Roadtown: Linear City Proposed 100 Years Ago Would Work Well Today

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via No Tech Magazine
In 1910, Edgar Chambless released Roadtown, outlining his idea for a linear city built on top of a railway line. "The idea occurred to me to lay the modern skyscraper on its side and run the elevators and the pipes and wires horizontally instead of vertically. Such a house would not be limited by the stresses and strains of steel; it could be built not only a hundred stories, but a thousand stories or a thousand miles....I would take the apartment house and all its conveniences and comforts out among the farms by the aid of wires, pipes and of rapid and noiseless transportation."

roadtown drawing

"The Roadtown is a scheme to organize production, transportation and consumption into one systematic plan. In an age of pipes and wires, and high speed railways such a plan necessitates the building in one dimension instead of three - the line distribution of population instead of the pyramid style of construction. The rail-pipe-and-wire civilization and the increase in the speed of transportation is certain to result in the line distribution of population because of the almost unbelievable economy in construction, in operation and in time."

It is linear city housing a thousand people per mile is surrounded by farmland, so people can move along its length to get things that are made elsewhere, but one need only go perpendicular to the town to find (or grow) food. Bountiful electric power will make it all possible.

"A man may work as a shoe stitcher for three hours, turn off the power and go out and hoe potatoes."

For recreation, head for the roof.

"in the center of the roof will be a promenade that will be covered, and in the winter enclosed with glass and steam heated. On the outer edges of the roof will be a path for bicyclists and skaters, who will use rubber tired roller skates. "

Every house will have a bath and shower, and even the soap can be pumped along the linear building. A central vacuum system will keep it all clean. There will be a special closet to air out bedding "every day and all day."

It is a remarkable read, free on google. The wonder of it is that it would work so well today- quick and easy communication, easy access to farmland, distributed industry and manufacture.

Found on the always wonderful No Tech Magazine.