Smart Homes And Municipal Darwinism

Britain's Institute for Public Policy Research is calling for the development of "smart buildings" to help Britain become a "zero waste" country. To withstand the shock of global warming, these smart buildings will need to consume their own rubbish and power themselves.

Obviously, the impulse to recycle and conserve is welcome. However, Britain should heed the words of its own science fiction writers regarding the idea of buildings (and even cities) that are built to consume rubbish and fuel themselves.

In his 2003 novel Mortal Engines, sf author Philip Reeve describes a future Britain in which cities have been forced to become mobile, lumbering behemoths rumbling across the wasted countryside looking for resources and avoiding ruined landscapes. These Traction Cities have run out of rubbish, you see, and they are looking for, well, other cities to consume as fuel.

In a process Reeves refers to as Municipal Darwinism, Traction Cities struggle for survival:

The little town was so close that he could see the antlike shapes of people running about on its upper tiers. How frightened they must be, with London bearing down on them and nowhere to hide! But he knew he mustn't feel sorry for them. It was natural that cities ate towns, just as the towns ate smaller towns and smaller towns snapped up the miserable static settlements. That was Municipal Darwinism...
(Read more about Municipal Darwinism)

Read about a Traction City. Read more about Smart homes to eat their rubbish via VCTB.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/24/2006)

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