Cities in Games

The Digital Urban site has a great series of entries on the theme of Cities in Games. They’ve done City 17 from Half Life 2, which you could say is a current pinnacle, but they’re easing off the more recent games and going a little retro with the first in a series based on Sinclair ZX Spectrum titles. First up is Ant Attack. I loved this game. And it’s beautiful isometric view coupled with the spot use of color still looks classy. To me. The game is playable here.

Chaotic architecture

I’m a big fan of Lebbeus Woods. He’s an architect/artist who doesn’t actually build anything, but instead imagines these crazy, fragmentic, chaotic architectural environments made up of planes and lines. There are some great examples here. It’s not that I imagine living in one of his buildings, or even admire them as architectural constructions. I just love the way that they are drawn and rendered. They are beautiful, solitary fictional worlds.

He’s a lot like Piranesi, an 18th century Italian artist, famous for his fictional drawings of prisons. He imagined these dark, gothic spaces which are both stifling and vast. If you’ve ever played Ico for the Playstation (which I utterly recommend) you’ll have experiences the kind of spaces he drew.

Carceri Plate VI - The Smoking Fire.

Anyway, what got me on to this was a shot of the worlds tallest wooden house. Classic Lebeus Woods if ever I saw it.


Small scale energy generation

I’m a big believer that longer term we could end up generating a lot of our energy needs by exploiting our environment, and installing micro energy generators. Doors could be generating electricity for your home as they are opened and closed. Your doormat could be powering a light in your hallway by capturing the energy of footsteps.

This car ramp, installed in Japan, that generates energy when cars pass over it, is a great example. This BBC article provides some overview on Energy Harvesting. This sensor draws its power from vibrations, while this Japanese ticket gate draws its power from the constant opening and shutting of ticket doors.

These micro wind turbines still draw their power from a “traditional” renewable source, but they offer a new, more flexible way of fitting these kind of devices into your life then the existing, larger installations. You could spread these around your house, or put them in areas of the garden that are more discreet.
November 2006 installation of 40 micro-wind turbines on Homantin street, Hong Kong.  Micro-Wind Turbines, Motorwind, Motorwave, Hong Kong, Wind Power, Clean Energy, Lucien Gambarota