×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Swedish Firm Proposes City Buildings On Rails

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the jesus-does-not-have-wheels-ralph dept.

News 223

Lanxon writes "A Swedish architecture firm that came up with a plan to roll buildings through a city on rails has won third prize in a competition to develop the Norwegian city of Åndalsnes. The company, Jagnafalt Milton, suggested that existing and new railroads could be built to provide the base for buildings that could be positioned differently depending on the seasons and on the weather. It proposed designs for rail-mounted single- and double-berth cabins, along with a two-story suite, reports Wired."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

223 comments

Like birds (3, Funny)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766720)

This also means that cities could just move south when the winter comes. It's not like some roadblock is going to do much when a whole city rolls in.

Re:Like birds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34766742)

CmdrTaco has a tiny penis. It's so tiny that his wife cheats on him at least 5 times a day because she is so sex-starved.

Re:Like birds (4, Funny)

gclef (96311) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766908)

I feel sorry for the mailmen in that town. (Wait, wasn't there a building here yesterday?)

Wasn't there a Rad Bradbury story like this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767186)

It sounds familiar....

Re:Like birds (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767196)

Humor aside, it's not that big a problem. You could just use a PO Box system. Mail gets puts in the same box everyday at a local post office, and the owners go to get it. Or simply number buildings per track. Address might read "Reading line, bldg 42" with that number clearly printed on the outside. In the US, mail routinely gets delivered to houses whose addresses include directions, like "go about 4 miles after the paved road ends and turn left at the crick."

Re:Like birds (3, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767444)

Imagine the new ways people would live, and be shown on TV...

You come home from vacation, only to find out that your house has already gone south for the winter?

Your wife gets mad at you, and instead of throwing your clothes out in the front yard, moves the house without telling you.

Two neighbors start fueding, and instead of a fistfight, start bashing their houses into each other.

Survivor (what's it up to now, 856?), when you get voted off, they send you away in your house, pathetically waving "bye" from your bathroom window.

Demolition derby, using houses instead of cars.

House racing. Imagine the high octane flames spewing out the back and sides of a house during a drag race. Or the crashes (which is the main reason most of us even bother watching NASCAR).

You hit the mid-life crisis, sell your old house and buy a high powered two wheel house, and a toupee.

Re:Like birds (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766958)

Its only to move buildings around within a city, so I can't see much if any advantages to being in the weather on one side of town as opposed to the other. TFA says its because the city has different needs during the winter and the summer, but are tourists sleeping rough now for lack of accommodation? I can't come up with any reason why you'd want to do this at all, in fact, except for the awesome factor, which is lets face it, all the reason you need. I think Michael Moorcock had a great story where there was a city that rolled around the world continuously as part of his Elric series, the name escapes me now though.

Re:Like birds (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767468)

You can do a lot with orientation ... move these houses out of the shade of that big hillside in winter when solar radiation is at its most precious, make those houses face east in the morning and west in the afternoon, put these other houses near the forested park in summer so they don't need as much air conditioning, etc.

Underclass = No Sun (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767454)

So, this will eventually create a class of citizen who doesn't get sun exposures because the rich will get the buildings that move to face the sun.

Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34766782)

Sounds like one of the reject ideas for Bioshock 3

jet powered (1)

saveonweb (939227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766800)

not a bad idea. we've seen buildings have spring base. I can finally think about owning a house on a beach during summer and on mountain in winter.

Aw Crap (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766824)

Aw crap, now the extension cord won't reach!

Re:Aw Crap (3, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767190)

'Crap' might be another consideration of things that no longer get to their intended destinations when buildings start moving...

Re:Aw Crap (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767322)

No problem, mate. We've got a couple o' thousand feet worth the flexible 'ose 'ere, and Billy over there, he's gonna put some duct tape on the joins, and your crappers will be up and running.

There was an old cartoon that had this (3, Informative)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766828)

I can't remember if it was Felix the cat or Betty Boop, but it sounds a lot like this. The buildings were all on rails and moved around as needed, and people got on a stationary "train" car while the buildings came to them in a strange inversion of normal travel methods

Re:There was an old cartoon that had this (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767336)

That's pretty cool, and the idea is certainly fascinating. I can't see how it would be workable though.

Sure you can put those houses on rails, but now you have tiny houses and no access roads. Or - as in the cartoon you mentioned - they'd have to essentially move the houses all the time in a loop - you get off somewhere and wait as your destination comes along. That would make for very slow access, since each time someone needs to get to the platform or into a house, the whole movement would have to stop. Also very expensive since the whole mass of the town needs to be moved over it's rail system.

Anyway, they really where thinking more along the lines of a winter/summer movement, having more hotels and shopping in town in summer and "indoor activities" (which?) and "climate shelters" (don't know what that means?) in winter. It seems easier to have multi-purpose buildings - like a mall which sets-up an ice-rink in winter. There are probably nightclubs and pubs which do less business in winter (due to lack of tourists) but it doesn't really bring an advantage to move these houses out of the town. Questionable if a nightclub would fit on rails anyway.

Anonymous Coward (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34766860)

Monorail Monorail Monorail Monorail ... woowooo!

Growth in the Information Booth Market (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766886)

Man, that would get confusing real fast!

Meet me at the restaurant on the corner of 5th and Main (except every other Tuesday where it's at 116th street and 22nd Ave).

Also we're switching to metric time so meet me at 75 minutes after 2.

Also, also, don't forget to put on concrete wheels for the rubber roads...

Cue the Ruby jokes (3, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766892)

I mean, those guys can do absolutely anything on rails, and I'll bet it only took a few lines of code.

Re:Cue the Ruby jokes (3, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766968)

With rails you can easily migrate your buildings.

Re:Cue the Ruby jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767252)

That's...

*sigh* Okay, that was great. Well done.

Trailers (4, Interesting)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766900)

They could be even more flexible if everyone lived in trailers. You wouldn't have to wait for all your neighbors to move when it was time to pull up stakes, nor would you be forced to move when your neighbors get wanderlust.

It proposed designs for rail-mounted single- and double-berth cabins,

Make mine a double-wide.

What is old is new again.

Mrecury (2)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766918)

One proposed method of colonizing Mercury is to build a city on rails that circles the slowly-spinning planet, always staying in the shady site where temperatures are cool enough for human habitats.

With this story, such an idea doesn't seem nearly so far-fetched.

Re:Mrecury (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767008)

I cannot envision the systemwide overpopulation you'd need to be forced to colonise Mercury.

Re:Mrecury (2)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767282)

Overpopulation? Forced? You really can't imagine one group leaving home to colonize somewhere else without being "forced" to do so? Perhaps you should review your history books.

Re:Mrecury (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767586)

Overpopulation? Forced? You really can't imagine one group leaving home to colonize somewhere else without being "forced" to do so? Perhaps you should review your history books.

Mercury has none of the things people in the past sought.

No air.
No water.
No food.
No amenities.
No freedom. You're going to be trapped in a small bubble forever, and you'll be the slave of whatever mega corp or government back on Earth sent you there.

All the places people chose to colonize before (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767686)

... had luxuries like air, water, and at least some food available for free on-site. Even much more hospitable places than Mercury had to be forcibly colonized (Australia, anyone?). I think the GP is pretty much right on target.

Re:Mrecury (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767038)

I recall this idea from Kim Stanley Robinson's trilogy beginning with Red Mars [amazon.com] , but was it already a stock concept of science fiction before Robinson?

The terraforming idea in that trilogy that I think is even cooler is using a massive solar sail to block sunlight from hitting Venus until the atmosphere freezes, and then start work on the surface.

Re:Mrecury (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767078)

This imaginary Mrecury sounds like a great place to live. What happens when, lets say, the rail needs maintenance or is damaged and needs to be repaired? The whole population gets cooked and then new people can move in once the rail is repaired and get free fried chicken? Sounds awesome.

Re:Mrecury (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767250)

A Mercury solar day is 176 days long. That's leaves enough time to fix a flat.

By the way: you must be terrified of the Dutch. What happens if their dam breaks?

Re:Mrecury (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767272)

This imaginary Mrecury sounds like a great place to live. What happens when, lets say, the rail needs maintenance or is damaged and needs to be repaired? The whole population gets cooked and then new people can move in once the rail is repaired and get free fried chicken? Sounds awesome.

Park in the nearest tunnel. Sucks to spend that much time in the dark instead of perfect twilight, but it beats death. I don't remember if that was actually in the sci fi story, or some online discussion.

The other thing is that Mercury rotates kind of slowly compared to the earth. Anything other than a major viaduct / bridge and a crane is trivially fast enough to haul a train past the damaged track, or just wait until the track is fixed...

I would have to do the math to make sure, but at some latitude a human being could quite easily outwalk the sunrise... Heck on the equator I think a person could outwalk the sunrise, if you assume it rotates a hundred times slower and the circumference is quite smaller. On the earth you need to maintain a couple thousand miles per hour at the equator, but a factor of a hundred slower rotation plus a factor for smaller circumference, its doable. One trivial solution is not one really long train but many that shuffle back and forth and could theoretically be walked past in a disaster.

Re:Mrecury (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767426)

I would have to do the math to make sure, but at some latitude a human being could quite easily outwalk the sunrise... Heck on the equator I think a person could outwalk the sunrise, if you assume it rotates a hundred times slower and the circumference is quite smaller.

Mercury's equatorial circumference is 9529.1 mi and it's day is 1,407.5 hrs. (Source [nasa.gov] )

Divide and you get that Mercury's terminator moves at 2.08 mph at the equator. So sure, you could pretty easily outwalk that for some time.

Re:Mrecury (1)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767138)

Why rails instead of caterpillar tracks? A rail line circling the planet would be ridiculously long.

Re:Mrecury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767318)

Well, considering the track would have to withstand the 300C-500C temperature change along 50% of its length, it would also not be easy to build!!

Mercury-quakes also happen, because of crust contraction and expansion.

This is what happened due to an earthquake,
    http://www.aucklandtrains.co.nz/2010/09/06/pics-souths-twisted-tracks/
    http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/11/new-zealand-earthquake-turns-train-tracks-to-spaghetti/

As to the original story, railway buildings?? Sounds like the crap that happened in the 1970s with all the flying cars.. Bad ideas are just... bad.

Re:Mrecury (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767642)

Why rails instead of caterpillar tracks? A rail line circling the planet would be ridiculously long.

Caterpillar tracks are still going to need a road or road-like surface to roll on, like the crawlway at the Kennedy Space Center.

Re:Mrecury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767146)

I'm not that savvy on the melting point of various metals, but how would the rails handle the time spent exposed to the sun?

Re:Mrecury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767314)

They wouldn't melt, but the would go through some impressive thermal cycling.

Re:Mrecury (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767626)

They wouldn't melt, but the would go through some impressive thermal cycling.

Lead-free solder strikes again!

Re:Mrecury (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767332)

I'm not that savvy on the melting point of various metals, but how would the rails handle the time spent exposed to the sun?

Float them on pools of liquid lead... "strong enough" once it freezes, mushy enough at temperature to prevent kinks. This was discussed in the sci fi story, or online, don't remember. I always thought the story made more sense if you ran the train thru a tunnel with greenhouses on the roof of the tunnel, so you travel along as you eat your food. Cooling would be a problem, but you'd have nearly infinite solar power, so ...

Re:Mrecury (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767194)

One proposed method of colonizing Mercury is to build a city on rails that circles the slowly-spinning planet, always staying in the shady site where temperatures are cool enough for human habitats.

With this story, such an idea doesn't seem nearly so far-fetched.

Charles Stross story? I read some sci fi story along those lines in the 80s.

Re:Mrecury (0)

genner (694963) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767348)

One proposed method of colonizing Mercury is to build a city on rails that circles the slowly-spinning planet, always staying in the shady site where temperatures are cool enough for human habitats.

With this story, such an idea doesn't seem nearly so far-fetched.

Until the train breaks down and the whole colony gets cooked.

Equatorial surface temperature (1)

amstrad (60839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767482)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_(planet) [wikipedia.org] shows the equatorial rotation velocity as 10.892 km/h. So the train would need to travel that fast to keep out of the Sun. That number is reduced by the cosine of the latitude so at 85 north, it would be just under 1 km/h. Of course teperature cycling would be enormous. Wikipedia gives the range as [100K 700K] at the equator and [80K 380K] at 85 latitude. What material can withstand that heat expansion and remain true? I wonder if a space station in mercury's L4 Lagrange point would be feasable? Is Mercury's L4 still withini Mercury's umbra?

Re:Mrecury (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767634)

Obvious flaw: the rails would melt while on the day side. I suspect you'd have some serious expansion and contraction issues in the geography to deal with as well. Be much better to simply colonize asteroids -- there's a LOT more room in a ring circling the sun at close to the Earth's orbit than there is on the surface of Mercury.

Right (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767654)

Sure, that'd be cost effective. All you'd have to do is build a planet-wide rail network from 70 million miles away. Then keep the part of the tracks exposed to the sun for months at a time from melting. No problem.

Here's a thought: if you want to colonize some other planet, why not pick one that stays cooler than, say, molten lead?

I can see why it got 3rd place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34766922)

It's fucking stupid. Sure they can change out buildings depending on what's needed for tourist season or during the winter, but what are they going to do with them when not in use? If they wanted a bunch of rail based accommodations, they could just lease some standard railway sleeper cars for the summer and then the railroads could use them somewhere else at other times of the year.

Recycling old infrastructure (3, Informative)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34766952)

Quoth TFA:

The idea, says the agency, was to use the city's railway infrastructure -- left behind from the days when it was an maritime construction town, building oil rigs -- as a basis for its future. Konrad Milton, one of the partners in the company, told Wired.co.uk: "As we see it there are two major benefits. First, it's easier to put buildings on existing train tracks than to demolish the tracks and build regular building foundations. Secondly the city of Åndalsnes has different needs depending on season." ...

Why rail and not roads? Milton says: "In this case the railtracks are in such abundance that it's the obvious choice, but the idea with rolling buildings could work very well in situations where roads and other hard surfaces are in abundance -- like old military airfields, harbors or over sized highways."

Interesting recycling of old infrastructure. Reminds me of how Manchester England recycled a lot of its old inner city industrial warehouses and converted them to loft apartments. The population of the city centre boomed and and the already legendary nightlife of the city was given another boost as the place was gentrified. (Pity about the Hacienda nightclub though, it ended up becoming loft apartments too.) A lot of their old railways were recycled as tram lines. Trams running on the old railway tracks run at 50MPH which may not sound like much, but for travel in a built-up urban area it beats the hell out of anything you could do by road. The tram system (called Metrolink) combines that speed in the suburbs with the convenience of dropping you off literally at the doorstep of the shops and offices in the city centre. It's so popular that overcorwding was its biggest problem last time I was there.

I'm not sure if Åndalsnes could re-use their old railway lines in that way but this mobile building thing is pretty innovative and exciting. Kudos!

Re:Recycling old infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767286)

Not sure about that. A big chunk of the regeneration in Manchester city centre happened after some idiots from Northern Ireland decided that didn't like the area and carried out an unexpected demolition.

for after the fall of modern society (1)

us7892 (655683) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767012)

I guess if you have a lot of unused railroads, you can move a bunch of buildings a few miles from the coast when a big squall is coming, and back to the coast when the weather clears. Throws some solar panels and wind turbines on each "house" to run a few appliances. Have a refuse and sewer collection building. And have some shower buildings with rain collectors.

I'm assuming this is all for "after" the big apocalypse.

Take it from an architecture major... (5, Insightful)

arcsimm (1084173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767020)

As somebody who keeps up with this kind of stuff (albeit often with a rather quizzical expression), you should just nod, smile, say "that's cool," and move on. Don't think about how monstrously impractical this would be. Don't consider the long-term maintenance issues involved with the moving parts, the problems involved with things like plumbing and electrical service, or the insulation requirements of a floor raised up off the ground in a northern climate. Don't try to think about how much simpler it would be to achieve the same goals in a passive design. Don't think about any of these things, because if you do your brain will break from the glaring obviousness of the problems. Just take a moment to appreciate the zoomy science-fiction cool factor, and get on with your day.

Re:Take it from an architecture major... (4, Insightful)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767150)

It reminds me of a quote I heard in university: Architects make it pretty. Engineers make it work. Yes, it's a trollish quote but the more I deal with 'creative' types the more it's proven true.

Re:Take it from an architecture major... (4, Insightful)

arcsimm (1084173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767224)

You have no idea how many times I heard this line in studio: "Hey, you think like an engineer...!" followed by a question about basic structural issues or weatherproofing. It's very frustrating how few architects and designers actually know how a building goes together. I'm a far cry from an actual engineer (show me a load-transfer problem and my eyes glaze over and roll up into my head) but I like to have at least a general concept of how the things I draw actually translate into physical objects. That's a shockingly uncommon sentiment amongst my peers.

Re:Take it from an architecture major... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767610)

You must outman them by designing a building shaped like a sail that is tethered to the ground by a single needle.

Re:Take it from an architecture major... (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767312)

I agree that this extends to pretty much all walks of life: the artsy fartsy folk put together some crazy idea and the engineers have to deal with the consequences.

Probably the most insightful post ever (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767218)

Well said, sir. As a practicing structural engineer, I see all sorts of very impractical designs coming from architects offices. It is somewhat amazing how elaborate artists can be when attempting to solve a problem. There's usualy some fantastically complicated, but elegant looking, solution which seems exceptionally cool, until you realize that for each problem solved, several more can be created.

I don't know to whom this is attributed, but it certainly applies to many of these types of ideas: Creativity is the ability to allow yourself to make mistakes; Art (or in this case, Architecture) is knowing which ones to keep.

Re:Take it from an architecture major... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767284)

As somebody who keeps up with this kind of stuff (albeit often with a rather quizzical expression), you should just nod, smile, say "that's cool," and move on.

Pretty much. Even if this was practical, doable, etc, it's a major step backwards.

Humans are historically bad at identifying anything actually good. Computers were good, major step forward in technological progress. Pocket calculators... not so good, on principle of use in schools (think Japanese Soroban up through Algebra 1.. Algebra 2 starts graphing, that is where you should start introducing calculators). Electric guitars, amplifiers, and radio were good. Television was good, but modern news broadcasting is horrible.

But then you get beyond "well we shouldn't give second graders calculators" and "the news media is a fear-mongering panic machine" to shit that's just a bad idea. Internet TV... oh sure, we love the idea of not keeping a library of our own around, but rather pulling things down in real-time, every access, to watch TV ... never mind the huge bandwidth drain this causes. That can be fixed (lower resolution video/audio to stay below what the bandwidth can handle).

And then you get into straight out stupid shit like electric carving knives, wtf? A vibrating knife to cut chicken? What the hell is the point of that? Keureg machines are another good idea... a french press or drip cup brewer (some people hate french press coffee, apparently) makes coffee in a few minutes, while a Keureg instant coffee brewing machine consumes much more resources to make and run (instant heating of water) and to produce the K-cups... for "convenience." I'm sorry, but spending 30 seconds fresh-grinding coffee and 4 minutes brewing it with a pot of boiled water doesn't speak of "desperate need to get a computerized programmable device to make coffee much faster and with much less effort" to me.

We even screw up good tech. Look at washing machines. We have nice, low-water washing machines that don't expend a whole hell of a lot of energy to do their job now. They're pretty simple, so not incredibly complex and energy-hungry to manufacture. But we have this huge freaking electric dryer to deal with too! If you drop your clothes into a spin dryer, you can hang them and let them dry in an hour or so; or throw them in the electric dryer for 10 minutes. Spin dryers run at 3500-6000RPM, effectively squeezing the clothes against the outer hull and driving the water out. Spin cycle on your washing machine but a lot faster... it'd be nice to add this to washing machines, with a balance sensor to prevent spin out of control on an imbalanced machine. Overall energy usage to dry clothes would be a fraction of what we have now.

A lot of stuff is on "cool factor" and just horrible failure at differentiating "high tech" from "shiny."

Re:Take it from an architecture major... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767442)

And then you get into straight out stupid shit like electric carving knives, wtf? A vibrating knife to cut chicken?

Another application error. You cut leather-like ham with that, not "fork tender" barbecue chicken.

You also missed some economic issues... like the kcup thing, at work if your labor is worth a buck a minute, homemade coffee is terribly expensive compared to practically any other non-drive-thru solution, unless you're making coffee as a hobby.

consider the advantages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767474)

Considering how frequently the average person changes jobs, the ability to move your house to a place near the location of one's current job has an appeal. One would not have to endure long commutes every day to and from one's fixed house. Houses could be manufactured in a factory to tight specifications (low insulation costs), with much less labor. Some believed that housing bubbles in several states were due to restrictions on house construction.

Re:Take it from an architecture major... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767478)

Simple car analogy: concept cars.

Look how good we are at thinking outside of the box.

You sure are. Cool...

This proves that we must be very good at making minor improvements to existing products.

Yeah, maybe...

Please write about us.

Uh-hu. Sure.

Re:Take it from an architecture major... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767646)

It's not as if mobile buildings are a crazy idea that will never happen... many schools near where I live (in the US) use mobiles for extra capacity (in one school, they have no permanent buildings at all), and my employer uses them too (mostly for student interns, temps... yeah, they're not considered as desirable as the real office buildings). No, you can't just move them at any moment, due to electrical and plumbing hookups, but they do still have them moved from time to time.

Then, of course, are RVs. John Madden has a famous refusal to fly and relies on a custom RV [jalopnik.com] instead.

So all we are talking about hear is moving around on rails instead of roads, since this particular town in Norway happens to have a lot of extra railways lying around.

one step closer.. (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767036)

..to self aware cities that decide we are not worthy to live in them

just read Greg Bear's "Strength of Stones".. not his best but not too bad.

Sp08ge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767054)

codeba%se became

FROM ERECTOR SET TO CITY PLANNING FOR DUMMIES !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767060)

A new book, due out from Swedish Press. 80 Kr.

I always dreamed of having a rail car apartment (4, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767086)

This seems like a gimmick, but I have a fantasy that might actually be feasible - not for me, but for truly rich people. The idea would be to convert old railroad cars into luxury traveling apartments. There is plenty of room in one of those things for very comfortable living if the interior is designed ergonomically. The way I picture it, cities could "beautify" some of their defunct freight stations into rail car parks - parking lots for luxury rail apartments.

Occupants could then negotiate transport of their apartment by attaching it to various freight trains at competitive prices. Moving freight by rail is pretty cheap, so this sort of "migration" might actually be pretty affordable once you've bought/rented one of these rolling apartments. I picture this working especially well on a continent like Europe, where there is lots of rail and lots to see. Next year, the rail tunnel under the Bosphorus [wikipedia.org] will mean that you can take a rail car from Scotland to the Middle East on standard gauge rail. If China comes through on its plan to build a railroad across Asia into Turkey, that would extend the mobility of these apartments even farther.

Of course, you could argue that shipping container apartments might be more practical and less constrained geographically, but that's just much less romantic.

Re:I always dreamed of having a rail car apartment (3, Informative)

arcsimm (1084173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767148)

This actually happens already, in a sense. I briefly worked for a company that was (tangientally - asbestos abatement is a big deal in older rail cars) involved in the conversion of old Pullman sleeper cars into high-roller wine-and-dine suites for companies and the wealthy. Once they'd been converted over, the owners could invite people aboard for a business trip, or rent them out to travelers looking to experience something new.

Re:I always dreamed of having a rail car apartment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767340)

I don't know where you grew up, but the small town in WV i grew up in had a number of olf passanger cars that had been converted. The people who lived in them typically weren't rich, they were quite affordable and periodically people would move them. Some even migrated with work (i know some went to FL and back) so it wasn't limited to WV.

Lutefisk (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767114)

As someone who has spent a lot of time commuting on trains in central Europe, I would welcome this. If my office drove up to pick me up at the door. But if the train is only serving Lutefisk http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutefisk [wikipedia.org] , I'll pass. Now if I could only remember the name of the fish that they put into the cans, where the fermentation turns the cans into a hand grenade form . . .

If the train went to Bullerbyn, that would be fantastic. I could invite Skrollan for a drink. Skrollan is the coolest Swedish name for a chick.

The Norwegians are also top runners with their sheep head stuff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smalahove [wikipedia.org]

wait, don't we have these already? (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767198)

Trains have them, sleeper cars. There's even double story trains, so i don't see why there wouldn't be double story sleeper cars.

seriously stupid fucking idea, unless sweden has really crappy ground to build foundations on. but then, putting all the weight on a couple of points is probably better, i'm sure.

Re:wait, don't we have these already? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767380)

Most Amtrak trains, at least in the western US have double storied sleeper cars. I'm not sure about the east coast, they might not due to height restrictions in the tunnels.

Middle class convenience (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767228)

Just think how much easier white flight would have been with movable buildings!

Re:Middle class convenience (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767398)

I know you're joking, but these days we have more trouble with the opposite problem. White folks moving into those neighborhoods and displacing the minority groups to the suburbs by pricing them out of the market.

Deployment nightmare (1)

cskrat (921721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767264)

The Rails framework may be nice to develop on but deployment sucks compared to PHP.

They should stick with Zend Framework.

Psychoactive drugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767292)

Just out of curiosity, is Sweden one of those countries where use of psychoactive drugs legal?

Boxes on wheels? (1)

kulnor (856639) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767400)

They look like cereal boxes on wheels.... what's the top speed on these things? Can't wait for the first house crash headline.

Rain on Parade (2)

dragin33 (529413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767494)

I'm sorry but I can't imagine this working.. As we all know buildings require a firm foundation. In order to have a rail system that could potentially hold the weight of the building at any given point the entire rail system would have to be build upon a foundation strong enough to hold the heaviest of buildings.. The costs would be astronomical; and for what? Miles of empty track?

Bad? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34767578)

And you thought it was bad when people went "camping" with those huge campers.

Now, when you "get away from it all", you can really "take it all with you".

Honey, did you turn off the stove before you left? Hold on a second, let me check.

municipal darwinism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34767658)

Sounds like the first step in the Hungry City chronicle series of science fiction. Cities consume towns as the trundle across the post nuclear landscape. And it's a kids book! (by Reeve)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...