Architecture

Thesis student imagines self-transporting cities based on 20th century tech

Thesis student imagines self-t...
Manuel Dominguez' Very Large Structure (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Manuel Dominguez' Very Large Structure (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Manuel Dominguez' Very Large Structure (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Manuel Dominguez' Very Large Structure (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
That's no moon... (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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That's no moon... (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
The giant caterpillar tracks of VLS recall vast vehicles such as NASA's cralwer-transporters and Bagger 293, but also the fictional sandcrawler of the original Star Wars (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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The giant caterpillar tracks of VLS recall vast vehicles such as NASA's cralwer-transporters and Bagger 293, but also the fictional sandcrawler of the original Star Wars (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez cites manga as being among his influences (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez cites manga as being among his influences (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez cites manga as being among his influences (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez cites manga as being among his influences (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez cites manga as being among his influences (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez cites manga as being among his influences (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
The giant caterpillar tracks of VLS recall vast vehicles such as NASA's cralwer-transporters and Bagger 293, but also the fictional sandcrawler of the original Star Wars (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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The giant caterpillar tracks of VLS recall vast vehicles such as NASA's cralwer-transporters and Bagger 293, but also the fictional sandcrawler of the original Star Wars (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
The giant caterpillar tracks of VLS recall vast vehicles such as NASA's cralwer-transporters and Bagger 293, but also the fictional sandcrawler of the original Star Wars (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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The giant caterpillar tracks of VLS recall vast vehicles such as NASA's cralwer-transporters and Bagger 293, but also the fictional sandcrawler of the original Star Wars (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
The giant caterpillar tracks of VLS recall vast vehicles such as NASA's cralwer-transporters and Bagger 293, but also the fictional sandcrawler of the original Star Wars (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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The giant caterpillar tracks of VLS recall vast vehicles such as NASA's cralwer-transporters and Bagger 293, but also the fictional sandcrawler of the original Star Wars (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense" (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
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Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list. Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate. The idea clearly recalls Ron Herron's Walking City essay for Archigram in 1964, and though Domínguez cites that as an inspiration, he says it's just one among many. Real-world technology seems to have been the main influence.

Clearly, clearly, VLS is a highly improbable scheme. Yet Domínguez asserts that it is feasible because of its basis in established technology, though to that he candidly adds that he's "not sure if it's desirable."

Looking at the illustrations, some of those influences are easy to spot; others less so. Domínguez points out that much of it has been available since the 1960s: "open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, big scale infrastructures and transport, space technology, [and] eco-villages..." as well as robotics. To that list he adds less tangible influences: "political anomalies, self-generated architecture and urbanism, ludic architecture and engineering..."

That's no moon... (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)
That's no moon... (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)

But Domínguez has obviously drawn from contemporary culture, and speaks of an attraction to "science fiction [...] utopical and dystopical architecture, urbanism, cinema, literature, [and] manga." Science fiction and cinema perhaps stand out most from the list, especially judging by the Death Star in the background of one of the visualizations. The giant caterpillar tracks of VLS recall vast vehicles such as NASA's crawler-transporters and Bagger 293, but also the fictional sandcrawler of the original Star Wars. Perhaps VLS borrows from 20th Century Fox almost as much as it does 20th century tech. (Herron's city (PDF) was supposed to literally walk, by the way, being a city on articulated legs).

That this is such a bold speculative design is partly borne out of Domínguez' frustrations with the theses of architecture finals, which he describes as "an exercise of nonsense [...] because it's so directed and closed that at the end everybody does almost the same exercise." Instead, Domínguez chose a "self-concious" project, "one that could fit all the obsessions I've been accumulating since I was I child." Job done, I think.

Sources: Manuel Dominguez, Zuloark

25 comments
RoughdraftDC
Sounds like Inverted World by Christopher Priest. Of course, try to find it in a bookstore... But then, try to find a bookstore.
The one without an education
Yes let's ruin the planet even more... It's not a good idea...
zevulon
they had something looking very similar to this is the ridiculous disney movie john carter. only it had massive pylon looking legs upon which it crawled along . legs look way cooler than these tank belts. also , if one of the legs malfunctions you can lift it to fix it while the whole city is moving without having to stop for maintance. if one of the tank tracks malfunctions, this entire moving city will then need to stop most likely. the bigger an object is, the more energy it will require to go from rest to motion. the initial inertial energy requirements are so large with a device like this, that once it's moving , it needs to stay moving until it stops as planned. an unplanned stop could spell disaster if the city operates on a limited energy budget and an uncertain supply of energy from external sources. how about this. look at the russian nuclear power electricity generating barges that were designed and built only recently for the purpose of powering up and bring online offshore oil platforms. that barge is towed by a boat . if that boat had wheels, legs, paddles, or a propeller that was electrically motored, ( like a modern diesel train is ) than if that boat were capable of hoisting upon itself and cradling a 300 megawatt barge and operated on that much energy. then you're looking at a nuclear powered amphibious moving city. with a few hundred people on it. and an operational range anywhere on planet earth that won't overheat or over-chill it. oil platforms are 'moved' . but for comparison. 550,000 deadweight tons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Guillaumat_(supertanker) on land you have the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crawler-transporter carrying far less than any ship, which floats its cargo. and uses no more than 10 megawatts at peak operational loads. 300 megawatt nuclear reactor should be sufficient to power a city in motion ( especially if you shut off all nonessential city systems while in motion ) you'll probably want to go with legs. yea, legs. the real issue is how to design legs to operate properly in coastal mud and sand.
Enlightened Wookie
Is it really that far-fetched? Nomadic humans could pack up and move their entire village to follow natural resources. Sheep-herding, horse-herding, buffalo-chasing, etc. A natural resource apocalypse is coming just as surely as mankind can produce offspring faster than the earth can replenish those resources. This concept could very well be a variation of one of history's repeating themes - a future Earth crawling with roving bands of Tech-nomads. Another of history's repeating themes is that we discover how to solve future problems through failure to achieve current ambitions. Much of the ideas involved in creating one of these tech-nomadic cities comes from ideas inspired by the challenges of space-colonization.
Slowburn
He rebelled against "Do something useful."
Evan Webb Stuart
integrate it with a 100% sustainable effort and I think it would be quite a project.
Milton
Coastal dwellers may want to live on one of these in the near future. Sea-level rising? Tsunami coming? - "roll-out".
Windsor Wilder
Yep, Inverted World. I have the paperback. Bought it in a used bookstore in '98.
Fairly Reasoner
... and what would they be walking over? Land already wasted by some other walking city?
harry_72
Catamaran? Put it on water and cruise :)