I am taking this time to write, because you express an interest in solutions that provide enhanced security and prosperity for people. I, too, like the idea of a fortified village, instead of isolationism.
One possible solution, the dual ring village (DRV), is based on a simple idea. Imagine a line of mixed use buildings – something like the 1890s in New York City. Stores on the street level, with apartments above. Take that line and wrap into a circle. Take another line of buildings, and wrap that into a circle, placed within the first circle. The result : two circular buildings, a ring street between them, and a round park. . . a dual ring village. One more embellishment – construct continuous balconies at each upper level – not unlike the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Obvious benefits : consolidated population, proximity to vocations, retail, services, social access, a large central park, access to a roof deck garden, and inherent security controlled by the gateway. Easy access around, up and down the ring, via the balconies, etc., and reduced overcrowding on the ground level.
Engineering benefits : curved walls are stronger, use less materials, shared walls reduce exposure to the elements, curved walls deflect winds, and resist side forces (earthquakes). If the exterior ring wall is constructed as a substantial barrier, it would also offer protection from storm surge, flash floods, and mudslides. Security from flooding is dependent on wall height.
Alternative View benefits : The roof deck garden and balcony planters, as well as the central park, conserve more green space than most other high density population designs. Depending on the size and resources of the DRV, may reduce or eliminate the necessity for owning an automobile.
The drawbacks : A DRV has to be designed and built as a monolithic unit, not incrementally. This design also flies in the face of convention, thus is unattractive to the “powers that be.” Worse, it fosters a rebellious independence of the Ringers. (Chinese Hakka Tulous are a good example). It is also not designed to expand, other than adding layers, which may not be feasible (shading factor, etc). Generally, population growth will need to be dealt with by building additional DRVs.
Ideas, criticisms, and brainstorming welcome. See the Ring Life Yahoo Group.
JWR Replies: I have briefly mentioned the traditional Fujian Tulou design in SurvivalBlog. Based on the 19th and 20th Century history of urban fires, I don’t recommend building entirely monolithic structures. The narrow streets between buildings can be protected by gates, mantlets, or other mobile barricades. But at least they will reduce the risk of a catastrophic fire that cannot be stopped.