54 Replies to “The Solution to Nimbyism”

    1. See the article. They pictured a Metro station going through it. The station and tracks are hanging in the air, with nothing apparently supporting them.

      1. It’s clearly a very early rendering. They’ll think up the structure later – I think an arch bridge would look really nice there.

  1. I think I’d let someone else snap up the “penthouse”.

    Gives me the shivers just looking at it. How’s the seismic activity in Mexico City? Isn’t the city settling something like 2 inches a day as it sucks it’s aquifers dry?

    1. I guess I’m not 100% sure why it would be different with underground buildings vs above ground ones.

    1. This is so totally the truth. It’s like a cave that way.

      The only things to worry about would be drainage and groundwater.

  2. A NIMBY isn’t just someone who says “Not in my backyard.” It’s not just someone who argue against various projects going in in his neighborhood. A NIMBY is also someone who chooses to move to a neighborhood that doesn’t allow much in the way of new projects or change. He doesn’t even have to utter a word, and he is already a NIMBY because of where he decides to live. So someone who chooses to live in a neighborhood like Somerset, for example, where multi-family homes are virtually not allowed, where most streets don’t have sidewalks, where streets are designed to be very transit-unfriendly, where TOD is impossible, where further density is impossible, is the worst kind of NIMBY. They quietly sit back and are a NIMBY, knowing they are protected by zoning laws that keeps their neighborhood a NIMBY neighborhood, all the while pretending they aren’t a NIMBY, and criticizing people have the courage to actually come out in say, not in my backyard.

    1. “criticizing people have the courage to actually come out in say, not in my backyard” Assuming, then, that they want a project in their back yards – how exactly are they NIMBYs?

      1. For once, I actually agree with Sam. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re not part of the problem. Of all the people who live in the sea of SFH on the Eastside (or even Seattle), very few are advocating for more development where they live.

      2. [Matt] But they’re *not* lazy and apathetic. They vote for people like Skip Priest and Kevin Wallace — and Dino Rossi.

      3. Do they? Now it sounds like you’re talking about a specific group of these “passive NIMBYs”. I still think someone that votes for Rossi is better than someone that shows up to a zoning meeting shouting about losing their free parking, who also votes for Rossi.

        I feel like we’re arguing whether a flat tire is worse than your engine seizing. I don’t want either one. But one is clearly worse than the other.

    2. Label like NIMBY are generally used for people you don’t know but want to disagree with. You of course know exactly how to balance the budget, create jobs and save the world. Perhaps your method hasn’t really been proven to do what you claim it will do, but tagging those who disagree is your way of dismissing those opposed. (Not “you,” Sam. Everyone does this.) Eventually the tags become worn and meaningless.

      In general, individuals have a right to make choices. There are ways to live in a community like Somerset and be “greener” than many who live in highrises.

      1. You’re just saying that because you’re a NIMBY. NIMBY has a well defined meaning built right into the name.

      2. NIMBY has a well-defined meaning — someone who complains about a project which has *general public benefit* because it would upset a *small parochial interest*.

        Then there are BANANAs, who complain about all projects, period.

        Complaining about a project which has small parochial benefit because it would upset a general public interest is quite the opposite of NIMBYism….

        I’m sure there are ways to live in Somerset and be “green”. They probably involve supporting the construction of sidewalks — or perhaps woonerfs.

    3. Sam has a point, although it’s not exactly NIMBYism and I’m not sure where to go with it. It’s like how people fled to the suburbs for white flight or better schools, taking advantage of the jurisdictional boundary to block city ills. Although, as these suburbs have learned, the ills do come anyway after a couple decades. The Sumner/Bonney Lake situation and Covington ridership reflect this: most people who move to exurban areas don’t use transit even if it’s there and they don’t want to pay for it. Or if they do use it, it’s only for commuting to work, and too bad about the grandmas who have to go to medical appointments or shopping or just want to get out of the house.

      NIMBYism, of course, means resisting upzoning or change in your own neighborhood, not living in a neighborhood that’s jurisdictionally immune from city upzoning. The latter may be a phenomenon that doesn’t have a name yet.

      1. Agreed, Sam isn’t describing NIMBYism exactly — he’s describing something similar to white flight, only without the racial component. Call it ostrich mentality perhaps — “if I go somewhere else I’ll be able to pretend these issues don’t exist, at least for a while”?

  3. Reminds me of an excellent Chris Lambert movie:


    A futuristic underground prison movie. Protagonist and wife are nabbed at a future US emigration point with an illegal baby during population control.

    Sounds like a STB kind of density movie

  4. It’s fun to think about constructability issues for this. The hole wouldn’t be so tough – just keep pouring concrete walls as you dig down. You’d have to find somewhere to put a massive amount of dirt, but that’s not a deal breaker. Elevators might be a trick – I’d say dig straight down using well boring equipment, then run horizontal tunnels from the floors. You could do the same thing for ventilation. From there, it’s a regular building – start at the bottom and add floors upward.

    1. Really the hole isn’t that much of a challenge. Some large buildings already have pretty deep foundations for parking and the like. Getting rid of dirt isn’t too much of a problem either.

    2. Those walls would have to be pretty massive to resist the soil pressure ~1000′ below the surface. Probably why it’s built like an inverted pyramid.

  5. About the name – skyscraper is a great word because it makes you picture buildings so tall they scrape against the sky itself – as if the sky is a blanket high above us. But earthscraper? Sounds like a piece of construction equipment. Besides, it’s not scraping the earth, it’s bored deep down into it.

    Not that I have a better name in mind. Hellscraper?

  6. Lots of feasibility issues here. Also practicality. There would be no daylight, for one. Safety. What happens if a fire starts on the lower levels?

    I’m all for massive underground projects and bunkers, but those should be relegated to government use. Prisons, laboratories, factories, armories, cisterns, safehouses, etc.

    1. There’s daylight. That’s what the big block-sized skylight is for. As far as fires, you’re about as stuck underground as you are in a tall building. Luckily, modern sprinklers work really well. If you’re talking about smoke, they’d certainly need a good smoke evac system near the top.

      1. The downside to diluvian situations would be the necessary drainage and pumpage to clear what is essentially an empty lake, plus the costs of figuring out all the plumbing and whatnot, as this innie building is likely very different from the usual outies. Or, room with viewfree aquarium in the marketing materials, I guess.

      2. That’s all just engineering (which is the fun part). Yes, this can fail in many ways. But the same is true for skyscrapers, and we’re mostly figured those out.

      3. But the daylight would only last for maybe a couple hours a day, and at the lower levels even less than that (the sun would need to be directly above the skylight). And there would only be sunlight in the central core.

        And modern sprinklers may work incredibly well, but there’s still the fact that anytime a fire alarm goes off, you’re supposed to evacuate a building. Imagine some a-hole burning a bag of popcorn in the microwave on one floor. Going down 65 flights of stairs is a whole lot easier than going up.

    2. fires would be less of a problem than in skyscrapers since water doesn’t like to flow uphill … I think the worst part would be if you had to evacuate from one of the lower office section floors.

      It is easier to walk down 30 floors worth of stairs than to walk up them … especially in an emergency.

      Don’t know about the glass roof though … what works for an Apple store … can’t see it working too well for a public square. (never mind people who would be afraid to cross the square if they can see down 35 or so floors.)

    1. And put a building on top of them! Reminds me of the game “YootTower”, where the ultimate goal is to put a stadium on top of a 100-story building…

    2. This probably makes far more sense for sports complexes (or possibly factories) than for housing or offices. People like daylight for housing and offices.

      Nobody cares about daylight for a sports stadium. Why not put it underground?

  7. I think people will still complain about traffic because there’s still a mass of people in one place, and what are you going to do about sunlight? Usually you pay to be at the top of a skyscraper because of the views, whose going to pay top dollar to be at the bottom?

    1. There are parallels in medieval Glasgow, which grew vertically due to limited land (a loch, swamps, hills, and the coast). Buildings were 3-6 stories, which was unusual in Europe. A couple bridges were built over the loch and swamps, and later the loch was drained. The poor were relegated to the bottom stories and land under the bridges, and streets were rebuilt above the first floor like in Pioneer Square. This created an underground city in 24-hour darkness; and the poor, the sick, and criminals were forced to live down there. There was a documentary on the History channel or Discovery or one of those channels about it.

  8. Oh and that underground building will NEVER be put where it is in the picture because if they were to dig right there they’d find so many artifacts from Tenochtitlan they’d never get it done.

    Although it would be interesting to watch all the protests and demonstrations from beneath them.

    1. In the article they’re calling that a benefit. They’ll be able to dig up all of those artifacts and put them in an on-site museum. The real question is whether they’ll be moving at construction speed or archaeologist speed.

      1. Consider the method used during construction of an underground parking garage in the La Brea Tar Pits; all the earth (well, tar) being removed was removed in big rectangular blocks, which were boxed up and labeled with location of origin. The archaeologists then got a gigantic pile of boxes and have been working through them very slowly.

  9. They would have to do a remake of “The Towering Inferno” (which I watched yesterday). The Plunging Inferno?

    “Damn you — I told you not to make the building so deep!”

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