Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Wall. How Tall?

The Donald wants to build a wall and he wants them to pay for it.

What a pity. If they pay for it, they will own it. If they own it, they will make billions!

The Donald wants to give away all the profits that could have been destined for America. And he wants to build it 30-40 feet high. That's to be expected from a man who thinks small, but there's little profit to be made in such a limited and limiting project.

Let's be ambitious. Let's build a wall 30-40 stories tall, from Tijuana / San Diego to Matamoros / Brownsville, something like this: 

Linear City architecture by Gilles Gauthier
We're talking about 1,989 miles (3,201 kilometers) of linear city.

This is not a new idea...

"I would take the apartment house and all its conveniences and comforts
out among the farms by the aid of wires, pipes and of
rapid and noiseless transportation."
Edgar Chambless, Roadtown, 1910

And there's plenty of support for the idea, including City Mayors from around the world.

Along the Rio Grande, it could look like this...

Arcosanti
Paolo Soleri
Now what does this have to do with solar nations? Well, take a look at this ...


As you can see from the map, Mexico is south of the USA. So all the offices, shopping centers, condos, and podcar networks on the Wall will face south — from one end to the other.

... and properly sized overhangs will shade the south-facing windows
from the high summer sun.
(See more at the Windows South website.)
Now you might ask how everyone in a high rise can have south-facing windows. Aren't half of the units going to face north?

Nope, not if we take Michael Graves' approach:

Grounds for Sculpture, Michael Graves
(YouTube)

... which was modeled after Unite d' Habitation in Marseilles, the architectural scheme originally developed in 1952 by Le Corbusier:









... in which all units had both south and north fa├žades.

You can learn more by exploring the Four Donkey Method of Bioclimatic Design.
Plus there will be Solar Skyways running continuously along the entire route, eliminating the need for Mexican Oil ... or oil of any sort, for that matter.


Conclusions?

The election hasn't happened yet, so the future of "the wall" is to be determined. For now, I can say this much:
  • The expansion of a border wall is ludicrous – and an environmental disaster to boot. 
  • On the other hand, more livable border cities? Well that might be worth further consideration.
  • Solar-oriented buildings (along the border or otherwise) will bring greater comfort and reduce border tensions.
  • Solar transportation will help the energy transition (whether in linear cities or where you live now).
  • Good design can give bright, sunny, comfortable living spaces featuring functional, effective south and north facades.
  • If, in order to pass through the border, you must have dinner with someone living in the linear city, then people on both sides will become better neighbors. 
Let's build solar powered cities, along the border and beyond!