Battersea’s towers are to become independent CHP and carbon sequestration towers, capable of providing all the building material, heating and energy requirements for the emergence of an entire city. Each tower will function independently to ensure a constant supply of materials and energy should one of the towers fail. The iconic towers of Battersea symbolise not only the industrial success of humanity but also its deterministic failings. Now they can become a symbol for a new period of human history, one based upon an intelligent understanding of our place in the natural environment and the sensitivity of our affect upon it.
Providing all the colonies material and energetic needs interaction of the energetic and material systems is key to the operation of the colony. This is defining the metabolic rate of the habitat and in effect the population ceiling that can be sustained. For a flexible system that can adapt and respond to external influences, it is important to have buffers in the system that can be tuned to accommodate change. Having an variable export of OPC for instance will give the colony the ability to tune the total amount of building material each year and thus its population growth rate.
Utilising grasshopper it was possible to produce a data system that encompasses all the interacting and over lying systems into a singular script. By doing this is is possible to understand nearly every aspect of the colony, including size, growth rate, carbon and financial costs. The script leaves many areas that can be tuned and tweaked in order to attain different growth rates and system properties.
Hard + Fast…
By tuning the system for maximum material output, a maximum population can be reached in just 5 years of growth with much less of a financial cost. This quick growth period though is at the expense of the environment as the carbon payback is far less than it could be. This kind of growth is far too volatile and would easily become socially unstable as strong communities have no time to form properly.
Slow + Steady…
By slowing the system down to a rate of 75 inhabitants per year, a maximum population would be reached in 75 years. This slow growth would create strong communities and take much more carbon from the atmosphere but at a high financial cost. A cost so high that the colony would be very sensitive to external factors such as material costs.
Dunbar’s number is suggested to be a theoretical limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. This limit has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a commonly used value of 150. Dunbar’s number states the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with, and it does not include the number of people known personally with a ceased social relationship, nor people just generally known with a lack of persistent social relationship. It is said that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group.
By tuning the system to allow for a 150 inhabitant growth per year, other areas of negativity seem to be solved. Most important of which is the social stability of the colony, which now has the ability to create strong communities and sub communities over a slow but financially reasonable time scale. The entire population is capped at 5700 which is clearly more than 150 but the colony cannot be viewed as a singular community, more a multi-layered network of many interacting communities.