting, and other exotic ideas) and transportation would largely be handled by small podlike machines that can scale and swing between erected frameworks, eliminating the need for roads. In the place of roads, towering structures are erected and dropped into place on roadways, akin to redwoods falling in a forest, allowing new structures to shoot upward from the carcass.


Assume our civilization is collectively caught within an explosion of population, density, interconnection, and large scale artificial intelligence. This considers a combination of non-dystopian population control and managed population accommodation; how to efficiently accommodate nine billion people or more worldwide. This will require a rethinking of how we live together, the distribution of utilities and goods, the provision of open space, farm land, fields and forests, and the improvement of the quality of life for everyone.

The Redwood Concepts, conceptualized as a sketchbook from this future, depicting the potential physical world during this transformation. One of Arthur C Clarke’s laws of prediction is that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. The proposal intentionally stretches the realm of current possibility, requiring a suspension of belief and a even a certain naiveté.

The concept is simple, analogous to the lifecycle of a redwood tree. At the outset of a structural development era, huge rows of tree-like towers would be constructed along an existing transit corridor. Over time, these towers would develop distribution systems, structural cores, and raw material storage. The towers would be eventually felled into the streets, falling in slow motion and coming to rest as a bed for further development.


The resultant larger scale urban structure will integrate architecture with frameworks for utility and transit. The fallen structures are lined with utility distribution and topped with farms and gardens. Like green shoots along a fallen redwood, towers would shoot off from the framework, raising planting platforms and modular housing several stories above the street. Spaces above would be a mix of private housing modules and public open space. Spaces below are cast in beautifully filtered light akin to a forest pathway, supplemented by fusion powered artificial sun lamping. In addition to fostering new vertical growth, the towers would help suspend a multilayered network of tensioned cables for a new transit personal system. Cars and roads running narrowly alongside the fallen towers would eventually be replaced by smart pods, allowing individuals or groups to move freely in all three dimensions, eliminating the need for the traditional street and dramatically altering the traditional urban form.

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