Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Old Russian Mining Pit to be Domed Solar City

There's a massive mining pit in Eastern Siberia, Russia. At nearly 4,000 feet wide and 1,804 feet deep, the mine in its heyday extracted 2,000 kilograms of diamonds per year, a fifth of that high-quality jeweler’s stones.

In fact, production at the Mirny Mine, as it was called, was so weighted toward these superior-quality stones that diamond giant De Beers was forced to buy them to keep the market artificially inflated.

However, the mine closed in 2001, leaving a gigantic hole in the ground with layers, or levels, reminiscent of the tiered paddy fields in China.

Now, Nickolav Lvutemosiv and a group of architects from AB Elis Ltd. want to convert the 2 million-square-meter space to a domed city powered by the strong Siberian sun.

Called Eco-City 2020, the concept future urban development would accommodate 100,000 people on three levels, as well as a vertical farm, forests and recreational areas. The sheltering glass dome that makes it all possible will be covered by solar photovoltaic cells that produce enough energy to run the city as a carbon neutral entity.

The project, aimed at “rehabilitating” the land, will use its dome to protect the “garden city” from the harsh Siberian climate, which is fiercely cold in winter and blazing hot during the short summer.

Critics charge that the idea is just a pipe dream – a clever play on words, since the original Mir diamond “pipe” delivered diamonds to the world.

Proponents argue that Eco-City is the solution of the future, removing the urban sprawl that threatens regional ecologies worldwide. Add to that its carbon-neutral status, and potential for growing food all year round, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect eco-solution for people and nature.


No comments: