Stepped flats with hanging gardens
A new concept in high rise accommodation.
We include nudge features to improve the lives of the residents.
The problem to be solved
By the middle of this century 66% of the world population will be living in cities. [http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/world-urbanization-prospects-2014.html]
Unfortunately modern city lifestyles are making us sick and unhappy.
We tend to eat unhealthy foods and do the minimum of exercise.
But it does not need to be this way.
This article concentrates specifically on high rise flat living because it is tragically of current interest to city planners.
1 Our core idea: combine high density dwellings with vertical farms
[Information about vertical farms can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_farming ]
Figure 1. Growing tubs of plants on the patios will create
a hanging gardens effect.
The new 'Hanging Garden' designs will be more expensive to build and run compared with conventional tower blocks. But the development of Latent Power Turbines could slash these costs.
The diagram below illustrates the basic feature of a combined high rise dwelling and vertical farm.
Figure 2.The long street design allows all the 'Hanging Garden' residences to have south facing patios.
A key feature of indoor farming is that it can provide a steady output of crops throughout the year. This is less financially stressful and more dignified for farm workers (who will hopefully be residents), compared with seasonal farm work.
'Nudges' are subtle features of the design that help people to live healthier lives without having to make a conscious effort. Here are some of them:
2 Additional features to improve community life.
Death rates go up during heat waves in warm climates and in winter in cold climates. [https://web.stanford.edu/~moore/HealthBenefitsofWarmer.html]
Hanging garden settlements could reduce death rates at both temperature extremes. We will illustrate the benefits by referring to cool climate living, but equivalent benefits can be gained in hot climates.
Reducing the winter blues
We propose taking advantage of the recently developed daylight quality LED lighting to bring Mediterranean quality outdoor lighting to indoor living in cool northern climates.
Other measures to lift community spirits
Figure 3. Mediterranean quality indoor light will lift the spirits in winter, but genuine outdoor light is even better. Low cost clean energy will allow very large south facing windows to be installed without increasing carbon footprints. In addition to patios, shallow balconies could be added to the upper levels.
Making the streets vibrant The streets would be slightly winding with
seated alcoves extending into the farm.
The streets would be slightly winding with seated alcoves extending into the farm.
Each 'street level' would develop its own character. To enhance these differences, the farm would grow different crops at different street levels.
Variety would encourage residents to take strolls around their residential building. This would reinforce the community identity.
Encouraging local enterprise
Enriching the diversity of homes
Pets are vital for the mental health of many people, but barking, publicly fouling dogs can be a nuisance. Residents could be obliged to attend dog training classes whenever they acquire a new dog. Expert advice on suitable dog breeds should also be available.
Developing creativity in children (and keeping them out of
Caring for the elderly &
infirm within the community
The capital cost of these community buildings will be higher than for traditional high rise flats. But over their lifetimes the health and social benefits of creating genuine communities will outweigh this.
Disabled, traumatised and armed forces veterans in general may adapt better to civilian life if they are housed in hanging garden settlements with their strong sense of community bonding.
Fire safety standards will be higher than for conventional high rise flats because fire fighting crews and their hoses will be able to gain external access to the highest stories. The installation of multiple escape routes will also be easier. For example residents could escape via the vertical farm unit. The installation of sprinklers will be more cost effective because they will be needed for everyday use at each level, for horticultural irrigation. The north facing vertical farm also provides cladding free insulation for the coldest face of the building.
Variations on the 'Hanging Gardens' theme. Residents will enjoy breathing the fresh air and experiencing the elements on their patios and balconies. But during working hours, outdoor quality lighting is sufficient to meet their psychological needs. This means that a whole range of alternatives could replace the vertical farms. These could include light manufacturing industries, university campuses and science research laboratories. 'Living on the job' will cut commuting times and reduce the density of traffic on city roads.
Open prisons that incorporate hanging garden features could help to shift prisoners nearing the end of their sentences from an institutionalised to a mutually supporting community mindset.
Return to our Latent Power Turbine page .