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May 28, 2009

gMOD – The Book

I'd like to announce the publication later this year of my book on gMOD. It will cover many of the points in the blog as well as some new ones. Here are excerpts from the chapter on Gravitecture:

The introduction of gMOD technology is a game-changer for urban planners. Planners and architects will face new design capabilities making possible transit infrastructures that have only been imagined in science fiction and building structures that are both gravity-defying and awe inspiring. As remarkable as cityscapes will be, the new designs of gMOD supplemented architecture (termed “gravitecture” to distinguish it from non-gMOD edifices) go far beyond their mere physical presence. The potential for buildings to shift their location and elevation within a city to take advantage of sunlight and a view is perhaps the most extreme example.

Entire floating castles, cities and islands have been portrayed in art, film and literature. The "magic realist" painter Rene Magritte played with our assumptions about perspective and reality by painting scenes presenting a visual dissonance unachievable in the real world. In his 1959 painting The Castle of the Pyrenees a castle of stone atop a huge oblong mountain floats over a sea. As portrayed in television’s original Star Trek series, through film in Episode 5 of the Star Wars saga and in science fiction literature such as James Blish's science fiction novel Cities in Flight, entire cities become complete self-contained ships with little connection or reference to what lies below or beyond their walls.

Before we can talk about the benefits or drawbacks for buildings that exist as autonomous structures not permanently affixed to the ground we should first parse the different levels of augmentation that could be made possible through gMOD. At the low end of impact in this range a combination of thrust and standing force fields (see chapter on Inventors for a more complete listing of force fields) would provide a gravity-assist to reinforce existing conventional buildings against earthquakes, flood and high winds. The incentives to design untethered (or unmoored) floating buildings are many. They include no associated land costs, an unobstructed view (at least until neighboring buildings are launched), flexibility in selecting location and the ability to relocate which includes an ability to pursue a transient or ephemeral lifestyle for the ultimate wanderlust.

If the distinction between private property (e.g. a vehicle) or real property (land) is determined by affixation to land, then what if the residence is primarily positioned but not affixed to a land parcel and untethered? In addition to depleting property value by not affixing or tethering improvements (i.e. a building) there would also be huge negative economic impacts on land values in large cities if anyone could live at an elevation equivalent to a penthouse apartment.

What new regulations would have to be enjoined to allow buildings to use the airspace of existing cities? Does gravitecture have any land parcel rights? Can a bundle of property rights associated with a piece of land be transfered to non-land properties?