GENERAL: Floating Cities Query, An Answer to.

From: IN%"[email protected]" "List for the discussion of Buckminster
Fuller's works" 12-OCT-1993 14:09:38.32
To: IN%"[email protected]" "Multiple recipients of list GEODESIC"
Subj: Floating cities?

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Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1993 10:37:24 -0700
From: Alex Soojung-Kim Pang <[email protected]>
Subject: Floating cities?
In-reply-to: <[email protected]> from "Hilve A. Firek" at
Oct 12, 93 10:16:10 am
Sender: List for the discussion of Buckminster Fuller's works
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Dear Tracy and Chad,

Thanks for your message and question about floating cities. Unfortunately,
I'm not an engineer, and so can't really advise you about the feasibility
of ocean-floor magnetism or other mooring devices. I would recommend you
look at two sources on Fuller's own work to see what he did. The first is

Author: Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-
Title: The artifacts of R. Buckminster Fuller : a comprehensive
collection of his designs and drawings / edited with
descriptions by James Ward. New York : Garland, 1985, c1984.
Description: 4 v. : ill., plans ; 31 cm.

Notes: Includes bibliographies.
Contents: v. 1. The Dymaxion experiment, 1926-1943 -- v. 2.
Dymaxion deployment, 1927-1946 -- v. 3. The geodesic
revolution, part 1, 1947-1959 -- v. 4. The geodesic
revolution, part 2, 1960-1983.

This is a huge collection of Fuller's technical papers, blueprints, etc.
Its a tremendous resource. The second book I would consult is Robert Marks
and Fuller, _The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller_, which has a
description of Fuller's proposals for floating cities.

Now I have a question of my own. Why design one of these cities? I know from
doing similar projects in high school and college that one can get a lot of
satisfaction out of identifying and solving the technical problems of such a
project, but who is going to live in such cities? What advantages to floating
cities have over regular cities? What will their economies be like? I ask
this because in American culture, and ESPECIALLY that part of American culture
that is interested in technology and the future, there is a tradition of
imagining cities in the jungle, huge agricultural projects in the desert,
massive levitating cities, etc.. You see these proposals in old books about
World's Fairs, and they're still on display in EPCOT. They're expressions
of technical prowess and a certain kind of audaciousness, but their purpose
is never made clear. I suspect many of their designers never think about
the broader purpose of these cities. What does your group envision?

Good luck with your project.

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Department of History
University of California, Berkeley
[email protected]
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