[ExI] Greener Urban Environment

SR Ballard sen.otaku at gmail.com
Fri May 19 11:43:04 UTC 2017

Now, I confess that when it somes to true science literature (papers,
etc) my literacy is quite low. I spend much more time reading theology
monographs. So a lot of this is pulled more from personal daydreaming
and the more "pop" science that is available.

Now, I've read some things which suggest that humans, psychologically,
fare better when surrounded by green space (of any size). And I'm sure
many of us have felt the pressure of particularly eye-sore urban
construction, in a mixed sandy-grey. Quite depressing.

So, with this information, a few things have been said, such as "well,
then for their own good, humans need to abandon cities". But of
course, we would want to take this the other way. Why not make cities
conform to the psychological needs of humans? (or I suppose we could
find a way to change the psychological drives of humans to better
adapt to a city environment...)

And I'm suggesting something a little bit beyond "just paint
everything green", though I guess that could be a good start.

A major issue in urban areas is water-runoff, caused by the blocking
of soil through building construction, but more pointedly through the
building of paved, multi-lane roads. Suppose here, we were to kill 2
birds with one stone, and develop a grass-like structure to replace
concrete and asphalt roads. Of course, the stuff would have to be
tough, but it could also be useful. If solar technology were to move
very far forward, conceivably every little blade of fake-grass would
be fake-photosynthesizing sunlight into electricity, which would be
carried through a root-like system. The blades of grass could be
programmed to show different colors, to mimic the type of markings we
have on roads today, and being connected to a network, could
pre-emptively reroute traffic from an area or encourage it to one side
or the other to create a passage for emergency vehicles. As
self-driving cars become more common, it could communicate to the car
through the tires. Urban runoff would become less of a problem, as
they could be designed to be somewhat porous, allowing volumes of
water to pass through. Cars involved in accidents could be moved onto
the shoulder by action of the grass as well.

Now of course, maintenance would become a very important thing at that
point, but I think that due to the networking capability of this
grass, perhaps small ant-sized robots could be designed, which would
perform maintenance on the grass, even while cars are passing
overhead. Grass surrounding the injured shoot would raise itself a
little taller so the ant could safely repair it, or perhaps replace
the whole blade.

Similarly, light posts could be re-imagined as local varieties of
trees, the leaves gathering sunlight during the day, and emitting
light from the underside of each leaf after dark, transmitting excess
energy produced down through it's trunk, into the lines created by the
grass. Telephone lines, if for some reason we chose to keep them above
ground could be styled like ivy, or some other prolific climber, Kudzu
for a personal favorite (despite how it's basically eating the entire
South alive in the United States. If you don't believe me, visit

Additionally, government funded building projects would incorporate a
siding that looks like tiles and tiles of little leaves,
photosynthetic of course.

Of course, solar currently has a long way to go, especially
considering the toll it takes to produce cells and batteries, but this
is a bit pie-in-the-sky I suppose. Comments? Critiques?

I really should go to college >.<

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