Fwd: Biosphere 2 - Arizona - ( Mapping ? ) Potentials for Convergence of Systemic Thinkers ?

Skip to first unread message

Dante-Gabryell Monson

Apr 14, 2013, 4:47:19 PM4/14/13
to econ...@googlegroups.com, global-...@googlegroups.com

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Eric Hunting <erich...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 9:39 PM
Subject: Re: Biosphere 2 - Arizona - ( Mapping ? ) Potentials for Convergence of Systemic Thinkers ?
To: Jeff Buderer <bude...@gmail.com>, dante....@gmail.com, global-...@googlegroups.com, econ...@googlegroups.com, Samuel Rose <samue...@gmail.com>, jeff buderer <je...@onevillagefoundation.org>, Franz Nahrada <f.na...@reflex.at>, Michel Bauwens <michel...@gmail.com>, Pavlik elf <perpetua...@wwelves.org>

I've noticed that, in recent discussion, the examples of architecture and communities brought up have been a little divergent and it occurs to me to ask what sort of model of community is the consensus goal for the project being envisioned. Initially, I got the impression of something relatively dispersed--maybe a kind of 'neo-nomadic' or 'urban-nomadic' model where the architecture intended was less permanent, less wholly self-sufficienct, and the infrastructure of the community intended to be more digitally organized than physically concentrated. But when we talk about Biosphere II and Arcosanti we're talking about some pretty large scale architecture and communities intended to be more self-contained. Then if we talk about OSE/Global Village we're talking about a--lliterally--ground-up approach with a very extreme focus on immediate and comprehensive self-sufficiency and a lower-tech, high-labor architectural approach. Having come in a little late, I'm wondering if a consensus on a model has been reached or if we're still hammering that out--which is OK. I just don't want to step on toes in that respect.

If I may, let me offer my two cents on this. Having been discussing the prospect of a Cartoon History Of The Future with some friends of late and arguing over the details of community development in the LUF forums recently, my head has been rather full on the topic of Post-Industrial futurism lately so please excuse if I get a bit carried away.

I think the first question we need to address is what the lifestyle model for this project is and how this relates to a picture of the future that we wish to project or illustrate through the project. It's my impression that we are talking about cultivation of a Post-Industrial/Post-Scarcity culture and so the lifestyle model would seem to be that of the 'unplugged'--to borrow the term used by Vinay Gupta, though the model is more completely characterized in the work of activist author P.M. The central premise of Post-Industrial futurism is the suggestion that the core cultural paradigms of the Industrial Age are being eroded from the inside by the evolution of the industrial, communications, information technologies upon which they are based. Thus compelled by the impending collapse of these paradigms, new ones need must emerge and so we seek to anticipate, describe, and cultivate these emergent paradigms. One of the key lifestyle concepts to emerge is the idea of 'unplugging'; employing a combination of new independent production technology, new social structures, in a new community setting to disconnect from dependence upon the Industrial Age market system and thus realize a 'work-less' lifestyle recovering the large volume of personal time and productivity typically sacrificed to other people's profit and the intrinsic cost of money. This concept exists as an undercurrent to the Maker movement, is central to concepts of Post-Scarcity culture, is a core idea for projects like OSE/Global Village and movements like The Venus Project, and is seen illustrated in much 'post-Singularity' science fiction.

An unplugged lifestyle--a Post-Industrial lifestyle--is one where some package of technology affords a total personal subsistence autonomy (unlikely…) or an alternative community-developed infrastructure of market-independent production provides for one's needs on an open-reciprocal basis. An Open Reciprocal Production Network, Social Production Network, or Production Web more-or-less digitally organized and mediated. People establish means of production according to their individual affinity and talent, investing what they feel is a 'casual' level of work, and offer their output 'free within reason' to a community on the premise that this will be reciprocated by everyone else. Communities are designed to logistically and technologically leverage this casual productivity as much as possible, seeking a comprehensive spectrum of production and services that can support a comfortable standard of living in the community while keeping individual labor to a progressively shrinking minimum. 'Lazy like an engineer' is the motto of this culture. Great effort is made to cultivate techniques of quantitative analysis that facilitate increasingly accurate and integral demand projection--though in early small community settings this may be a more academic pursuit. This kind of demand projection will assist the expansion of these production networks beyond the confines of a single physical community and ultimately become the basis of a highly automated resource-based economy and 'production web' obsolescing the contrivance of currencies and markets.

In communities hosting this lifestyle basic goods are available 'free within reason', with most manufactured goods made-on-demand or in small at-hand volumes and commodities offered on a first-come-first-serve basis and item-limit-per-customer basis--though the production web is always seeking to avoid any perception of shortage/insufficiency while minimizing waste through advancing analytical demand projection. MOD (manufactured/made on demand) is employed not only to facilitate small local production and maximize potential customization but also to minimize waste in speculative production and allow goods demand to be reduced to a metric of commodity supplies rather than a much more difficult to track diversity of end-products. It's generally anticipated that much (and increasing) MOD will be conducted right in people's homes for personal consumption as independent production technology progresses. Near-term, however, we are looking at a community-scale network covering a spectrum of more specialized production divided among individuals and small groups. Thus most domestic commodity goods--groceries, household supplies--would be subscribed to and regularly delivered, picked up at minimally staffed convenience 'honor stores', public 'free markets' (doubling as social venues), and automated warehouses and dispensers. Manufactured goods may be ordered on-line and delivered, picked up in local walk-in specialty MOD-shops, or made DIY (with possible assistance of dedicated shop staff) in shared local walk-in general production shops. Jacque Fresco once imagined his future cities as having giant art-gallery-like centralized product showcase centers--like a Soviet version of a Greenstamps store. The internet has probably superseded such things, but faire and gallery like 'marketing' venues and events may supplement internet based showcasing. (there may still be advertising in this future, but it will have a very different cultural role because, instead of corporations selling products to win dollars and market share, it's product designers and inventors chasing public appreciation)

Without a cash economy, the culture compensates people's effort with 'social credit' as a metric of personal social impact and thus a means of establishing a meritocratic means of providing individual access to exceptional volumes of resources on the premise that one is likely to use them for the good of the society. This can be mediated by various means but is generally anticipated to become digital and automated with an option of sharing or pooling this credit with others. Netention-like systems deeply integrated into the production web is one possibility--creating an infrastructure that knows you as a person and has an 'integral pronoia imperative', like an invisible digital conspiracy out to help you and everyone else. In the future, we invent our own angels. Other models treat this more like a currency generated by analysis of on-line public opinion and spent like cash above the usual base-line access to things. Other models mediate this more bureaucratically or on a case-by-case basis in professional/career peer groups. In early small Open Reciprocal Production Networks social credit would tend to be a metric of group trust and so certain goods may be 'priced' for access by a minimum social credit rating relative to their perceived value. This may be particularly necessary in implementing such networks 'in-situ' in urban environments as opposed to within an intentional community context--something I've leave to later discussion.

The unplugged person leads a life divided between a shrinking (if not completely eliminated) volume of work for cash, personal/household subsistence, community production network, career activity, and leisure. The expectation is that all parts of the work segment of activity would be progressively reduced over time with the bulk of a person's time being increasingly spent in true career pursuits/projects, continual education, leisure activity, and other actual human concerns. (as opposed to market-driven compulsions) By 'true' career I refer to activity pursuing personal passions for possible social credit compensation and professional status rather than monetary compensation, though this may often converge with work in support of the community.

Most people of this culture would spend their lives engaged in a social network of often overlapping personal, special interest, subcultural, and career communities and move from career to career and project to project, forming or joining various adhocracies of varying persistence. In some cases these adhocracies would create physical intentional communities to realize a live-in habitat for some aesthetic or cultural objective or to create a habitat suited to special interest and career activities. The project we are discussing right now is just such an adhocracy development project intended to realize a showcase and 'reactor' for Post-Industrial culture.

Having established some notion of a specific lifestyle model, we can then look at how architecture reinforces this  concept and assists specific strategies for its implementation. I don't want to get too deep into that discussion as yet as I've probably already gone well past people's usual attention span but I would like to offer some compelling images to mull over.

There are parallels here to contemporary concepts like the moshav shitufi as demonstrated in the very pretty Israeli community of Nahalal;


Compare this to the illustrations of Bolo communities as envisioned by P.M.;



(this latter image an interesting picture of a cluster of bolos from a board game P.M. developed to help educate people on the concept. I continue to look for a copy of it, though I understand the rules are all in German)

The moshav shitufi concept is a model for cooperative farming that sits somewhere between the traditional moshav/moshav ovdim cooperative village and the very communist kibbutz. Basically, collective farming production and equipment acquisition but individual consumption and households. And although Nahalal is based on a much more suburban habitat model that is not seeking any sort of comprehensive subsistence capability, it is still a good visual impression of the sort of habitats we imagine at the likely scales we imagine--roughly 1000 people. (it's even served as a model for some science fiction book-cover art)

Can we envision a more contemporary image? What is Post-Industrial architecture? For some time I've envisioned the Post-Industrial civilization in the context of a habitat much as envisioned by Paulo Soleri but implemented with the sensibility of Constant Nieuwenhuys aided by an integral structural design AI with a preference for procedural contour terracing algorithms;





It's a complex of more purposeful adhocracy-developed nodal arcologies amidst a network of more general purpose linear cities (the most overlooked but important of arcology forms) creating a habitat deliberately pulled-back from the landscape to return space to nature while adapting to the logistics of a renewables-based infrastructure. I see the arcology as the ultimate physical expression of the cultural rejection of Industrial Age Objectivist pathology. It is civilization as socio-cultural reactor and planetary symbiote, formed of a perpetual conversation between nature, physics, and society mediated by a self-aware, environmentally aware, self-constructed, perpetually evolving structural matrix.

Nieuwenhuys' architectural renderings seem to have rarely been very concrete--always blurring the lines between design and abstract art in reflection of the idea of habitat as an emergent social construction, not a product of very deliberate over-arching design. But here are some of his more coherent images, reflecting the character of linear cities. Contrast this to P.M. Bolo sketch;






But here we're talking about a more distant future. We cannot realistically consider creating such vast habitats at present. How might smaller communities communicate similar ideas? Well, I see the core concept of Post-Industrial architecture as being the notion of habitat as emergent generative construct, embracing the impermanence and egolessness that architecture has traditionally feared while maximizing the potential for direct customization by its inhabitants. Today, the idea that any structure has a single function throughout its lifetime is an anachronism. Everything is ultimately adaptive reuse. And so we are thinking of habitats as evolving, learning, structures built and adapted continuously at the demand of man and nature and thus based on functionally generic structural systems designed to facilitate that. This favors two approaches; modular structural systems and a division between slow-to-evolve and thus more functionally generic macrostructures outfit at the human scale by fast-to-evolve retrofit construction or even more freely reconfigurable elements.

I've been frequently discussing the Microcity or Proto-Arco; a small urban construct and planned community hosting hundreds to tens of thousands established in Edge-City situations. There are a couple of 60s era design concepts I like to illustrate this idea with. Designs akin to the Hakka Houses of China as re-imagined by modernists;

Maymont's Ville Flotante Thalassa, which would work equally well in a land or marine context;


And this domed hill concept of Justus Dahinden;


Such concepts have been proposed to rehabilitate mining sites.


One can easily envision a Nahalal with a structure like this at the center. Here again we see the radial, enclosed, form defining the essential arcology paradigm; natural/farming space outside, public space inward, private space integrated in the division between them. But most importantly, we see the use of a very simple functionally generic macrostructure form responding chiefly to the landscape--to tectonics and environment--while allowing for endless repurposing and customization at the human scale. (notice also the great similarity between the Dahinden concept and that Turkish design) This is, basically, the typical commercial building skeleton (something we can now implement with carbon-negative materials) used as a 3D landscape and host of infrastructure that largely 'disappears' at the human scale and which outfit by retrofit, allowing for endless variation in small scale articulation, facades, canopies and shades, exposed surface landscaping, and interior design.

But this would still be a pretty large project proposition. Can we implement such things at even smaller scales and still communicate these ideals? To achieve this we must rely more on modular systems that still support a unified urban structure at a 'community scale'. This is a concept explored by designers of 'plug-in architecture' in the '60s, though it was not often implemented at a human construction scale except in very light temporary forms. These schemes generally employ an independent or integral modular 'backplane' structural system--often in the form of a space frame of some type--that other elements 'plug into' as either whole room or housing units or lighter frame and panel assemblages;






We can see that this compares closely to the sorts of structural technology Nieuwenhuys imagined. The problem we have with this is that there are no 'off the shelf' modular structural systems that can handle loads beyond that of the typical free-standing house while remaining easy to work with without heavy powered equipment. That may not be a terrible problem for temporary demonstration structures, but we would hope to be able to produce a habitat substantial enough to function at a 'village' scale. The closest to this is my own Utilihab building system. Utilihab is intended to be a 'habitat system' supporting community structures with an option to integrate much utilities into the hollow space of profiles, creating a structural grid as 'backplane';


But it too is severely limited by the scale of available aluminum T-slot framing profiles. I have anticipated the eventual development of 100mm series aluminum profiles in widths from 100mm to 400mm. That's what this technology needs to get beyond structures of a few stories and clear spans of 5-6 meters. It hasn't happened yet because profile manufacturers still don't 'get' that there are actual architectural applications of their products. (something Utilihab applications were intended to convince them of)

Another possibility, though, is new modular systems based on geodetic elements made at modest scales. A geodetic structure is a triangulated space frame structure has has been made into a unit element. That means, basically, variations of the sort of structural elements used in theatrical truss systems created as relatively large prefabricated units or units made-up from space frame systems using modular elements on a smaller scale. As space-filling systems, space frames of modest scale can be used like a 'foam matrix' of a sort to build-up more complex shapes or elements for them. So you could, basically, build-up the shape of a conventional house and its walls, or an open post & beam frame, or even more complex shapes as long as you can conform the macro-form to the grid of the micro-structure. The problem is that if the micro-structure is based on too small a scale you get a terribly inefficient building method because of the huge number of parts--unless you can employ some kind of automation. So the key would be to find a practical balance between the micro-structure scale and the scale of the larger features of the macro-form. Still, there are serious problems with modular space frame systems as they are manufactured today that has always kept them out any sort of mainstream use. I once discussed the use of these for my own home needs with the late Wendel R. Wendel who's book on the subject featured a number of examples of attractive simple homes based on space frame pavilions. But his own company could not produce these structures at any reasonable cost. A typical sized home built with typical space frames remains a multi-million-dollar proposition and the companies making these systems seem to have no problem with that as long as they can still sell this hardware for grandiose corporate projects.

But if we can accept a building system a bit heavier than our ideal, there are some interesting options, such as the now almost cliche ISO shipping container. There are countless examples today of the use of containers as modular architectural elements, even though they remain pretty bulky and have a rather odd geometry. Recently, Chinese manufacturers have started selling bare-frame container units specifically designed for housing uses that can be flattened to stack 4 or more within the space of a standard container. These container units can be used as stackable space frame modules that can be finished with any choice of materials. This opens up a whole new range of possibilities for their architectural uses as well as possible adaptation to suit different building schemes. (such as the creation of a 6x3m standard structural module with more flexibility of use) And some designers have been thinking about the container in an eco-village/intentional community context;




So there are some ideas to mull over. If there's interest I can continue with more discussion about implementation and the strategies for building production webs and independent Basic Income systems.

Eric Hunting

Dante-Gabryell Monson

Apr 14, 2013, 6:54:02 PM4/14/13
to econ...@googlegroups.com

---------- Forwarded message ----------ahrada <f.na...@reflex.at>
Date: Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 12:33 AM

Subject: Re: Biosphere 2 - Arizona - ( Mapping ? ) Potentials for Convergence of Syst

Eric, its very interesting that much of your long and interesting posts mirrors the content of our Global Villages Conferencs in the nineties.
We named them "Architecture and City Planning in the Age of Telecommunication". (Its sad that we had to lose focus on this visionary strand, mainly because we were and still are very busy seeking to implement the living core of this new village or community place, the Learning Center, however it might be called.)

So before this "educational turn" we had Justus Dahinden, Richard Register, Joseph Smyth, Tony Gwilliam, Richard Lewine, Michel Mosessian, people from Richard Rogers office, just to name a few of the architectural visionaries at the time, present and dicuss their visions.

Next month we will start anew looking at strategic options by convening a Global Villages Network meeting. One of the options is to reopen the Global Village Conference process after a 17 years pause in 2014 or later.  I think what you write mirrors these questions again come into broader consideration as a large chunc of society is increasingly embracing the commons and community paradigm without knowing much how to realise it.

I think time has come to start crowdfunding large and meaningful research endavours, they must be well thought out and presented. Your letter resonates a lot with me, even though from a European perspective "unplugged" makes much less sense. Forgive me if I say that so bluntly, but the European landscape and settlement patterns seems a really good utopia for the rest of the world, and basically its not about being "unplugged", but about vast infrastructural commons preserved and developed throughout very different forms of political dominance and eventually reclaimed by united communities.

So I suggest we start thinking about some new Global Village - type endavour in the not too distant future. I hope that Jeffs journey to Europe weill also be useful for this.


PS: I still cannot agree with the notion that you "...see the arcology as the ultimate physical expression of the cultural rejection of Industrial Age Objectivist pathology. It is civilization as socio-cultural reactor and planetary symbiote, formed of a perpetual conversation between nature, physics, and society mediated by a self-aware, environmentally aware, self-constructed, perpetually evolving structural matrix."  We must rethink what arcology really means, and now that Paolo has left us, this question will become very hot.

Dante-Gabryell Monson

Apr 14, 2013, 7:43:39 PM4/14/13
to Eric Hunting, Jeff Buderer, global-...@googlegroups.com, econ...@googlegroups.com, Samuel Rose, jeff buderer, Franz Nahrada, Michel Bauwens, Pavlik elf
Thank you Eric.  - I appreciate you see different approaches. I am interested to see how they can create synergies between each other.

I personally would branch in from the low threshold netroots / grassroots side,
with at first TAZ / neo nomadic potentiality ( ex : festivals - and festivalist self organization http://p2pfoundation.net/Festivalism )
yet with potentials to interface with more permanent settlements ,
and/or become more permanent settlements if and when context enables ( creation of economic activity )

Using knowledge / technology, yet minimalist - low weight infrastructure to start with.
Friends of mine looking into modular structures which can be assembled into a variety of ways based on needs, creating a variety of functional spaces or tools, while including considerations for scalability.  

Knowledge intensive, resource efficient.    

Temporary potential reduces limits for long term legal considerations, though with potential to conform over time if and when evolving into more permanent settlement.

Yet all can be planned through online tools / collaborative planning, including terrain and legal considerations,

while enabling rapid deployment on the terrain based on networked intelligence and computer aided ( supporting with information ) human assembly ( of spimed components into modules http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spime  )

In my personal view, Existing infrastructures ( ecovillages, academic research projects, etc )
can be used as collaboration aggregators , building on overlapping research and/or memes,
interfacing and creating synergies while feeding potentials for experimentation.

Its knowledge / information intensive potentials also enables to build on the recycling of materials and standardised components surplus from mainstream industrial society.

It can also combine natural materials based on local environments,
and set up small scale production to self replicate its infrastructure.

Hence it operates like seeds,
and individuals aggregating into ( temporary ? ) intentional tribes , organizing stigmergically.

It can use temporary strategies ( TAZ ),
or invest itself into more remote ( abandoned by speculation and capitalism ) areas,
and focus on healing / depollution / ecosystem retauration ( desertified areas, remote mountain areas  and villages which lost their populations, etc ),

or former abandoned urban industrial neighborhoods, which can be purchased at low cost and for which non speculative property models can be set ( as to avoid capitalist gentrification after post industrial redevelopment ).

It can also provide survival solutions for marginalized populations, while offering training into survival and local production solutions. ( role as learning environment )

Although at first, prototypes can be ( and are already ) experimented in relation to, for example, subcultural gatherings - such as music festivals.

Dante-Gabryell Monson

May 1, 2013, 6:17:19 PM5/1/13
to Eric Hunting, Jeff Buderer, global-...@googlegroups.com, econ...@googlegroups.com, Samuel Rose, jeff buderer, Franz Nahrada, Michel Bauwens, Pavlik elf, Chris Watkins
I love the way you describe it Eric ! :)

I wish to envision together some of the next steps to experiment with such approaches.

I wish to ask : 

in addition to existing festivals ( such as Burning Man ) , can we imagine courses that enable such approach ?  

Collaboration with http://www.gaiauniversity.org/ ?
And working with some of the people in our networks which may have some academic credentials and interest in exploring such appropriate technology approaches ? 

Courses which themselves become festivals ? With the potential to be financed not only through fees for courses ( which may be reduced depending on the amount of time spent and involvement in the projects ),
but also by redevelopment support - such as re-building some abandoned village with historical and architectural value , or intervening in re-development contexts - also see : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principles_of_Intelligent_Urbanism 

To enable such step by step experimentation, an emergent approach of creation and assembling of modules through the learning process, using appropriate technologies for a temporary settlement, in a "festivalist" approach.

Providing open source infrastructure solutions ( "male" energy - such as open source ecology ), in support - and supported by "female" energy / nurturing energy.

I see synergies between engineering / permaculture / healing / artistic learning environments ...  Women and men.

I can imagine at first such experimentation nearby small university towns with available land in their surroundings and good infrastructure.

I sense that it can be "Turquoise" meme, with entrance for nomad people in yellow meme, while interfacing with existing communities in Green memes,

and capacity for yellow and turquoise ( and coral, ... )  to bring in solutions at the service of any other value systems, yet in support of a holistic regeneration.

For example, spreading systemic food production solutions / permaculture,
enabling transfer of practices and technology enabling, for example, large scale land regeneration - such as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBLZmwlPa8A  ,

local manufacturing, logistics, resource allocation information systems, re-population of abandoned villages and re-dynamization of remote regional economics, etc

The production and logistics regarding the spimes, and also self constructible / programmed spimes ( see : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gMCZFHv9v8 ) and other solution components for such intentional nomadic approach  , can be facilitated by distributed semantic information systems - one prototype for such tool being for example http://www.netention.org/

On Wed, May 1, 2013 at 11:41 PM, Eric Hunting <erich...@gmail.com> wrote:

I'd like to explore this idea of a nomadic/festivalist approach a bit further and try visualizing such a project in terms of structures and activity. In another thread you note the idea of a Spimed Nomad Aggregator. Let me know how close to the mark I am, but I interpret that idea as being a kind of communal construct based on a nomadic approach to architecture that serves as a socialization, information, and production nexus for a nomadic community implementing some kind of semantic web platform as--among other uses--the basis of a spime characterizing its physical construction and systems. I would tend to visualize this as a kind of pop-up eco-village built as an emergent, modular, construct reconfiguring to different local situations and fluctuating population, building knowledge through the spime it creates about its own systems and structures. It's sort of like a traveling exposition of neo-nomadic/mobile-Maker/deployable eco-tech technology and culture. It serves not only as a physical nexus of activity--a festival--but a 'broadcaster', physically propagating itself through its open spime and the more-or-less independent production of its vernacular architecture and systems inspired/stimulated elsewhere by its presence and media output. It's almost a sort of Internet-viral urbanism.

The chief advantages--in theory--of a project based on this idea, compared to a more permanent settlement, are that it's potentially cheaper up-front since it needs no permanent real estate, it's more suited to distributed support/production, it can potentially repurpose found structures, and by moving around it can reach more people. But it also has one disadvantage in that it's a much tougher challenge to achieve any sort of subsistence capability. Mobile systems of production are limited to smaller scales. A lot of things that could really achieve some functional production in a more permanent setting may be limited to just demonstrations. But maybe that's OK in the context of exposition. You're reaching many more people than you could with something out in the countryside

There would seem to be a lot of current relevance for this concept. We are entering an age where impacts of Global Warming, the general failure of economics, and runaway austerity psychosis are putting billions of people out of their homes, on the move, and into jeopardy. And the market/state/militarist solutions to this have typically been institutional violence, denigration, and disenfranchisement. New Nomadism represents a kind of reaction to, protest of, and spotlight on, that. A functional nomadic _community_ offers the prospect of not only independent infrastructures of life-support with the possibility of dignified standards-of-living but, perhaps more importantly, social infrastructures for political and economic empowerment.

So far, though, explorations of new nomadic architecture have not produced functional contemporary vernaculars. Systems people can pick-up and go with relying on their own production or many common sources. The closest we've come to this is cargotecture--which, even with new flat-pack container modules, remains far too bulky to really be nomadic. Current design is mostly focused on the solitary individual or household rather than communities. Many variations on the theme of a Swiss Army Knife of shelter. It's in contexts of camping, novelty design-art, disaster relief, and very thoughtful and clever solutions for the homeless that never get out of a student designer's portfolio to actually reach them because there's no market to drive production and no social production as an alternative. This isn't to say there hasn't been a lot of really nice, useful and clever design in this area but if its just about one-off microshelters and solitary self-sufficiency it may be missing the point.

As beautiful as they are, the tipi, lavvu, and yurt are artifacts of specific cultures and environments. Situations different from the contemporary, predominately urban, situation even in the developing world. I think we need to look beyond the Swiss Army Knife of shelter to nomadic _habitats_. Urban constructs with collective infrastructures and--more importantly--collective social/political power.

So what does all that mean in terms of architecture? My first thought here was to imagine a very high-tech pop-up eco-village based on a sophisticated deployable superstructure. But then I realized there's another issue with this. Before we can answer this question, we need to have some clearer idea of the contemporary nomadic situation--it's context of location, environment, use, and mobility. We can seek a 'total' solution that physically suits a lot of situations--which was my first thought--but I came to realize that quickly gets very sophisticated in terms of fabrication and physically bulky, which challenges mobility. We start talking about tool-less quick-assembled multi-storey modular building systems mainstream industry has yet to get their act together with.

I think we need to first ask, where does this Maker-Nomad we are imagining live (or should that be phrased, where _can_ he live) and how does he get around? Tipis, lavvus, and yurts were designed by cultures that lived in the open--on plains/tundra--and moved cargo around primarily by sledges and wagons with the aid of animals. If the contemporary nomad is predominately living in an urban environment, he's getting around and using his surrounding environment very differently. Where and how does he 'make camp'?

Urban Alchemy:

I've long had this fantasy about a Maker community that takes over an abandoned suburban corporate campus--a relic of a recently-collapsed economy--and repurposes its neglected low-rise office buildings into a high-tech eco-village. They tear out the asphalt to make farms, parks, and Living Machines, strip down and clean up the concrete and steel skeletons, give them new skins of architectural membranes, living walls, algaeculture frames, and solar walls supported with spaceframes, and then retrofit their interiors for tribal cohabitation. Turn them into new Hakka Houses. It might look something like this;


I even considered developing an outquisition-theme comic book from this, though science fiction is surprisingly rare in comics, and 'hard' SF virtually non-existant. I never seem to to find artists who can get beyond superheroes, medieval fantasy, and porn. The theme of MacGyver-esque young people re-inventing the future the previous generation turned its back on and fixing the world with new green technology as the Industrial Age collapses is a bit beyond their ken...

Be that as it may, if we are visualizing the contemporary nomad as something like this--as a sophisticated urban nomad operating predominately in an urban environment, getting around mostly by street travel and the urban transit infrastructure, and repurposing its existing architecture by quick retrofit--then we have defined a context that may offer us the easiest and lowest cost project scenario; an indoor eco-village.

The indoor eco-village would be based on repurposing buildings much like those of the abandoned office park I described using portable 'pod furnitecture' and 'pod systems'. Deployable elements that you either easily take apart and pack-up and/or can move around on dollies, casters, and air-bearings. We're assuming that we're in an environment where you can move stuff around by hand cart and small light vehicle on relatively smooth streets and roads, have access to freight elevators to move through buildings, and where there is not a necessity for perfectly weatherproof structures because we're deploying mostly indoors--using existing structures or maybe deployable large area structures as 'skybreaks'. We're talking about a habitat sort of like this on a larger scale with more diversity of elements;


Setup in spaces like this;







Or under deployable skybreaks like this;





So what is 'pod furnitecture'? I invented the term 'furnitecture' to describe indoor structures which bridge the line between furniture and architecture by virtue of a more volumetric use of space or by employing independent enclosure.  Pod furnitecture refers more specifically to designs that are more enclosure-oriented, more self-contained in design, more 'appliance-like', and more inclined to be moved around as whole units.

Ken Isaacs' legendary Living Structures are furnitecture;




Things like Roger and Martyn Dean's Retreat Pod, Andrea Zittel's Wagon Stations, or the many forms of 'sleeping pods' derived from the Japanese Capsule Hotel unit are pod furnitecture.








These things relate to the concept of 'pod living' that was often explored by designers in the 1960s, based on the notion of reducing the functional elements of homes to a set of appliance-like objects that could be freely repositioned in the living space. (though their origins actually go back to ancient times and the independently enclosed beds common to many cultures) It failed to catch on because, in practice, conventional urban apartment space is very specialized and permanently compartmentalized, didn't accommodate open plan living until the 'lofting' trend came along, and couldn't well accommodate the use of 'appliances' the size of a small car… But in the large-span space its very convenient. I'm very fond of the concept myself because it very well suits the use of pavilion housing--housing based on the use of physically simple free-standing independent roof structures creating freely-reconfigured open-plan environments. This can greatly economize on the cost of housing by radically reducing interior finishing costs, which represent most of the costs in a home, while allowing for different low-toxic materials. I'm rather obsessed with the notion of housing that's 'PC-like'.

Moving In:

So how would we implement this indoor eco-village? What would it be like? Let's assume that we have at-hand a stripped unused urban structure as I've imagined. Pretty much a bare concrete skeleton of several floors in height. There may be intact window-walls or maybe the first thing our nomads need to do is setup a new 'skin' for the building.

Our imagined nomads have made a collection of deployable pods and other hardware that provide shelter and a mobile utilities infrastructure. They would have personal cabin pods--mostly for sleeping and storing personal goods--possibly some office pods for those who feel a need for a more quiet and isolated workspace the help concentration, and a number of systems and service pods. Telescoping T-slot jack-posts that compress between floor and ceiling would support some assembled pods and also serve for partitions, screens, light shelves, lamps, and many other items. QuaDror type supports ( http://www.quadror.com/ ) might also find many uses among pod and other deployable elements. All-in-one bathroom pods would use incinerating toilets. (the most convenient, compact, and low-impact means to handle that with portable hardware, but requiring venting and a lot of power or the use of canister fuel) Collapsable membrane water tanks reinforced by folding wire cages would be placed on plastic pallets to create mobile water storage where there is no adequate link to urban water supplies. These would also be used with some hydroponics systems for greywater recycling. There are modular kitchen pods. Various storage pods. Open/deployable or enclosed lounge pods with entertainment systems. There would be a power center pod that hosts batteries and controllers for deployable solar and wind systems and maybe a companion self-contained fuel cell or microturbine pod that runs on bio-ethenol. This is the same fuel that is now used for ventless low-heat indoor fireplaces and perhaps our nomads might even have such a symbolic 'hearth' in a mobile pod. There's a communications and data center pod that has server racks and provides a WiFi node while linking to existing telecom networks or using a WiFi/WiMax link on the roof. And, of course, there are various production workstation pods that fill out the tools and facilities of a community workshop/fab lab. With this pod concept we can make many of the larger tools of independent production more self-contained and mobile. Flat bed cutters and milling machines of various sorts on their own wheels. 3D printers on wheels up to 3m cubed.

Rooftop area would be a precious commodity with competition for use between solar/wind power, rainwater catchment, solar distillation, and gardening. So a more efficient way to go would be to employ vertical farming on lower building levels. Hanging Living Wall felt panels and vertical hydroponics systems like ZipGrow would be easy to install along the south-facing edges of the structure and still allow ambient light in.


Such systems are not only much easier to deploy than typical hydroponics, they would allow for the transport of hydroponics systems without removal of plants and the carrying of plants to market in their own means of attractive display.

In addition to quickly deployable solar panels--possibly using roll-up systems based on flexcell tarps ( http://buildaroo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/solar-tent-e1286834244609.jpg )--and deployable wind turbines ( https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/cU9AjwGVuXKSVCnYN2xOQ6XIzg5hbg-p_jvw622pw-7xfYlgTLgpOfRuApO8Dby-rOhqE57-7QTSe5hzoxElZuQeAQZ4y-Qpm-bwPeqTFv5D5SzNCUY ), the nomads may employ modular fiber optic heliostat arrays;





These would allow natural sunlight to be piped in on cable like electric power to illuminate the interior of the building and even plug-into individual pods. Fiber optic lighting systems would generally be safer, easier to install, and much more energy efficient (as much as 40% more efficient) because they eliminate discrete electric lighting fixtures and the electrical wiring to link them up. So the nomad's power pods might feature a hybrid fiber lighting center where an electric light pump is combined with heliostat input and then distributes light by cable to the rest of the complex. These would very safely combine with structures made of fabrics or be used outdoors or in wet areas.

Fiber lighting can be placed in any orientation so by combining this source of piped-in sunlight with a cylindrical pod structure to hang our vertical hydroponics on, it would be possible to make self-contained farming pods that could be placed anywhere indoors for intensive farming.


This form of lighting also allows for more sculptural uses of indoor hydroponics.


Solar thermal systems would be used for several different purposes using a hybrid heat exchange manifold. The conventional use would be for hot water heating. Then there would be use to drive solar air conditioning and water generation using adsorption coolers. And finally it would drive distillation to purifiy the water output from greywater Living Machines or rainwater catchment. This demands a pretty high-temperature system which may call for things like vacuum tube solar thermal collectors. These are not usually very portable so there would be a design challenge in their use. Perhaps solar concentrator heliostat heaters may be a more deployable and active system alternative.

Algaeculture, for food or fuels, can also be produced in much the same way as hydroponics using similarly portable supported or hanging vertical systems. Special processing and bio-reactor pods would be used to convert algae into either food or ethanol.



Not everything in the indoor village would be strictly utilitarian as the objective is to demonstrate a high potential standard of living and so some things that might seem frivolous by our usually militaristic notions of 'camping' would likely be included. Things like deployable art installations, museums, spas, multi-media entertainment pods akin to karaoke rooms, micro-planetariums, deployable theaters, facilities for pets, and so on.

Organization of the nomads' indoor village would depend on the topology of the structure they take over but a general order might see the rooftop employed chiefly for the different forms of energy collection, the floor below that used for water storage, intensive farming, and food storage, the floor below that for residence and common lounge/dining spaces, then a floor for the collective workshop/studio space, and at the bottom would be the 'garage' for the nomad's alternative forms of vehicles and more storage for shop supplies. The village may evolve through several stage of development, starting out very 'lean' with private space established primarily by the personal cabin pods in clusters around common lounge centers. Over time, however, individual living space may grow to clusters of multiple types of personal furnitecture enclosed in partitions and modular storage systems increasingly better insulated for sound.

Getting Around:

Getting around in lean and green fashion is a big deal and would be a constant obsession for the nomads. Most of the elements of the indoor village would be designed for relatively easy transport in the manner of push-carts, the urban landscape offering relatively easy mobility for things with relatively small wheels. Some towing devices--Segway-like walking tractors similar to two-wheel tugs used to move light planes in hangars or tow luggage carts in airports--might be devised to further aid this.



Powered hand carts are also likely and not unknown on the market.


These simple mechanisms could also be integrated into the design of some frequently moved pods.

An electric or hybrid version of the classic military mule would be ideal for an endless variety of uses and could host its own power charging with flex-cell canopies. With mecanum wheel drive, as used in some materials handling robots and fork lifts now, it could be the ultimate urban utility transport.



But it's likely that the nomads would experiment with a large assortment of electric, hybrid, and human powered vehicles both for use indoors and on the street and this could be one of the quite fun aspect of this project.














I'm rather fond of the simple tuk-tuk myself, which are now commonly electric.






Future or Fantasy?:

I think a demonstration of this model of nomadism is very feasible and could be explored on different scales, from a one-floor installation to a whole building and with a variety of variations in situation. But there's a critical question here. How realistic would this example be?

My fantasy example of a Maker community taking over an office park is premised on the notion of a regional economic collapse that leaves both original property owners and municipal governments too bankrupt to oppose what this community does with the space. (something that might only actually exist in the US in Detroit…) In practice, American municipal/city governments always resist any activity unconventional in nature. Anything new, different, and lacking the stamp of approval by members of the upper-class is assumed wrong by default and violently attacked. I often say that the NYPD has probably gleefully destroyed more art than the Taliban. Is our nomadic scenario only possible in a somewhat dystopian future? Would the modern urban nomad we imagine be allowed to exist anywhere? Is he forced to the edge of wilderness like everything else that's different?

Certainly, urban hackerspaces seem possible and so we could imagine this as an extension of that context. In a slumped real estate market, property owners would be more open to unconventional uses of their property at discount rates as long as it doesn't represent anything permanent in nature--which rationalizes the nomadic nature of this. One is always being evicted once the landlord finds more 'legitimate' tenants and forced to move on to another space. Certainly, the phenomenon of the arts community as agent of gentrification is well established. For a century, of not two, we've seen that artists, always seeking-out low-cost studio space in the depressed areas of cities, revitalize local real estate markets with their creation of a local 'arts scene'. Subsequently, they find themselves evicted from the communities they largely created as upper-class residents move in causing rents to become untenable. Could a similar phenomenon become a hallmark of Maker community activity, instigating entrepreneurial industry rather than an art scene? Perhaps it's most realistic to suggest that our nomads would be living in a variety of situations, sometimes having to deal with rural or wilderness environments. (which would certainly be the case when engaging in developing world outreach or disaster aid) In my comic book fantasy the Maker nomads use adaptive reuse to turn all sorts of obsolete structures into bases as they travel the world; shopping malls, forgotten missile silos, water and gas tanks, subway stations, limestone mines, cooling towers of abandoned nuclear reactors, amusement parks, abandoned ships--all kinds of architectural detritus of the Industrial Age given unusual new life.

But if our imagined nomads are compelled to work on the urban periphery or in wilderness then they are faced with a new set of challenges and the requirement to create mobile superstructures that assume the roles of the urban superstructures they would have repurposed.

Not-So-Urban Nomads:

Interestingly, while the work of Ken Isaacs with his Living Structures strongly influenced the emergence of an Urban Nomad movement in the late 1960s and early '70s, it was a very brief movement largely because it's image of the future failed to materialize. It was premised on the notion of imminent Post-Industrial collapse long anticipated across the '60s and the vision of a more sophisticated youth culture adopting a more-or-less seasonally nomadic way of life repurposing the detritus of the Industrial Age as the civilization re-wired itself. The economic collapse was postponed and, frankly, that sophisticated urban youth culture never emerged because, through runaway gentrification, the cities became untenable in their mid-century role as home of young adults entering the workforce, the market clued-into the tactic of co-opting youth culture by stealing it, re-packaging it, and selling it back to them, while a conspiracy of academia and the banking system began indenturing the young with life-long debt right out of school. So what we really ended up with, at least in the US, was a suburban youth culture where kids stayed at home with parents well into adulthood or formed tribes of friends to cohabitate in rented inner-suburban houses or low-rise apartment complexes while seeking commuter jobs like their parents.

So in his later work Isaacs started move away from the city too. He went out to the country and started experimenting with semi-nomadic microhousing deployed on the woods. I say 'semi-nomadic' because it was still based on the idea of a culture that traveled with the seasons but now they were leaving structures behind with the expectation that they would be intact when they returned. He developed a concept called 'mobilism' where, instead of investing in one heavily overbuilt house, people would create these small very minimalist dwellings in multiple places and travel between them with the seasons, rather like some herding folk or trappers who create support buildings in strategic places along their routine migration. The houses didn't need to be heavily insulated or equipped--they would each only be used in mild climate and the more valuable 'gear' would be moved between them. So it was sort of like urban nomadism without the city architecture to provide the superstructure. You were making that yourself and leaving it behind in a number of places.

You could say this was a sort of Modernist version of a Faerie Court lifestyle. In Celtic folklore the Faerie Court is always on the move. They're nature spirits, traveling across the landscape, doing their stuff to drive the cycles of the seasons. So, traveling in grand processions by night, they go from barrow mound to glen to grotto to ruins creating temporary, and normally invisible, palaces of the places they stop at. So these various permanent features of the landscape become the markers of stations of the cycle of their travels. It parallels, in ways, the nature of seasonal royal processions and the movement of noble courts among different seasonal palaces.

But there was one part of this idea that Isaacs never quite managed to make work. Originally, he described mobilism as employing minimalist structures as rugged as an anvil so they could survive through their unused seasons. He never quite managed to create that because, frankly, it meant heavy construction he couldn't do. For this idea to really work, your structures, though minimalist, need to be extremely resilient to weather and vandalism. (especially vandalism if they're on the suburban periphery. Young people there have a lot of frustration to vent and a chronic lack of spaces to call their own…) His experimental constructs of plywood and pipe-fitting systems weren't likely to survive a typical winter.

Taking a much heavier structural approach, our imagined nomads might explore this strategy by creating a series of free-standing single-storey pavilion structures in strategic countryside locations that assume the same function of the office building structures they would use in an urban environment. Imagine a series of simple bare Brutalist pavilions made of reinforced concrete (tridipanel for easiest construction), stacked stone, fired brick, gabions (building stone baskets), or even boulders and possibly employing various forms of earth-berming.











Since these would be purpose-built, the structures might include a grid of formed-in plug-in sockets like those used for climbing form systems or flush-mounted T-slot rails that provide built-in attachment points for quick-mount elements. These might also be used to close-up the structures with steel shutters when not in use. They might also include some utilities--wells and septic tanks in particular--and inserts for gas, wood, or pellet stoves. Internet connections may be more difficult to establish with such locations but long-distance bridge links may be a serviceable alternative to the poor value service of contemporary satellite ISPs. One unusual possible feature unique to this culture might be built-in 'dead drops'. These are embedded digital storage devices like flash drives that would be used to store some spime data and residents information. Sort of a digital guest book. These days they can even be wireless, since we not only have WiFi flash drives by WiFi power recovery to charge them. ( http://deaddrops.com/ )

These pavilions would take various forms; simple rectangles and polygons, circles, rings, or domes sized to accommodate many people in one multi-function structure or a cluster/compound of smaller structures of more specialized use and small groups.

During mild seasons, the pavilions would be inhabited just as the urban buildings were, using the same pod furnitecture and retrofit systems. When not in use, they would be stripped down and closed up, the community moving to other compounds with milder seasonal climate. If sufficiently secure, they might also serve as materials and data systems caches. This is actually an approach to architecture I have intended to use myself for my own low-toxic home--albeit with a more permanent enclosure and utilities installation. There is an endless variety of simple pavilion structures--many prefab--that can be easily turned into palatial homes with a little ingenuity. Relying on open-plan living and furnitecture eliminates the conventional interior finishing that is not only a major source of indoor chemical pollution but also the largest portion of housing construction cost.

The chief drawback of this approach is that, at present, the nomad community would ultimately need to own the land for these locations in order to build such structures. The community may be mobile, but this property and heavy structures put on it are not. But if that issue could be overcome, the approach would technically work.

Pop-Up Microcity:

A more completely mobile approach, however, would require our nomads' architecture to move beyond pod-furnitecture to include the deployment of portable, demountable, superstructures to host them, which brings us back to the notion of a pop-up eco-village.

As noted earlier, skybreak shelters such as deployable tension roofs and tent-domes can work as hosts for the indoor village, functioning much the same as the proposed heavy pavilion shelters only lacking a ceiling and so relying mostly on free-standing elements. They would need level deck systems, but that's a standard feature for many existing event domes and pavilions. Thanks to modern materials, such structures can be as durable as any permanent buildings, be completely transparent, can integrate their own photovoltaic panels using flex-cells, and recently even EL paints have appeared allowing us to paint-on lighting. ( http://www.lumilor.com/ ) The critical limitation of these structures is that they are not modular (even though domes may have a modular framing system, their tent skins are not) and the larger their necessary enclosure area the larger their basic structural elements become, making them progressively more difficult to deploy. But as with the heavy pavilions, replicating multiple structures of a relatively large but still manageable size is a workable solution.

But can we do better? These skybreaks aren't quite as versatile or durable as the repurposed urban buildings we imagined our nomads inhabiting at first. They aren't volumetric and our village would be inclined to sprawl and fracture--to become more suburban. Even relatively modest sized tent covers could take many people to deploy or remove. Can we realize a more modular, urban, superstructure and still have it relatively easily demountable and transportable?

This is where the modular building systems I noted before come in; modular post & beam systems, space frame systems, and pavilion systems. They offer us two basic approaches to superstructure; a space-filling grid superstructure where our nomads' pod furnitecture evolves into a kind of plug-in architecture and a terraced superstructure that creates much the same kind of structure as the urban buildings. Both these things require--more-or-less--newly engineered modular building systems. There are no equivalents off-the-shelf, though some hardware that may be repurposed. But if kept relatively low in expected performance--let's say, limited to structures of about four storeys--they may be feasible near-term. Both of these also represent systems I've been trying to realize with the Utilihab project. So let me explain what these approaches are like.

A space-filling grid is a superstructure that uses some kind of space frame structure to fill space in a more-or-less regular volumetric grid. This might be based on a post & beam system or a triangulated space frame that creates some other kind of standard volumetric unit that can host a sizeable unit pod structure. (like nesting polyhedra networks, fractal 'sponges', and the like) This grid then supports habitable structures as retrofit attachments to this grid--systems of cabin pods, cabin 'bay' modules, and deck panels. Utilities systems may run internal to the space frame elements or be likewise retrofit. The space frame is generally exposed, requiring pod elements to be independently weatherproofed, but can also be enclosed by an exterior skin/panel system or retrofit roofing systems.

A simple example of this approach is illustrated by Ken Isaac's designs using pipe-fitting systems for his early 'mobilist' experiments.




Here he used a pipe-fitting system as an exposed post & beam space frame resting on small cement pads. Stressed skin plywood cabin units and deck pallet modules simply fit in the open space and attach to the frame. At the modest scale of these designs--unit ~1.5m cubed--this supposedly worked well though the cabin modules were not large enough to stand up in unless designed for vertical orientation. To overcome this limitation, whole or large parts of the space frame could be enclosed by an external plywood skin, leaving more 'headroom' in the open framing.


Others have more recently attempted the same structural approach at a larger scale. This example looks to be using around a 2.5m grid, which looks much more convenient but was probably not as sturdy.


Isaacs imagined this grid being incrementally expanded to fairly large complexes flowing over the terrain and, by the mobilism model, this frame hardware was intended to be left behind in seasonal migration. He considered his plywood constructions largely disposable. It's hard to imagine such very light structures as surviving well on their own. And pipe-fitting systems, even though a little bit improved today, rely on the friction of locking screws to hold everything together and so aren't the safest way to build things. Anything more than two levels is probably pushing it.    But this is a good illustration. There are many things that can work similarly at this modest scale; modular industrial shelving, stacking post pallets ( http://www.palletower.com/images/product_images/up603p1.jpg ), plastic and aluminum pallets modified to attach support posts (like a giant version of plastic shelving  http://www.pensito.eu/custom-made-plastic/custom-plastic-pallets/images/custom/01_CMP/cmp-custom-plastic-pallet-01.jpg ), on and on. I find the market of industrial materials handing products endlessly fascinating, even if much of it is rather specialized.

Space Grid City:

But a practical system for our nomads--something large enough to be truly livable and functional for mobile production activity--would probably be much larger in scale and employ a much more substantial rigidly connected structural system even at the cost of higher mass. Let's say a space frame grid in something approximating 2.5-3m cubed. That would give us a very useful basic 'pod' size.


Utilihab is intended to produce just these kinds of structures using extruded aluminum T-slot framing. It's intended to use a bay size of up to 3m height in box units up to 6m square and with a load capacity supporting many storeys. The catch with it has been a lack of off-the-shelf T-slot profiles up to the ideal size of 150-200mm square. Very recently, however, a Chinese company may have just begun production of a profile of this size, though using a propriety connector.


There's a possibility that this could be very competitive in cost to US and European T-slot products because it's intended for building, not applications with an 'executive premium' attached. So we can now potentially build box frame grid complexes of quite large size using components that can be handled by very few people with convenient T-slot attachment all over their frame surfaces for convenient retrofit. This would be an excellent way to create a pop-up eco-village. Everything we can imagine could be easily integrated to this kind of grid structure. Weatherproof cabins could be made to generous size using walled tent schemes or panelized systems could be used for enclosure. Modular roofing systems could be employed. No question that this would be a more expensive, elaborate, and labor-intensive construction than the much simpler indoor village, but would all be easily demountable and use very few tools. The drawback is that, collectively, it's still a lot of hardware to transport from place to place. This would be much more involved than moving portable pods on wheels from place to place. We're probably talking shipping containers and conventional trucks to move this around. And, while it would be potentially very weather-resilient, it would still not be something one would want to leave on its own in the wilderness when not in use.

Pavilion City:

The pavilion system approach is a more high-tech approach and at present no off-the-shelf structural system approximates it except, perhaps, some space frame systems. The basic idea is to use modular elements to create a deck and column system for terraced construction, producing a superstructure much like the conventional urban building but with much lighter materials and thus limited to fewer storeys. And because this is purpose-designed, the surface of the structure would be intended to support quick plug-in attachment of all the functional elements we would want to retrofit to it.

Conventional triangulated space frame systems can accomplish this by using a space-filling geometry to fill-out the forms of flat decks and systems of columns supporting them. There are, however, some caveats with this approach, as I noted before. Keeping these space frames to a modest scale of complexity means using relatively large module sizes. This makes for rather bulky structures, as illustrated by the floor deck of this old instant house concept with a module size of something around 2m;


One could reduce the deck thickness by using shorter members, but this has the drawback of creating many different parts sizes. You want to keep things to few different strut lengths when there are so many parts. This is why we tend to see these used only in very large span structures, and not often using the space frame for support columns. But that's what we would want in this case. We would want to have generous free span areas to roll our indoor village systems into. We're making things on the scale of a low-rise office building. So, as bulky as this is, with a simple space frame system with a module size half to fourth the intend storey height and which we could also use for domes, it could potentially work. We can then use a drop-in floor system based on deck panels that mount to 'hand' supports plugging into the top of the space frame nodes--like like a data center raised floor system. Roofing would work similarly.

There is, however, another way to go with space frames if we can work with a relatively large maximum strut length (4m) and a somewhat odd floor geometry. Previously I noted the Min-A-Max and Universal Node System space frame geometries developed by architect Peter Pierce. These have the unique capability of integrating, with the same set of parts, a deck truss system supported largely by triangulated perimeter structure and additional vertical internal struts. You can imagine this as being like a geodesic dome which has the ability to integrate a series of truss decks within and supported by it. To do this structures must assume a specific overall form that is compatible with this deck truss geometry. The deck system for Min-A-Max is called the 'tetrahex truss' and forms a series of hexagonal units with an equilateral triangle grid along its plane surfaces. To be stable this must integrate into a stable, triangulated, polyhedral shape and the largest of these is a truncated octahedron.


Imagine you divided this shape into three horizontal sections.  Here's a 3D puzzle toy that illustrated these sections, as well as giving you an idea of what this shape would be like made of triangulated struts;



Thus divided you get two kinds of volumes; a large equatorial volume and a smaller polar volume. And you also get two kinds plane surfaces; a hexagon and a truncated triangle. These planes match the shapes we can make with the tetrahex truss.

Truncated octahedrons are space-filling.


This is why they've been proposed as the basis of space stations and cluster microhouses--like N55's take on Ken Isaacs' LEM like microhouse;


But take any nested combination of truncated dodecahedrons and you can divide them by these same horizontal sections, creating a series of parallel planes with a tiling pattern of hexagons and truncated triangles. By triangulating their perimeter you make a self-stable system of decks. A pavilion system.

We can elaborate this geometry further. The truncated tetrahedron and cuboctahedron derive from the same geometry and, in combination with the truncated octahedron form a space-filling system that likewise divides into the same set of horizontal planes. This is where the more complicated shapes of UNS structures comes from. And, again, N55 have speculated on microhousing uses of this.


But for simplicity sake, I think the truncated octahedron system alone suits our ends.

In Min-A-Max, the truncated octahedron can be stabilized by either 'planar' triangulation--triangles along the plane of the faces--or 'domical' triangulation approximating a sphere. Consequently, the two kinds of tetrahex truss planes can be formed into shallow domes. So we can make two standard tension fabric roof shell units to cover any stacked tessellated combination. (assuming we can figure out how to waterproof the edges they meet at) These would also serve as functional solitary dome units.

We don't need to worry about covering the whole surface of the structure with panels for enclosure. We just need to fit vertical panels surrounding a hexagonal prism volume in the center of each section unit. Theres a hexagonal prism volume running through each section of the truncated octahedron, defining the basic functional unit space.

Clearly, the geometry of these structures is complex and one key drawback of that is floor and ceiling systems that use equilateral triangle panels. Many people idealize triangles and hexagons, but from a fabrication standpoint they're a bit cumbersome and wasteful when most stock panel materials are produced in rectangular sheets. Be that as it may, our nomad's use of pod furnitecture makes the larger topology of a structure largely irrelevant. They are going to use this space in an open-plan fashion and so as long as the space is generous enough to let them setup their furnitecture freely, it works.

But is there yet a simpler way to go about this? Maybe, but it may require even more advanced fabrication than these space frame systems would.

As noted before, Utilihab is intended to evolve into a more advanced pavilion building system. It's current incarnation as a post & beam frame & panel system is a compromise, relying on aluminum T-slot framing because the industry for its production is already established worldwide. The common problem with modular building systems of the past has always been convincing Capital of the existence of a market for something new--and so anything truly new is virtually impossible. This is the chief reason why no modular architectural building system developed in the 20th century ever succeeded commercially. But as I noted, I've always been obsessed with the idea of PC-like housing and so my dream has been to develop a 'plug & play' architecture based on 'smart' components with integrated sensors and utilities that reduced the labor and complexity of construction to as low as possible--short of having a house assemble itself.

So imagine an open frame cube of high performance alloy, one meter cubed. It might be triangulated and in fabrication it might be made of multiple parts. Some versions might even be collapsable. Some might comprise sets of modules to make construction quicker. But it's engineered to function as a monolithic unit. Its edges are flat and flush, with the exception that along the faces it has an attachment system. Maybe a grid of sockets or a channel like T-slot framing. There may also be a formed-in volume of foam providing thermal, sound, and fire insulation, such as Airkrete. Each unit has integral mechanical connectors near the corners that are engaged with a hand-operated mechanism or some simple tool. They also feature integral utilities channels and connectors or, at least, mounts for supporting them and a single-chip sensor node with temperature, moisture, stress, and load sensors. These units are mass-produced. They are the primary building element for this system.

To build a home with these you first install a foundation, possibly using concrete piers, and attach your first cubes to them and level and align them with a laser level tool. Then you start attaching more, place on against the other and engaging their integral connectors to lock them together. You continue until you have a complete floor deck in the outline of the first floor level. This functions as a two-way planar truss. It is the 'backplane' of the house. Some special modules may be designed with special features or serve to 'anti-alias' the profile of the floor deck so you can use rounded corners, make circular deck shapes, or have flowing contour-terraces.

As you connect the modules you are also connecting their sensors into a live sensor web that is linked to a home WiFi network. So, using a modeling application, you can see on a PDA or tablet a model of the house as you assemble it. It might show the planned form of the house so as to guide your through assembly, but it's also showing the structural integrity of the building as its assembled, showing you what is safe and unsafe to add and where you might need temporary supports as you work.

Once you complete you're first deck plane you now begin to plug-in supports for the upper deck. These would include temporary jack posts and permanent columns in various styles and designs (trust me, tikis will make a come-back) or they may include modular furniture (usually shelving and cabinet systems) or even appliances reinforced to be load-bearing elements. They are all designed to suit the 1m module grid so you slide these into place where you want them and then engage the same kind of connecting mechanism and lock them into deck. Some may have integral wheels or low-friction slides to assist their movement. These may have the same utilities and sensor web interfaces as the deck modules so as soon as they are connected, they're 'on-line' and will appear in the house modeling app. With enough of these in place, you can now start snapping together deck blocks for the next level. Repeat as needed until you get to the roof deck atop which you plug-in a modular flat roofing panel system. You now can plug in non-load-bearing window-wall and pre-finished partition panels into the floor grid, creating a full enclosure. Finally, you plug in outdoor surface and deck tiles/panels, maybe outdoor hydroponic plant bed panels (imagine pre-seeded polymide felt panels that grow moss instead of grass) and indoor floor and ceiling tiles/panels or put down a plug-in plank system and your building is complete. From here the building app now functions as a home control system and continuous monitor of the structure's integrity, sensing failures and tracking environmental performance. This could form the basis of a live spime web for the building and all its elements. Everything in the structure remains demountable. You can take it all apart as easily as it was put together, re-arrange and ad this in-situ, and the structural modeling app will always tell you what's safe to put where. It will even let you model changes before you do them so you could play with the architecture like building houses in The Sims and download models of items to try out before you buy them or have them made.

Using low-profile deck modules, this system would readily retrofit into other structures, giving them a new backplane for the system's many modular parts and accessories.

Can such a building system be produced today, as an open building system? Maybe. But it would be a very sophisticated project. The deck and column system would need to be exceptionally strong and capable of at least several storeys height. But it would probably be the greatest advance to housing technology since the invention of the fired brick. Buildings of most any relatively modest size would become one-person tasks. A simple cottage home could be built by one person in a matter of hours. Just like the PC, a whole new global industry of parts would develop, competing horizontally while integrating vertically just like the PC's industrial ecology.

With such a system at-hand our imagined nomads could build--using lighter versions of some of these components--very sophisticated yet completely portable structures of most any size anywhere. Their pod furnitecture would evolve into plug-in load-bering elements for this system. Simply by arranging them on their own foundation jacks and plugging in deck modules around them they would create a sheltered habitat. But I fear this may be much too sophisticated a building technology to pursue for our immediate plans. Still, it's fun to imagine.

So there is my attempt at visualizing what this project might be like. Maybe some of these ideas are of use.

Eric Hunting

Dante-Gabryell Monson

May 1, 2013, 6:19:54 PM5/1/13
to p2p-foundation, econ...@googlegroups.com, global-...@googlegroups.com

Dante-Gabryell Monson

May 3, 2013, 9:05:29 AM5/3/13
to Chris Watkins, Franz Nahrada, Samuel Rose, econ...@googlegroups.com, global-...@googlegroups.com, Pavlik elf, jeff buderer, Jeff Buderer, Michel Bauwens, Eric Hunting
Thank you Chris

I find the waterpod very interesting too in relation to the general idea expressed in the last exchanges.

I like such pod prospect of nomadic , modular approach - which can be combined with land nomadism -,
which can also contribute in spreading memes and serve as social aggregator,
while eventually supporting social / economic / environmental regeneration
through knowledge transfer and experimental development of scalable and distributed appropriate technologies.

I remember ( Eric ? ) mentionning

It included a floating platform
and ( with same modular components ? ) 
a modular boat

I will add these links to the appropedia page you shared... 

On Fri, May 3, 2013 at 7:45 AM, Chris Watkins <chrisw...@appropedia.org> wrote:

Might also be of interest: http://www.appropedia.org/Category:Waterpod

Dante-Gabryell Monson

May 3, 2013, 2:20:07 PM5/3/13
to Franz Nahrada, Samuel Rose, econ...@googlegroups.com, global-...@googlegroups.com, Pavlik elf, jeff buderer, Jeff Buderer, Michel Bauwens, Eric Hunting
Hi Eric,

Regarding the communities / individuals / social dynamics,
I for example imagine some educated people who move to overcrowded cities to find jobs - and more specifically so , at first, artists and passionate engineers. - including people involved in maker-faire movements / edgeryders / etc

Some of these educated people doing jobs they are overqualified for, yet do these jobs simply to survive.

As to free time to focus on activities and lifestyles they may be more passionate about, many of them I interact with are interested in reducing their material needs.

They can be open to more flexible lifestyles, living in smaller places or together with other people, spend time in certain cities to earn money in precarious jobs, and save enough to spend a few month every year traveling.

When they travel, they also connect to other communities in various places, attend festivals, learn while being on the road, etc


As to reduce costs while living in cities, I imagined and proposed legal frameworks, for example cooperatives, which could rent places and sublet to their members.

Often such educated creative urban nomads fill in precarious jobs, and to enable a framework that supports a flexible lifestyle, some may be interested in renting short term.

Yet in cities such as Brussels, rent prices are going up because of the influx of such educated short term workers - there is not enough offer of residential space.

Yet there is too much office space.  The idea is to enable the cooperative to rent bigger spaces ( which individual creative precarious workers may not be able to afford individually ),
such as big office spaces ( millions of surplus of empty office space in Brussels ),

and the cooperative can organize the space to make it livable, and enable the neo nomads to live in their own furnitecture spaces.   The furnitecture could also be self produced by using the local production capacity of a sister cooperative, in which members can contribute for the production ( enabling lower cost of furnitecture )

Assembling of Furnitecture from modular components ideally can be adapted to context.
Yet ideally having standardized components ( yet there can be a great variety of components for many possible constructions )

Each component being standardized and having a URI, and there being a market, nomads who leave places can easily re-sell it, rent it, on a local market of such modular components.

There is also the possibility for squatting, yet renting by the cooperative can enable less stress and less loss of time in struggles,

although the squatting movement can go in support / hand in hand as it can encourage companies to rent, even temporarily, their office spaces under contract with low cost rent, as to avoid these spaces to be squatted.

The nomadic structure approach enables , when the company wants to take back the property for other uses, a capacity for easy and rapid redeployment.

The cooperative subletting several places, and offering a guarantee for the "owners" of the property it rents, of the places, it can help in the logistics and arranging new spaces for its members.


Yet, it is also good to have a home.  And one strategy may be to enable saving of money in high cost cities where there are jobs ( even if precarious ones ),

and then re-invest in redeveloping some more abandoned cities and regions - such as currently eastern germany and/or portugal.

Cooperative structures could be set up, and people could be owners of the shares of their apartments  yet ownership can be from the cooperative, so that other people living in the building can choose who they live with when one person sells their shares back to the cooperative.  It also eliminates financial speculation on the shares and property, and focuses on use value.

People earning money in expensive overcrowded cities where there is concentration of capital, can then better use some of their savings to re-invest in low cost places and create higher quality of life there, slowly building up local regional economics in such economically depressed places, for example along new forms of non capitalistic market based economics.


T slot, triangulation, polyhedrons, pop up ecovillage - yes to all that.

I would like using computed Parametric design involving Tensegrity

for the pop up village.

and be able to keep a follow up on all components which would in effect be spimes.

I am also completely into the idea of Furnitecture.

So I imagine all of these components being part of a standardised framework, which can be assembled in different ways and along different geometries - so each standardised object having a unique number ( uri ) , being a "spime" / easily tracable.

All being part of a database, depending on the ( open source ? ) models, the various designs can be adaped to terrain ( and/or copied, even partially, when useful patterns want to be re-used )

I also imagine that the whole building process ( assemblage and dis-assemblage ) can be automated using robots, such as quadrotors - see : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W18Z3UnnS_0

In addition to using the standardised components to build pop up ecovillages and/or furnitecture,
I imagine that the components can also be assembled in other ways, including for transportation.    Barges for example could be constructed by re-assembling in different ways some of the components, hence using components to build up the transportation for the components.   Standardised engine modules could easily be adapted for various configurations and uses. 

Dante-Gabryell Monson

May 7, 2013, 10:54:23 AM5/7/13
to econ...@googlegroups.com, global-...@googlegroups.com
follow up on thread... Eric Hunting's reply below

also see more related / branched threads from this conversation

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Eric Hunting <erich...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, May 7, 2013 at 5:36 PM
Subject: Re: Spimed Nomad Aggregators
To: dante....@gmail.com

The scenario you describe, based on a cooperative renting space and flexibly subletting to individuals and small groups, sounds plausible to me. This is a workable premise. It may be a situation a bit unique to Belgium or other European countries with similar types of commercial space surplus in their cities. But that's still a very large venue to demonstrate these ideas with and a large potential community of users/participants. The urban nomad lifestyle fits this situation as a mechanism for overcoming the barrier gentrification has created to cities' traditional lifecycle role as entry point to work-life and cultivator of entrepreneurship.

Collaboration with the Gaia University might be a possibility, but they seem very focused on Permaculture, Soft-Tech, and 'personal development'. Their heavy use of New Age and pop-psych terminology is also a likely turn-off for people in the Maker community. It certainly raised a lot of red flags for me looking at their web site. This has historically been a problem for Permaculture's legitimacy. I'm a great advocate of it. It's potential for sustainable farming and land restoration are tremendous. And industries like mass cultivation of terra preta have huge global commercial potential as well as huge positive environmental and carbon management impact. That's the tropic belt's world-changing export that John Liu was talking about. (and one of the possible industrial outputs of comprehensive OTEC development I've been advocating for years--using part of the output of polyspecies mariculture as a foundation for high-intensity permaculture to farm not just food but also culture terra preta as a global export) But for some reason it has always been a magnet for that faction of environmentalist culture that just can't draw a clear line between science and their New Age 'woo' and tend to be oblivious to how that impacts the image of the technology. But I do think that organization could have very positive things to contribute, assuming they can fit what we're proposing into their worldview.

Collaboration with an industrial or architectural design school seems more likely to me because, right now, what we need most is people who want to get their hands into designing and making things. Exploring building systems, experimenting with designing specific hardware. There's already something of a craze for microhouses in the design schools now. Student projects in that theme are all over the internet now. That's something complimentary to what we're talking about. The idea of a new nomadic architecture fits right into that.

Chris's note of the Waterpod project is also good. I think that's a very good example of the scale and style of project that would be likely for this at the start. Barges are also a useful venue, but a bit providential to find. But we now have off-the-shelf deployable float platforms of various kinds that could be explored, including the Asian-made modular cube floats.




Thinking about starting points, maybe we could begin with a small design exposition that's intended to showcase the basic look and character of the indoor eco-village and designs for a basic 'suite' of pod structures that make up its essential functions. We wouldn't need to standardize on much more than rough unit sizes here as we would use this first demonstration to let people experiment a bit and see what works best. An office building, warehouse, or even art gallery venue may suit a first project. Small event tents/domes could also be used.

Referencing back to Shigeru Ban's Naked House design, the mobile room pods he designed for that were based on traditional Japanese housing vernaculars so these were 4 1/2 tatami rooms, which works out to something around 2.64m square and possibly the same in height. (including the clearance for casters) Standard European office building ceiling height is about 2.7-2.8m, though this has been moving in recent years to a more common 3m height as this better accommodates data center and communications installations. This usually excludes the space taken up by raised floor systems and suspended ceilings (the gap between suspended ceiling and deck beams) so that adds anywhere from 20-60cm when stripped out. Bed sizes are another useful guide. The largest standard European mattress length is 2m. Japanese capsule hotel units have a typical interior volume of 2x1x1.25m but there are some newer larger ones as well. The recent western reinvention of the capsule hotel unit turning up in airports lately, the Sleep Box, is a 2.5x1.6x2.5m unit but a larger form is 3.05m high. Shipping pallets, being an old technology, have very screwy tradition-derived dimensions. But modern plastic ones have typical metric dimensions of about 96cm to 1.2m square. Most pallet sizes are also found as pallet boxes. People commonly make bed platforms and other furniture from pallets, though given the pesticides the wooden ones are commonly treated with now, it's probably not wise to use them indoors anymore. Aluminum air shipping container dimensions are another useful guide as they have some prospect of being converted as-is into pods. The largest rectangular forms (M1) are 317.5cm x 244cm x 244cm high.

Considering all this, a useful exterior dimension of about 2-2.5m cubed seems a likely general standard size, providing enough space for additional caster clearance and standing jacks and volume for built-ins. Length and width up to around 3m would be OK as we have more leeway on the horizontal. Modular combinations using 1-2m deep open sided bay units like are also a strong possibility. So we have a good amount of flexibility with this general size and shape. To give an impression of what can be done in this amount of space, here's a recent commercial example of furnitecture based on a 8'/2.43m cube.


There are an infinite variety of ways one could construct such modest sized pods or items that could be repurposed. Grid Beam would work as would the common 40mm T-slot profiles. There are also some electronics enclosure building products that would work and some fiber-reinforced plastic profiles. And, of course, just plain old steel structural tubing and pipe fitting too.

Recently I've been toying with the notion of experimenting with wooden or recycled plastic composite lumber T-slot. I'm a big fan of Grid Beam (since it evolved from Ken Isaacs' Matrix system) but have always been stymied by the hassle of having to drill many precise holes. I just don't have the patience and steadiness of hand for doing that and have never found a durable series drilling jig for this off-the-shelf. Normally, this has been done with big multi-spindle drill presses. Aluminum T-slot framing is generally overpriced in small quantities. So I've been thinking of wood as a cheaper option. There are off-the-shelf self-centering drill jigs and router bits that would let you route a continuous T-slot with much greater ease than drilling serial holes and thin aluminum inserts to put in to reinforce them. It's commonly used for making clamping slots for workshop tables. The catch is that, structurally, a wooden T-slot beam is not nearly as strong as aluminum because wood is weak in tension perpendicular to the grain, and T-slot connections mount on that perpendicular. This is why most non-destructuve mechanical connection schemes with wood use through-bolts or the like. But I've been wondering if it may still be strong enough for relatively light furnitecture applications and if the loss of strength and increase in beam thickness is compensated for by the easier fabrication and greater reuse potential. This may be less of a problem using plastic lumber or using aluminum channel inserts fixed by screws.

Polypropylene T-slot profiles apparently do exist, though I've yet to find a specific company supplying them. I know they exist because I have seen some other very interesting products made with them. There are a number of types of modular storage pallet products and one uses a system of simple plastic beams that link in a square grid to make a pallet deck of any area. One in the US is marketed as the Hi & Dri Storage Pallet system, which has no metric form, unfortunately. This may be a repurposing of some industrial fiberglass reinforced plastic building products;



With longer T-slot posts, this could become a clever building system for light structures.

Plastic pallets and 'dunnage' rack products have a lot of potential, particularly those classed as 'hygienic' as they have solid decks and corners that allow for through-bolt connections. They have already proven themselves in some relief shelter designs.

The N55 space frame system has issues at large scales because of the huge numbers of parts. The demonstration house they made with it had around 9000 parts (not including over the over 8000 nuts and bolts) and weighed 4.5 tons. But at the pod furnitecture scale, I think it would work just fine. That's a scale where the parts count would be manageable.

So what set of pod designs and structures would we focus on for an initial demonstration?

I think a core set sufficient to demonstrate the lifestyle concept would be a couple variations on personal cabin pods, a power pod (electric, light, heat), a kitchen pod, maybe a deployable group lounge structure (wheeled pallet couches/pads/tables or a pallet deck supporting Thai-style 'morn kwan' triangle lounge cushions - http://www.chiangmaicraft.com/images/slide2.jpg ) serving as a 'center' to the village, a hydroponics and/or aquaculture pod, and one to a few 'fab pods' demonstrating the basic idea of mobile manufacturing. (a basic tool suite of deployable woodworking tools, a deployable flat bed CNC, and maybe a 3D printer. We potentially have 4 'workstations' per pod for deployable hardware, or more complicated systems are likely to take up one whole pod)

Obviously, bathing and toilet pods should be a critical part of a basic set too, but that may actually be tougher to design than the others and more expensive. Even with the benefit of the incinerating toilet, these fully waterproof enclosure are more challenging. Showers are easier and there are many light enclosures for them, but both would need external venting. This is one thing where modesty is very linked to comfort and water use is problematic so the design is more challenging. The existing range of portable toilet products also include portable showers now based on the same shelter designs, but they're really designed for outdoor use. We have an unusual situation with being both indoors and portable. Initial demonstrations would probably not be inhabited full-time and so would rely on existing toilet facilities the encampment's host building provides. So I think we might get away without that, at least for first demonstrations.

While there are many ways to potentially build our pods, we might want to focus on building methods that derive specifically from the tools of the fab pods as opposed to the sometimes simpler adaptive reuse. I think repurposing things like air shipping containers is a natural application and these would be immediately weatherproof, but it wouldn't give much opportunity to demonstrate the likely initial mobile manufacturing in action.

The initial indoor village demonstration 'encampment' might also include a 'presentation labyrinth' which might double as part of the partitions used for organizing the village itself. This is an idea I developed for the TMP2 project as a means to portable walk-through exhibits. A 'presentation labyrinth' is made from conventional banner-type trade show exhibit stands. They're typically like this;


Or made to appear more seamless and continuous like this;


We might design our own based on our choices of building system. They are basically just frames to hold printed banners that can link together in various shapes. The off-the-shelf products are numerous but, in the US at least, their pricing is obscene thanks, again, to the 'executive premium'. The simplest system would be based on a kind of compression screw jack post. (they are more usually free-standing) These things also work well as front and rear projection screens and can use motion-activated sound/projection systems which are now commonly off-the-shelf. By forming these displays into a 'maze' of sorts we can depict a visual narrative that one can walk through. For TMP this was intended to be a complex structure depicting the many phases of TMP and also creating 'rooms' for exhibiting models and mock-ups. For this smaller project, we could use these as simple surrounds for pod groups that have illustrations on them of the assembly process and various use contexts of the pod furniture they are surrounding. We might also depict different locations/situations by using these displays as a panoramic matte image. This could be especially compelling in depicting relief applications. We can use these to put the visitor virtually in a refugee/aid camp and place our hardware in the center.

How does that seem as a prospective starting project? Is that a near term feasibility? Could we muster the forces to make something like that get up and go? What do others think this indoor village might need in terms of features and message?

Eric Hunting

Dante-Gabryell Monson

May 23, 2013, 4:40:45 AM5/23/13
to econ...@googlegroups.com
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Eric Hunting <erich...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, May 23, 2013 at 6:19 AM
Subject: Re: Spimed Nomad Aggregators

I've made the following presentation with Goggle's slide show app in an attempt to summarize the concepts of the Spimed Nomad Aggregator and propose an initial demonstration project. This might be useful as a starting point for the video Dante had mentioned. This is my first time using this app but it seemed simple enough. Hopefully this link is kosher.


Could use some music, of course. Curiously, I stumbled into music from Jon Hassell's Last Night The Moon Came, Dropping Its Clothes In The Street while looking up one particular picture. I'll leave it to the curious to figure out which...

Eric Hunting

Dante-Gabryell Monson

Jun 4, 2013, 7:33:29 AM6/4/13
to econ...@googlegroups.com
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dante-Gabryell Monson <dante....@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 2:32 PM
Subject: Re: Spimed Nomad Aggregators
To: Jeff B

I look forward to it.

I personally look forward to understanding business models as part of a more systemic ( role playing / lifestyle ) "game" individuals can, in a granular approach, choose to opt-in ( and out )  ...

On Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 2:10 PM, Jeff Buderer <bude...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi all

I would suggest that from all this good work we consider a concrete plan to fund further development of this project

I plan to respond in more detail later


Dante-Gabryell Monson

Jun 4, 2013, 7:35:01 AM6/4/13
to econ...@googlegroups.com
Last update from thread...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Eric Hunting" <erich...@gmail.com>
Date: Jun 3, 2013 4:31 PM
Subject: Re: Spimed Nomad Aggregators

I don't know if others have responded to this question so let me give it a try.

We've been talking about the creation of an exhibition that demonstrates a neo-nomadic or urban nomadic lifestyle through the creation of a mobile/portable indoor eco-village. This is a re-imagining of the idea of Urban Nomadism in the Information Age context; an emergent mobile community exploring the new lifestyle options created by the physical lightening of needs thanks to information technology and the transition toward a standard of living defined increasingly by digital goods and services. Dante has coined the term for this as a Spimed Nomad Aggregator. The idea is of a persistent, if always changing and frequently moving, center or nexus of neo-nomadic community that appropriates and repurposes found spaces, such as abandoned warehouses and office buildings, or gathers under common 'skybreaks' of various kinds such as tension structures using portable elements which I've termed 'furnitecture', deriving from Ken Isaac's '60s era concept of Living Structures. There is demountable/deployable open structure furnitecture more akin to the original Living Structures and 'pod furnitecture' akin to recent pod cabin designs, which are more enclosed self-contained unit designs often put on wheels or casters for immediate mobility. These would be used to create the basic functional elements of the village; cabin pods, workstation pods, kitchen pods, gardening pods, energy pods, and so on.

The Spime concept comes in as a way of adding a sort of digital glue binding the elements of the village and community into coherence. Each of the designed elements of the indoor village have associated spimes created to track their use and evolution and are appropriately tagged for feedback to their individual semantic webs. This allows for digital dissemination of these open designs and global participation in their production, use, and refinement. These, in turn, are gathered into a semantic web for the village as a whole which thus exists as an on-line data construct as well as a frequently changing and/or moving physical structure. This may extend to include semantic webs for the individual nomads themselves in the manner of a Netention web. This facilitates a collective digital learning capability and intelligence for the nomadic community and allows numerous aggregators to potentially function as a mutually supported collective despite distance and location.

The Spimed Nomad Aggregator is both an exploration of novel light lifestyle and an expression of the futurist concept of 'outquisition', the members of the new nomadic community commonly Makers, artists, and activists whose travel is motivated by a compulsion toward intervention. These villages would potentially serve as Festivalist gatherings, relief or outreach facilities, and incubators or 'ashrams' of Post-Industrial and eco-technology and culture in communities effected by the progressive failures of Industrial Age economics.

So our basic objective at this point is to find places for this exhibition and gather together the designers/Makers and facilities to create this demonstration nomad aggregator--showcase indoor eco-village. This can potentially stimulate a kind of cottage industry in open furnitecture (something the Grid Beam folks have long been trying to do, as well as myself with the Utilihab building system), portable eco-tech, and portable industrial production which have many applications beyond this nomadic context, thus creating an entrepreneurial opportunity for those involved as well as a design/art exhibition venue.

Eric Hunting

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages