The future of the urbanism: to live underground to survive

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Surfing the web, I found two amazing articles about the future of the urbanism and land planning: the urban life must to develop it under the surface of the streets changing the landscape as we have seen it from centuries. It’s more than a zombie paranoia… it’s a possibility to live together in a better way.

All this discussion starts  when the architect James Ramsey saw it:

I imagined a park with paths, benches and trees. A park that could be used in any weather, because it gets no rain. That it also gets no sunlight is a handicap, but not one he couldn’t overcome.

If the 20th century belonged to the skyscraper, argues Daniel Barasch, who is working with Ramsey to build New York’s—and possibly the world’s—first underground park, then the frontier of architecture in the 21st is in the basement.

In the vision of the article of FastCo Magazine, this possibility:

Not to get too morbid here, but as author Annalee Newitz points out in her excellent book Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction, underground cities may be humanity’s last hope if the surface of the Earth becomes unlivable, like during a nuclear apocalypse. “As more cities send vital roots underground, we create a world that is inadvertently preparing itself for a radiation emergency,” she writes. “The more we make the subsurface livable, the more likely it is that humans will survive to see the next several millennia.”

Amazing, huh… In the other hand, the vision of the Smithsonian Magazine :

There are advantages to underground construction, not all of them obvious, says Eduardo de Mulder, a Dutch geologist. Although excavation is expensive and technically challenging in places like the Netherlands with a high water table, underground space is cheaper to maintain—there are no windows to wash, no roof or facade exposed to weather. The energy cost of lighting is more than offset by savings on heating and cooling in the relatively constant below-ground temperature. Cities with harsh winters or blazing summers have been at the forefront of the building-down trend. Underground real estate in crowded Shanghai and Beijing, expanding at around 10 percent a year since the turn of the century, is projected to reach 34 square miles in the capital by 2020. Helsinki’s master plan calls for significantly expanding its tunnels and more than 400 underground facilities, which includes a seawater-cooled data center.

The discussion it’s on the table for all the #landscapelovers… Who is the better way to combine the landscape values and the underground cities? We will miss the sun and the blue sky when we live in the future Earthscraper (an inverted pyramid designed to go 65 stories straight down, with a central shaft for daylight and air, remains unbuilt)? Could be a solution to the inhabitants in the high contaminated cities like Shangai and Fukushima?

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