Could a new city and a mile-high tower prevent natural disasters in Tokyo?

Next Tokyo. Image: Kohn Pederson Fox Associates.

Tokyo is a low-lying city with a long stretch of coastline, due to the shape of Tokyo Bay. This means that, thanks to climate change and its accompanying typhoons, earthquakes and floods, parts of  the city could be in trouble in coming years.

So architects and engineers have been coming up with ways solutions to these future crisis. The solutions which immediately spring to mind include flood barriers, or even trying to raise the ground level at the city's edges.

But one group has come forward with a slightly more complex plan: build an entirely new city on reclaimed islands in the bay to defend against floods. 

If that weren't complex enough, the proposal, dubbed Next Tokyo, would include a mile high skyscraper to house half a million residents, which, in order to supply the upper floors with water, would harvest moisture from the clouds. Oh, and it would also contain cable-free elevators which go sideways as well as up and down. Simple. 

The city's transport needs would be served by a hyperloop: a transport system which fires pods around a closed loop, developed Elon Musk, which, at time of writing, still just a concept.

The proposal, Next Tokyo 2045, comes jointly from Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, an architecture firm, and Leslie E Robertson Associates, a structural engineering firm. Here's a rendering of the city:

The city would stretch across Tokyo bay in a series of hexagonal configurations in order to act as an ocean barrier: 

It would also be part of a larger land reclamation effort, to be carried out over time throughout the bay (the different colours indicate different phases of reclamation):

The idea was submitted as a research paper to the Council on Tall Buildings & Urban Habitat in 2015, and isn't likely to become an immediate reality: unsurprising, given that it contains phrases like "cloud harvesting as a water source". But given that many major cities are on the water, and the water levels are going to continue to rise, we need as many suggestions as we can get. 


All images: Kohn Pederson Fox Associates.

 
 
 
 

Podcast: Band on the run

Suede perform at the Pentaport Rock Festival in Incheon, South Korea, in 2013. Image: Getty.

So, there are two different reasons why this episode is particularly exciting. One is that it's the first with new co-host Stephanie Boland. The other is that we're joined by an actual, literal rock star.

Honestly: I write about maps for a living, and now this. My 17 year old self would be so impressed.

Anyway. Neil Codling plays with Penguin Cafe, but his best known work has been as keyboard player and backing vocalist in Suede.  (For boring legal reasons, the music used in the show is from neither band, I'm afraid.) 

Neil tells us about life on tour, and how you engage with a new city when you're seeing six of them every week. He also discusses the hollowing out of London’s music industry, and even reads from his tour diaries. You can find Neil on Twitter here

Elsewhere in the show, journalist Steffan Storch tells us about Swansea, the second city of Wales (a fact for which it will never forgive its larger rival Cardiff). You can follow Steffan on Twitter here; check out his podcast Well Thanks, too.

Finally, Stephanie and I talk about the origins, history and our more infuriating experiences of busking (it involves an accordion), and we discuss whether it's a good thing for cities. And, somehow, she manages to get me to sing. It's awful.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.