Eastphalia, US

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In The News


New-Town-In-Town

Riverside Plaza in Minneapolis was an attempt to reclaim neighborhoods leveled during Urban Renewal.   The New-Town-In-Town program was to try and return affordable housing and livable space to these decaying neighborhoods by re-imagining the "new town movement", while also bringing arts, culture, education, and recreation to the thousands of residents -- unfortunately, the wrong parts happened first.   The large amount of affordable housing was built but a variety of factors prevented the culture from following, resulting in creating the sort of high-rise slum the creators were trying to avoid.

 

Broad Buildings

Broad Sustainable Buildings in China has cracked the code for Lego-like construction of tall buildings using mass-produced parts assembled on-site.  This week, the news has been abuzz over a six-story building being built in nine days, but just a few months ago they did a thirty-story building in only fifteen.  Their excuse is that there was rain and a holiday during their construction of the six-story building; otherwise it should have gone up in 24 hours.    Broad's construction objectives merge two things not usually paired:  ecology and the company town.  Broad Town is a community built by the company for the benefit of its workers, demonstrating the ecologically-friendly products that the company produces.  The theory espoused by Broad is that by manufacturing modular building materials in factories, they can control energy usage and reduce the time it takes to build a building, saving energy and man-hours, out of energy-efficient factory-made parts.  If there's any country that needs quick, energy-conserving construction of living spaces, it's China, so it's no wonder they're on top of things.  I wonder about the longevity of such a building, but being modular, in theory deconstructing or replacing parts should be a bit easier than in welded steel and poured concrete buildings that are the norm for the rest of the world.

 

Slab City

Three miles east of Niland, California, a stone's-throw from the Salton Sea and near Salvation Mountain,  is the remains of the Camp Dunlap Marine Training facility.  The camp is long gone, leaving behind cement slabs where the buildings once stood.   RV squatters have put the land to good use, renaming it Slab City.

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Christiania, Inc.

Christiania is an unorganized group of squatters who took over a portion of a Copenhagen military base in 1971.   They developed into a micronation of their own, developing laws and a structure for the benefit of their freethinking and progressive residents, and remaining moderately tolerated by the true government.   Forty years later, Christiania is stepping up in the world: the Danish government has arranged to sell the land to the Christiania community, and Christiania is selling 'shares' of the community in order to raise the needed funds. You can buy a share, too, and help their unincorporated community become incorporated in a very corporate way.  The people of Christiania, however, aren't treating things in any corporate way: the most they've done to accomodate an official structure is to establish a 'board of directors' of sorts, but aside from that the community will remain very libertarian in structure, leaving the residents to their own means and ends within the boundaries of the freedom of Christiania.

 

Torre de David: Caracas

Like something out of Gibson's Bridge trilogy, an enormous unfunctioning feature of modern society is overtaken by squatters and innovators in Caracas, Venezuela.  Torre de David, or the "Tower of David", is an unfinished 40+ story office building in downtown Caracas that has been overtaken by squatters and turned into a vertical neighborhood.  The building's original name, Centro Financiero Confinanzas, evokes its original purpose, but when the main investor, David Brillembourg, passed away in 1993, the construction stopped and the new tenants slowly moved in.

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