Building the World

May 12, 2017
by buildingtheworld
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Mothers Walk for Peace

Image: Photographer, Rebecca Eschler, 2008. Wikimedia commons.

A higher purpose, above ground; a safer world, below. Why not send cars and trucks underground, where new roads for autonomous vehicles might be easier to build? Elon Musk, of Tesla and SpaceX fame, envisions cars positioned on platforms that descend to traverse networks below ground. A similar design was earlier suggested by David Gordon Wilson of MIT whose palleted highways would increase speed and decrease accidents. Tunnels have changed transport around the world: the Channel Tunnel and the Mount Blanc Tunnel are recent examples. Boston depressed the Central Artery, resulting in a Greenway atop with a special park called the Mothers’ Walk. Nearby, walk towards a better world with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute for the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace. Will Elon Musk’s underground highways promote a cleaner, safer environment with more parks above where people can walk and nature flourish? It’s an exciting idea with a name that belies the innovation: The Boring Company.

For more: mothersdaywalk4peace.org

For Elon Musk, watch the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpDHwfXbpfg

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

November 4, 2016
by buildingtheworld
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Faster Than A Speeding Bullet Train

Chuo Shinkansen: Japanese “flying trains” will travel 1 mile every 10 seconds. Image: wikimedia commons.

What’s faster than a speeding bullet, a phrase used to describe Superman? The new Shinkansen, or Japanese bullet train. Japan Rail announced the design of a magnetic levitation train that will achieve speeds over 600 kilometers per hour (374 miles per hour), or 1 mile (1.5km) every 10 seconds. Maglev trains are already in regular service in China: Shanghai and Changsha; as well as Korea, in Incheon. When Japan hosted the 1964 Olympics, Shinkansen was introduced, with the Tokyo-Osaka line. By  2002, Shinkansen had transported 382 billion passengers, with a 99% on-time record. Japan’s success inspired France’s TGV and Germany’s Intercity-Express. Maglev Chuo Shinkansen will shoot from Tokyo to Nagoya in 40 minutes; the line will soon extend to Osaka. Japan will follow a new law passed in 2001 that decrees that developers need not purchase land above, if digging more than 40 meters (131 feet) below. The law names the underground territory as daishindo (extreme underground). When will Amtrak emulate Japan’s leadership in train transport?

Hongo, Jun. “Tokyo underground: taking property development to new depths.” Japan Times. 12 April 2014. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2014/04/12/lifestyle/tokyo-underground/#.WBuoQygylDJ/

Lo, Andrea. “Can mega-fast maglev revive Japan’s rail reputation?” 3 November 2016. CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/31/asia/japan-record-breaking-maglev-train/

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

June 9, 2016
by buildingtheworld
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Tunnel (En)Vision

World’s longest tunnel, Gotthard. Image: wikimedia commons.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel, world’s longest, opened to fanfare and diplomacy, and a ballet corps of 600, in June 2016. The Gotthard massif has long challenged transport efforts; Gotthard now joins the Mont Blanc Tunnel in traversing mountainous terrain. Boston’s Central Artery/Tunnel Project also features a tunnel to bring vehicular traffic underground while a new greenway park graces the urban landscape above. Tunnels are an ancient instinct: moles know the routes underground, while human endeavors appear to have been early home-improvement projects by cave dwellers adding a second room. Land tunnels preceded water transit ways such as the Channel Tunnel. But all tunnels have one aspect in common: emissions trapped in a contained environment. Research contrasting on-road carbonyl emission factors in two highway tunnels, Caldecott Tunnel near San Francisco, California and Tuscarora Mountain Tunnel in Pennsylvania, was conducted 2002. WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff recommended jet fans to move fumes through long road tunnels. But could there be a better solution? Will the EPA‘s capture and sequestration research apply to tunnels? Might ExxonMobil and FuelCell Energy‘s innovation to cleanse carbon dioxide from the exhaust of natural gas- and coal-fired plants be applied to other situations? Carbon capture could take on a new meaning if tomorrow’s tunnels might become channels for environmental improvement.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

March 10, 2016
by buildingtheworld
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Hyperloop Pod(cast)

Duke Ellington’s theme song: “Take the ‘A’ Train.” Image: wikimedia commons.

Duke Ellington once sent a note to Billy Strayhorn, giving directions to his New York apartment. As the Pennsylvania pianist rode the rails, another kind of note came to him, a song: “Take the ‘A’ Train.” Public transport, whether the A Train or the Hyperloop, is an opportunity to engage the traveler. For example, in Beijing, on subway Line 4, riders can scan a barcode on their mobile device, opening a cultural window. Each month, ten works of Chinese culture are offered, the collection rotating in connection with the China National Library. Opportunities for bystanders to become understanders could expand in Japan, originator of the QR code that combines four modes: numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, and kanji. Shinkansen, Japan’s fast train network, opened to success for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. As Shinkansen improves and expands, will Japan use QR codes as cultural portals? Hyperloop is projected to zoom from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 35 minutes. At speeds reaching up to 760mph, (as contrasted with proposed high-speed rail taking 2.5 hours at a top speed of 200 mph) passengers will remain seated, perhaps especially ready for a Hyperloop podcast. Design of Hyperloop passenger pods recently opened to student competition.  MIT won the January 2016 round when Elon Musk invited top contenders to demonstrate their designs on the SpaceX California Test Track later in 2016. Included in the design of the passenger experience might be cultural transport with a nod, and a note, to Ellington and Strayhorn.

Ella Fitzgerald sings “Take the ‘A’ Train.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ_4cRG8B1g

Nath, Trevor. “Hyperloop System Vs. High Speed Train: What’s Best for California?” 29 October 2015. http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/050815/elon-musks-hyperloop-economically-feasible.asp

Patel, Neel V. “After Winning the Hyperloop Competition, MIT Looks Ahead.” National Geographic/Inverse.com. 17 February 2016.

Hyperloop.mit.edu; @MITHyperloop.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

 

July 30, 2015
by buildingtheworld
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Channels of Migration

Photo: Makisig, “Malinta Tunnel, Corrigedor, Philippines,” wikimedia commons.

Eurotunnel estimates that 37,000 people may have attempted migration through the Channel Tunnel. Tragically, fatalities have occurred. People seeking a way out, a way forward, another way, are using the tunnel linking France and England. In a world challenged by climate migration, political migration, and employment migration, what kinds of channels can be safely provided to get from a troubled “here” to a better “there?”

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

May 29, 2012
by zoequinn001
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It’s All in the Timing

The Canal des Deux Mers was not a new idea by Riquet’s time, although he perfected it. The Archbishop of Toulouse headed a special commission chartered by King Henry IV (1553-1610) to study feasibility of a canal linking the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Henry IV was following a line of similar visionaries. Even Charlemagne wanted to build the canal. There is evidence of ancient Roman emperors trying to engineer the route. Charlemagne, to be fair, didn’t have the technology. But Riquet was able to conquer a rocky patch near Beziers by blasting a tunnel – measuring 157 meters (515 feet) long, 6.7 meters (22 feet) wide and 8 meters (27 feet) high – with black powder. It was one of the earliest uses of explosives in subterranean construction.

The tunnel as it exists today, from canaldumidi.org

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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