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Matthew Spencer (M, 36)
Anacortes, US
Immortal since Jan 15, 2008
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    From rene
    By Invite Only
    From rene
    Tinkering till the end of...
    From rene
    SC: Return of the...
    From josh
    World without us - Lisbon...
    From rene
    The Search for Polytopia
    Recently commented on
    From matthewspencer
    Drop City
    From nom the puppet
    icecream clouds
    From Spaceweaver
    What if God disappeared?
    From matthewspencer
    Waterpod Project – A...
    From Aaron Moodie
    Not Alone, Just Isolated
    matthewspencer’s projects
    The Total Library
    Text that redefines...

    Start your own revolution
    Catching up with the future. All major institutions in the world today are grappling to come to terms with the internet. The entertainment...
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.


    The Arctic Drifter is designed to travel on the prevailing winds above the Arctic Circle, rolling across the landscape gathering images. When fully inflated, the Drifter presents a 15 m diameter profile, cushioned by Hypalon air-bags (a similar material is used for heavy-duty inflatable boats). Because of its size and buoyancy it is able to cover almost any flat terrain, including ice, water and small crevasses. It is able to travel in extreme wind speeds and weather conditions that would ground most travelers. With the air-bags mostly deflated, however, the Drifter presents a much smaller dome-shaped profile, giving it stability. The inner roll-cage ensures that the crew capsule is able to remain upright. To exit the capsule, the crew deflates a section of the air-bags completely and detaches them.
    Studio Les Bêtes



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    Seward's Success, while never built, was designed to enclose a community of 40,000 Alaskan residents beneath a climate-controlled glass dome. Since the proposed city didn't allow for cars, pedestrians would get around on moving sidewalks, bikes, and escalators.
    Alaska's Glass Metropolis: March 1970
    Thu, May 27, 2010  Permanent link
    Categories: architecture
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    Now here’s a story: a guy in Oregon has figured out how to turn the hulks of four to six former cars into cool little houses that cost between $100,000 and $250,000, depending on their size. The stories I read burble on to describe the incredible energy efficiency of the houses, how they are designed to be built by five workers in forty-five days rather than by the average fifteen workers in the average 225 days, and how rats and termites and carpenter ants and suchlike will curse and moan because they cannot chew their way through recycled steel, and how the houses take advantage of the biggest, heaviest recyclable product that pretty much everyone owns, and how the houses, called Miranda Homes, don’t look like gleaming metallic yurts, as you might think they would, but more like your regular old friendly suburban cottage, the kind where Donna Reed is beaming at the door and you can smell bacon and there’s a kid upstairs not doing homework, and I get so fascinated I track down the guy, and we have us a good talk.
    Orion Magazine
    Fri, Oct 30, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: architecture, Recyle, Habitation
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    The Interlace, one of the largest and most ambitious residential developments in Singapore, presents a radically new approach to contemporary living in a tropical environment. Instead of creating a cluster of isolated, vertical towers – the default typology of residential developments in Singapore – the design proposes an intricate network of living and social spaces integrated with the natural environment.
    Tue, Sep 29, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: architecture
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    Or open source design for independent micronations.

    The idea is this: The Seasteading Institute, a non-profit organization conceived about a year ago by Patri Friedman and Wayne Gramlich, is proposing a framework that would make it possible to permanently settle on the ocean. Their vision, inspired by the culture of web 2.0, is to crowd-source the development of government.

    seasteading

    What they have done is designed a bare platform, called a seastead, that is about the size of a city block. They are encouraging everyone to share their idea for a permanent civilization on the ocean through The $1000 Seastead Design Contest (submissions due May 1st, 2009). Contestants are to expound upon the platform in any way they see fit – "It may be a hospital, a casino, a residential community, a cricket stadium, or something entirely different." The idea is to share and to collectively reach this goal. Designs for the seasteads will be released under a Creative Commons license.

    Wendy Sitler-Roddier

    [They are] hoping to create a platform in the sense that Linux is a platform: a base upon which people can build their own innovative forms of governance. The ultimate goal is to create standards and blueprints that can be easily adapted, allowing small communities to rapidly incubate and test new models of self-rule with the same ease that a programmer in his garage can whip up a Facebook app.
    WIRED and BLDGBLOG


    As compared to other projects of this nature, The Seasteading Institute is trying to build a modular framework which allows for many different ideals. Because they don't focus on one specific model that could fail, the project is much more sustainable. Although I do not particularly subscribe to Libertarianism, I have interest in projects like this for their forward thinking ideas. The Seasteading Institute is not responding as much to climate change, but to societal change. Maybe there is something we can learn from their model.
    Wed, Apr 8, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: architecture, Seastead, Floating
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    Waterpod Project (renderings by James Halverson of Lux Visual Effects)

    A recurring theme for the future seems to be alternative housing. The Waterpod Project intends to be a model for the future of architecture and living. It is concerned with the same basic problems as other projects, climate change and increasing world population, but takes a different approach. Where Polar Cities and Lilypad are primarily concerned with physical survival, Waterpod is interested in creativity and expression.

    The Waterpod is inspiring because it has moved past the hypothetical, it is currently being constructed in New York. Being a model for future building, sustainability is the key. The Waterpod is being built on a retired industrial barge using salvaged materials. It features three domes to be used for artistic space, sleeping quarters, and agriculture.

    It is currently scheduled to launch in New York in May, 2009, from the Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens, navigate down the East River, explore the waters of New York Harbor, and stopping at each of the five boroughs it will dock at several Manhattan piers on the Hudson River, then beyond.
    Waterpod Structure



    Waterpod artist residency building

    To begin with there will be five residents who will live and work and be completely sustained on the barge. They plan to travel around to teach, give tours, and have exhibitions. They hope to be a model and inspiration for the future, to prepare and to encourage innovation.

    This forces me to focus on certain things that I have been putting off for too long, and forces me to live like we will probably all need to live sooner or later.
    Mary Mattingly


    —————

    Update: Two people have been living on the Waterpod full time since June 12. — NYT

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    The Vertical Farm Project, led by Dr. Dickson Despommier of Columbia University, aims to deal with the problem of feeding the growing world population. The idea is to build vertical indoor farming structures within urban centers.

    The Vertical Farm must be efficient (cheap to construct and safe to operate). Vertical farms, many stories high, will be situated in the heart of the world's urban centers. If successfully implemented, they offer the promise of urban renewal, sustainable production of a safe and varied food supply (year-round crop production), and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming.



    This second rendering looks like an eco-friendly data center.

    I am deeply interested in projects that make an effort to take waste out, the least power needed for the most beneficial outcome, that way things work more efficiently. This concept of simplicity in design can apply to many different things, Gentoo Linux (optimized and customized flavor of linux), fixed gear bicycles (less parts, less weight), or farming. We must learn to farm efficiently and locally because "by the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth's population will reside in urban centers."


    Self watering containers remind me conceptually of The Vertical Farm. The self watering container takes out the effort of that goes into the watering and maintaing of a garden, and work well for urban or apartment living because they are compact and self-contained.

    We must have a solution for the future and the Vertical Farm Project has many good ideas. And as they point out, "we cannot go to the moon, Mars, or beyond without first learning to farm indoors on earth."
    Thu, Oct 9, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: architecture, Vertical Farming
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    I was working on my portfolio recently and I came across this project that I made for a graphic design class. The requirements for the project was to conceptually redesign an ad campaign. I decided to prepose a more esoteric view of NASA. The quotes are some of my favorites from Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan, and Buckminster Fuller.

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    It is a true amphibian half aquatic and half terrestrial city, able to accommodate 50,000 inhabitants and inviting the biodiversity to develop its fauna and flora around a central lagoon of soft water collecting and purifying the rain waters.
    Lilypad
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    If there was something that you really believed and knew that if acted upon it could save humanity, what would it look like to dedicate your life to this cause? What if you were wrong? What if people criticized you for it? Would it still matter? You would never know whether you were right until you knew. Over the past week I've been thinking a lot about climate change. What sparked this current thread was a news story I read about Dan Bloom and his plan for the climate crisis. He has dedicated himself to this project in a vulnerable and uninhibited way. Dan Bloom's idea is to prepare for the looming climate disaster by building Polar Cities. I totally geeked out on the idea of Polar Cities and I was able to interview Dan Bloom about himself and his plans.

    Tell me a little about yourself. How did you become interested in climate change and polar cities?

    I was interested in climate change and global warming before 2007, in other words from 1971 to 2006, just as a normal newspaper reader, aware of the situation, but not deeply aware, nor very concerned, just normal low-frequency awareness from newspaper and magazine articles I had read from college graduation in 1971 to life in the real world of the early 21st Century. THEN one day, I read two articles in the newspaper here in Taiwan: one was about the upcoming IPCC report on climate change, released in February 2007, and then two was an interview with James Lovelock the UK scientist who said that in his view in the future, there might be only "breeding pairs in the Arctic" to continue the human species after global warming "events" cause mass migration north and mass die offs of humans, from a population of 10 billion to maybe just 200,000 left. When I read this, I had a eureka moment, I woke up at the moment. At first I was depressed. I wrote a long essay on my blog about how things are really screwed. But after re-reading what I wrote, which was basically depressing and sad writing, I woke up again and said to myself: Hey, you can't go around moping about and feeling sad for the world, try to do something positive, something to give you and others hope. So I visualized humans living in polar cities in the northern areas in the year 2500 or so, and that is how I began this quixotic adventure. Via the blogosphere. And 12 months later I found an artist, in Taiwan, where I live, Deng Cheng-hong, who agreed to make some illustrations for me, on commission. I paid him for his work and two months later he gave me these amazing illustrations. He is genius. In fact, his visual images have made this project leap off the page and into people's imaginations, so all credit goes to him. James Lovelock has seen these images and said to me via email: "It may very well happen and soon."

    Are polar cities your response to the climate crisis?

    Yes, this project is my personal response to the climate crisis, my small contribution to the ongoing global discussion. It's my way of taking part in what I think is a positive way in the debate.

    Are the aims of polar cities to accommodate a lucky few or all of humanity?

    The aim of the polar cities project is to accommodate all of surviving humanity, in an open democratic humanitarian way. These cities are not just for the lucky few or the rich or the powerful. My philosophy and aim is to start planning for these adaptation cities now, in 2008, so that by the time we need them, humankind has figured out how to make them open and democratic. But if things get really bad in the future, out of a world population of maybe 15 billion people in 2500, there might be only 200,000 survivors. In that case, these people will be the lucky few. Or unlucky few, some might say. But they will be the breeding pairs who keep the human species alive for many generations inside these polar cities and then come out and repopulate the Earth again when the time is right. The polar city era might last 100 years or 1000 years or even 10,000 years. So these polar cities are lifeboats for humankind, for the human species, not just for the lucky few. I have no children, so there is no personal intent here for me. I am doing this because I have compassion for the future. A deep compassion for the future, and this is now my life's work. Unpaid. On my own time. On my own dime. My contribution, in a small minor way, to the ongoing debate, pro and con, about climate change.

    In a recent Guardian article, James Lovelock is quoted as saying "Enjoy life while you can" in regards to the climate crisis. Do you see ideas like recycling and carbon offsetting as useless?

    Lovelock is my mentor in all this, and that recent Guardian interview was very insightful, I thought. I agree with him on many of the things he said. However, he is 88 and I am 58, so being 30 years younger I still have more hope and optimism that we can solve this climate crisis problem with real solutions. So yes, recycling and carbon offsetting are important ideas and I agree we should implement them as best we can, and do all we can NOW to try to mitigate global warming in the here and now. I have not given up hope. I still think we can solve this Long Emergency, but there will have to be some sacrifices.

    Is technology part of the problem?

    It is a part of the problem and a possible solution to the problem, too. My fingers are crossed. I hope someone can come up with a technological fix for the climate crisis. That is where my hope lies. Yes, but in the case that worst come to worst, I feel that polar cities can be our lifeboats to get us through a long period of northern life, maybe for 30 generations of humans.

    The polar cities have been likened to fallout shelters, how would you respond to this?

    I never thought of polar cities as fallout shelters. But we could call them global warming shelters. Lifeboats. I see them more as lifeboats. The cold war mentality of fallout shelters is not really appropriate for polar cities. But headline writers have wild imaginations and I appreciate all headline writers attempts to grapple with these issues.

    Do we need a sense of impending disaster to give ourselves something to work towards?

    You are right. Yes, we need a real deep sense of impending disaster to wake us up. Lovelock and Hansen and others are important in issuing wake up calls to humanity. I am just a soldier in the trenches launching my polar cities idea as a non-threatening thought experiment to wake people up in another way, visually. I remain an eternal optimist and I wake up every day full of energy to fight this climate crisis. This IS the fight of humanity, all humanity. We need all the ideas we can get.
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