Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rio and the Olympics - Designs for the Future?

Cities of the future?

Will the future look like this?

Story 1 is that the future is already here - it's just unevenly distributed and still emerging. Story 2 is a Mad Max dystopia where a new dark age returns to haunt us with religious and ideological barbarism.

I'm an optimist, so I choose more chapters from Story 1 than Story 2 (although unrest and riots in Egypt this week demonstrate how quickly the plot changes).

Sometimes large global events trigger futuristic imaginations, the Rio 2016 Olympics and 2014 FIFA Cup for example. In preparation, Brazilian police are gradually winning "pacification battles" against gangsters in the squalid, gang fortified shantytowns of Rio.

All this is preparation for some remarkable futuristic designs, including this solar tower/waterfall/landmark.

The beauty of design-the beast of favelas

The Solar CIty Tower is a design proposal and, while it's a long way from being actually built, it sure looks interesting. If chosen it will generate energy for both the Olympic city and also Rio itself after the Olympics. It makes solar energy during the day with water turbines and the surplus energy pumps sea water over the tower exterior giving the effect of a giant, beautiful waterfall. The falling water is also used by turbines to produce energy at night.

That is a fascinating future: Ingenuity, beauty, and environmental sustainability.

The proposed Solar Tower from the beaches of Rio

Public walking areas on the tower

One hopes they find equally ingenuous and sustainable solutions for the poor, gang-controlled favelas of Rio.

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