notes.husk.org. scribblings by Paul Mison.

2012-04-03

post/20408097203

photo 15:01:59
The Triton Foundation / Buckminster Fuller proposal for a floating tetrahedral city in San Francisco Bay:
From The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller:

Such tetrahedronal floating cities would measure two miles to an edge, and can be floated in a triangularly patterned canal. This will make the whole structure earthquake-proof. The whole city can be floated out into the ocean to any point and anchored. The depth of its founda­ tions will go below the turbulence level of the seas so that the floating tetrahedronal is­ land will be, in effect, a floating triangular atoll. Its two mile long “boat” foundations will constitute landing strips for jet airplanes. Its interior two mile harbor will provide refuge for the largest and smallest ocean vessels.

From Cracked’s list of “The 6 Most Insane Cities Ever Planned”:

Triton anticipated a lower maximum population of just over 100,000 people, and was also to be the first fully organic city, complete with a desalination system to re-circulate ocean water. Schematics for Triton were sent to the United States Navy’s Bureau of Ships, to check it for “water-worthiness,” stability and organic capabilities, then off to the Bureau of Yards and Docks to see whether or not they could even build this thing, specifically at the cost they had projected. Both Bureaus gave the thumbs up, and the Navy’s cost estimate came within 10% of Buckminster’s. And that’s probably the craziest part of Triton: At every stage, it was going to work.

From the description of A Study of a Prototype Floating Community at Amazon:
Triton was a concept for an anchored floating city for 100,000 people that would be located just offshore and connected with bridges to the mainland. When President Johnson left office he took the model with him and installed it in his Presidential Library in Texas. This is the complete design report.
Now that’s what I call a utopian impulse.

The Triton Foundation / Buckminster Fuller proposal for a floating tetrahedral city in San Francisco Bay:

From The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller:

Such tetrahedronal floating cities would measure two miles to an edge, and can be floated in a triangularly patterned canal. This will make the whole structure earthquake-proof. The whole city can be floated out into the ocean to any point and anchored. The depth of its founda­ tions will go below the turbulence level of the seas so that the floating tetrahedronal is­ land will be, in effect, a floating triangular atoll. Its two mile long “boat” foundations will constitute landing strips for jet airplanes. Its interior two mile harbor will provide refuge for the largest and smallest ocean vessels.

From Cracked’s list of “The 6 Most Insane Cities Ever Planned”:

Triton anticipated a lower maximum population of just over 100,000 people, and was also to be the first fully organic city, complete with a desalination system to re-circulate ocean water. Schematics for Triton were sent to the United States Navy’s Bureau of Ships, to check it for “water-worthiness,” stability and organic capabilities, then off to the Bureau of Yards and Docks to see whether or not they could even build this thing, specifically at the cost they had projected. Both Bureaus gave the thumbs up, and the Navy’s cost estimate came within 10% of Buckminster’s. And that’s probably the craziest part of Triton: At every stage, it was going to work.

From the description of A Study of a Prototype Floating Community at Amazon:

Triton was a concept for an anchored floating city for 100,000 people that would be located just offshore and connected with bridges to the mainland. When President Johnson left office he took the model with him and installed it in his Presidential Library in Texas. This is the complete design report.

Now that’s what I call a utopian impulse.

post/20390081930

photos 04:02:15

Produced for the SPUR magazine The Urbanist, two maps of the current and possible future public transport in the San Francisco Bay Area, by Brian Stokle (via).

I’m often a critic of London-style transit maps, even when they’re in London. Unfortunately, I feel the need to do the same here. As with the current BART map, Stokle’s designs don’t pick a set of angles, but instead preserve the rough geography of the Bay Area and then use a series of straight lines which are often parallel to nearby ones, but which bear no relation to others.

Meanwhile, the use of large interchanges makes it far from clear how the Muni streetcar/LRV lines in San Francisco proper interrelate- if you didn’t know how the K, L, and M branch at West Portal, this map isn’t going to tell you. Perhaps that’s OK as a base map for showing expansion, but for an actually usable map, that’s not good.

Speaking of expansion, the use of grey for all existing lines on the future map is a little jarring, but at least I can see why it’s been done that way. On the other hand, giving bus rapid transit schemes such thick lines when the existing Limited routes on the current diagram are almost missable with their thin lines seems odd. I know it’s a relatively cheap way to increase speed and capacity, but do they need that much emphasis? (Outside of SF, it seems that they are depicted more narrowly: look at the 35R from Pleasant Hill to Hacienda at the right of the Future map. Strange.)

That said, there are some elements of the maps that I was going to quibble with, but then decided to praise instead. The outlined boxes for interchanges that “require leaving the station to transfer” actually do a great job of showing how inter-county, inter-agency politics could (can? does?) cripple public transport in the region. Even changing between BART and Muni in the Market Street subway is a minor nightmare.

For all my criticism, I’m glad that there are people trying to fight for decent, joined-up thinking in the field here. I hope that this is a step in the right direction, even if it is flawed.

2012-02-12

post/17518362600

quote 23:33:06
“ The risk of one great whomp and you’re flattened on the 880? No… . That feels very parallel to the risk profile that people think about in business. If you’re willing to move there, you’ve already accepted a certain subliminal level of risk. ”
Art Hutchinson, referring to the most deadly effect of Lomo Prieta earthquake in 1989, quoted in Virginia Postrel’s essay, Resilience vs. Anticipation. The piece talks about the difference between the east and west coast approaches to culture, as informed by weather and natural risks. It’s well worth a read, as is my source for it, the discussion Buzz Anderson is having about San Francisco / Bay Area attitudes.

2011-07-26

post/8094199447

photo 19:47:56
A postcard issued by San Francisco’s BART at the time of its opening in September 1972, via Transpress NZ.

A postcard issued by San Francisco’s BART at the time of its opening in September 1972, via Transpress NZ.

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