Future Ecology Designed

Sustainable design theory manifested in products, infrastructure, and graphic representation. A utopian glimpse of a future New Zealand where environmental considerations are of tantamount importance, and society is designed to accommodate the native ecosystem.

Philip Beesley Architect

Fantastic work by Philip Beesley Architect, Toronto. Geo-morphic membranes which interact with their human occupants.

I particularly love Gill Array, Orpheus Filter, Reflexive Membranes and Orgone Reef.

Similar to my nesting idea, but abstracted by an order of magnitude and utterly beautiful. Article on BLDGBLOG

Personal Rapid Transit

I haven't covered ULTra yet, as I have been quite undecided about the feasibility of the system. On the one hand, rapid transit would cut out the unused capacity of light rail, and fits into the concept of perfectly balanced units of energy expenditure. On the other, it appears over-complicated and not particularly versatile in real world operational conditions.

Part of my problem is the language of proponents of the system. The Wellingtonian, a local free paper, ran an article (June 8, 2006) where a backer states 'Wellintonians have a view that public transport is for 'losers' and that will not change by upgrading buses and trains.' There is a persisting capitalist assumption that personal rapid transit will succeed because the rest of society has an ego which precludes the use of 'loser' group public transport. However, this mindset appears to be akin to the idea that commuters currently have a god-given right to travel to work solo in giant SUVs. The key is to make public transport attractive, and I don't think anti-social, self-imposed isolationism is always the solution.

Further links:
Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit

PRT at Worldchanging - the comments section has some good debate.

Wiki -notice that 'The manufacturers of ULTra acknowledge that current forms of their system would provide insufficient capacity in high density areas such as central London, and that the investment costs for the tracks and stations are comparable to building new roads, making the current version of ULTra more suitable for suburbs and other moderate capacity applications'

The Wellington plan involves 6km of tracks, eventually spreading to the outer suburbs, so this follows the above.

The opponents of the scheme, however, do make a lot of sense. I particularly can see the likelihood of traffic jamming in the system. Rebuttal is here.

Overall, I can imagine PRT working in and around the various urban enclaves, in concert with high speed light rail to outlying urban areas, with the overall pax of the medium increasing as route length/demand does. Also, PRT gondolas need not look like a style-bereft fantasy of computer programmers, inspiration could be taken from Venice. The stations could be stunning, and the guiderails mounted on the ground anyway. Computer processing now exists to allow the system to flow where it previously failed, so I am fascinated to see how it works out in Cardiff. I would love to see this work, but remain sceptical.

Finally, a link to Charge. I have found this to be one of the most neutral, realistic websites out there debating future energy. The article follows my assesment of plug-in hybrids as the most suitable automotive energy source, and they see PRT as viable scheme.

Edit: Intruige!

A local has a blog with his own take on the situation. Great!

I am steering further into scepticism....