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Visions of a future where cities are all in one building

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Roadtown
credit: Edgar Chambless

Roadtown

One of the reasons that tall buildings can be efficient is that elevators are an incredibly efficient way of moving people. They do not take a lot of energy to run, and since ceiling heights are short compared to horizontal measurements, they don't have to travel very far to serve a lot of people.

But there are some very good reasons to build what one might call horizontal towers, as Edgar Chambless did in 1910 in Roadtown.

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.

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

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