Dead... and Back is a survival horror Role Playing Game. The Anarchy Zones is its official setting - aliens, reanimates, and the ruins of 2055 America.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Professor of the Airwaves

Hobbes checked the time, adjusted his chair and equipment one lest time, then flipped the switch. "Hello Wasteland!  Today's lunchtime discussion brings us a recording from Professor Parkinson about the difference between arcology and megastructure, as well as the EDGE community concept.
   Pay close attention, because its taken a long time and a lot of effort to get this data here - and disproves the idea that the Lone Star complex is completely cut off from the world. Its only cut off if you don't have an ultralight aircraft, a daredevil pilot, enough firepower to shoot through a horde of reanimates, don't mind laser towers, and don't immediately get your equipment confiscated by US gov forces."

"Hello Mr. Hobbes and Mr. Diego. Thank you for continuing to provide such a useful service and giving me time to share my piece. I just ask for a quick moment to announce that I am OK, and if my wife or friends can hear this, I am in the Lone Star Complex.

So, let us begin with a few quick terms.

Arcology is a combination of the words "Architecture" and "Ecology". The term originates back in the nineteen sixties or seventies, and it refers to the idea of a community built in harmony with nature. In many ways, its the antithesis of 50s brutalist architecture, housing developments, or the early thirties ideas about conquering nature with giant Frank Loyd Wright skyscrapers.

Mega-structure is just what it sounds like - a building over a hundred and twenty stories, or eight mile plus bridges, dams across major rivers. Generally you know it when you see it. Most modern definitions also include some level of self sufficient - water recycling or power generation on site for example.

EDGE is an acronym for Economical Design and Governance Enclosures.

   In theory, each of these is an answer to the problems of the concept that comes before it. Arcologies were meant to be an improvement over the standard city of little green-space and oppressively artificial atmosphere. Megastrcutures were supposed to be easier to manage than arcos, less demanding in terms of space, and still allows a lesser footprint than a normal town. Finally, the EDGE was an attempt to build small scale self-contained communities since a super-sized buildings were taking far too long.
   So far as we are concerned, things like the East coast NEST, project, Midwest Lincoln Towers, or the California Harvey Milk Dome are mega-strutures, and arcologies. They don't technically fit the harmony with nature aspect of arco - but since they're mostly self contained and try to minimize impact, we deem them as such anyway.
   An EDGE is where I find things getting interesting. They're a combination planned community, special economic zone, and futurist thought experiment. They often include a series of geodesic domes or underground areas to provide protected open space or contained industry, while microfactories provide materials to quickly create pre-fab housing units to fuel rapid expansion.
   We were very fortunate to have such places in the USA. Many other nations had to deal with overcrowding or shanty towns when rising sea levels and bad weather forced migrations. Indeed, if it weren't for the alien crisis and the following reanimate one - displaced populations would probably be one of the biggest threats to our way of life.
   An EDGE can have a population of anywhere between twenty-five and eighty thousand people, in theory at least. Many were over-built but didn't see much immigration, others people piled into desperate for a place. Most tend to be a combination of small homes and green zones, but unlike a megastructure full of apartments, there was a much greater allowance for larger dwellings or different styles - though most conform to the recent Robin Lynn era of architecture, being simple prefabs of rectangular, square, and cylinder blocks - though many have aftermarket additions to make them appear more like traditional houses than collections of pre-fab trailers...
"You know boss, as fun as this is, it really seems like time for us to move on."
   "What do you mean Diego?"
   "Don't you think the people know enough about the world yet? Shouldn't we be handing out missions and work assignments to help rebuild the world?"
   Hobbes shook his head, "Right after we compile a complete list of reanimate abilities and an official history of power armor and their equipment?"
   "People need to do something in the zone, and who besides us has an overview of everything?"
   "Its their choice that matters, not ours.Sure, I'd like the government to return, but its not wholly wrong to think they've dropped the ball and its high time to add a few new rules. Or perhaps screw it all - when is the next time humanity will see a frontier like this? The costs and difficulty of extrasolar exploration certainly won't mean space colonies are anything like the wild west"
   "Or for heaven's sake doctor - your profession was entirely reliant of management and regulations. Some order is going to reassert itself. Can we at least consider things to do and how to restore it without someone getting trampled?"
   "I know Obstetrics, not Human Nature. For that they should have sent a poet..."
   "Very funny."

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