Headline:Space Colony Vessel as an Arcology
Date:Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Posted By:Plaid Hatter Games

I think it is fair to say I am having a wee bit to much fun painting the back of the proverbial set. Now that I can parcel out chunks of the ship, I am busily at work "zoning" the vessel. It's like playing Sim-City. I take individual parcels, and mark then "Family Housing" or "Agriculture" or "School". Except that I don't have any graphics. AND SO HELP ME IF ANYONE HITS THAT GAB DARN DISASTER BUTTON I WILL HAVE WORDS. WORDS!

The further along that I go in this, the more I'm reminded of an old coffee table book by Paolo Soleri: Archology. Yes, Yes, there were Archologies in SimCity too. But you never got to see the inside.

In a sense, this vessel I'm designing has to embody all of the design goals that Soleri set out when he coined the phrase Archology. The word is short for Architecture+Ecology. I'm constructing (at least in my head, and the imagination of the player) an extremely large building that contains its own ecosystem. It is part resort. Part factory. Part office building. Part school. While I have to provide space for doing, I also have to provide space for not-doing. A person is sometimes in the mood for a night at the clubs. That same person, at a different stage of their life, (or perhaps just later that week) might want to just disappear into a wilderness for a few days.

But as an expression of an Arcology, this place has to have its own economy. It has to be self-sustaining. And it all has to fit inside of a finite volume.

In my head (and on sheets of graph paper), I'm putting together neighborhoods. And markets. Parks. Massive factories. Quirky taverns. Lofty theaters. Museums of questionable veracity. Institutions of ad-hoc learning. And all of them built to ADA standards, with proper allowances for HVAC, electrical and plumbing, and, most importantly, restrooms.

The basic concept is that the lifestyle on board is a throwback to urban life before the Industrial Revolution. Roads are just wide enough for people to walk in both directions. (About 3 meters, or 10 feet.) There are robots or beasts of burden pulling wagons, but no vehicles more sophisticated than a bicycle. The entire residential area is built for walkability.

The top 5 "levels" of each dome are empty space. The floor of that empty space provides some sort of recreational facility:
Sphere AA 4.3 acre temporate forest
Sphere BA 4.3 acre sports facility
Sphere CA 4.3 acre botanical garden.
Sphere DA 3 acre lake, with a 1 acre beach at the center
Sphere EA Ski Resort/Rock Climbing facility
Sphere FA desert climate with All-Terrain vehicle course and gun ranges.

Settlement is concentrated in the 5 levels around the equator of each sphere. Different spheres have different concentrations of usages:

Sphere AVillage 1, population 335
Sphere BShopping/Recreational Facilities
Sphere CVillage 2, population 335
Sphere DIndustrial Park 1
Sphere EVillage 3, population 335
Sphere FIndustrial Park 2

The concept is that the noise and other unpleasantries of industry are confined to their own sphere, apart from where people live. The industrial areas contain factories, warehouses, and storage tanks.

In case of some horrible industrial accident, the entire sphere can be sealed off, preventing fire and smoke from spreading to the residential areas. Also note that the recreation facilities in both industrial spheres are composed of largely inanimate material that can easily be reconstituted if the sphere fills with smoke.

We need 2 spheres, because if there is some sort of industrial accident, we need some sort of industrial base to rebuild with.

The population is divided evenly between three Villages. Each of those villages operates on a different schedule. At any given moment, one village is on working hours, one village is on sleeping hours, and one village is on free time hours. This allows the ship to cover a 24 hour day without causing stress on the crew. Because the entire village is on the same schedule, a factory worker is on the same schedule as his or her children's school day. Even better, someone who is a shopkeeper can operate on a normal schedule too! Everyone leaves after breakfast, does their thing, and arrives home at the same time.

Villages include their own schools, communal dining facilities, and stores that stock the most commonly needed items that are a pain to drag all of the way back from the mall. They also have parks, playgrounds, and community pools that operate on the Village's schedule. Odds are that each of the Villages will develop their own character over time, with distinct neighborhoods and even customs and holidays.

Parks, Community pools, a medical center, and shops are sprinkled all around the Villages. But there is nothing that draws a large crowd or concentration of people. (The ship runs 24 hours, it's usually someone's bed time all the time.) Sphere B is where theaters, competitive sports, dance clubs, amusement parks and whatnot that tend to draw large crows will go. This will be the vessel's equivilent to the Vegas Strip. Everything runs 24/7 in Sphere B. But because the people who work in Sphere B come from all three of the villages, nobody has to work crappy hours so that others can have fun.

All of the spheres will have agricultural fields on the decks above the equatorial region, but below the sky deck levels. Below level one in each sphere will be a mix of agriculture and life support machinery. The mass of the machinery is concentrated low on the sphere to keep the center of gravity low, and allow the balance between thrust and centrifugal accelleration to naturally level the sphere where it needs to go to produce the proper effect of straight up and straight down accelleration.

I think I'm finally at the point where I can imagine myself walking through the vessel.