Re: Art, Environment and Architecture(was)Extropic Flare In NY Art , Scene

Eric Watt Forste (
Wed, 29 Sep 1999 11:48:31 -0700

Apparently Anders Sandberg <> writes:

> writes:
> > A planner would plan the "growth" of the buildings,
> > why not whole cities. They could even be planned
> > to grown over a certain time frame, as population increased.

> I wonder how to program a graceful aging into the structure. Maybe
> that will be a natural result as adaptive buildings adapt to their
> environment and each other.

Referring to Jane Jacobs book /The Death and Life of Great American Cities/ again, she has made much of the necessity for buildings of mixed ages for the economic vitality of a city neighborhood. Old buildings that have already had their construction costs amortized can be dedicated to fringier projects (like cryonics research, to take a real-world example that many list readers will be familiar with) that are important drivers of innovation. Neighborhoods containing exclusively newer buildings have less diversity of use and are generally less interesting than neighborhoods with buildings of mixed age... this is sometimes also true of neighborhoods where all the buildings without exception are very old. A mix of new (expensive) buildings and old (cheap) buildings seems to work best in practice in real cities. So among the patterns of growth, you'd not want to fill in new land all at once, and you'd want to have new buildings growing up among older ones.

Of course, the very aging processes of nanotech-fabricated buildings will probably be very different from the aging processes of current city buildings, but I think the economics of the phenomena discussed above emerges pretty directly from the second law of thermodynamics.

Eric Watt Forste  <>