Nomadic Offshore Urbanism

Written by: Rebecca Hui, Assistant Editor


From prehistoric hunter-gatherers to modern Kyrgyzstan nomads, humans move to be in places where these resources are. Deserted company towns in America are emblematic of how contemporary populations are increasingly moving to where resources — particularly jobs — are located. This has resulted in a wasteful form of urbanism that is left behind once populations relocate such as the plethora of abandon buildings currently in Detroit.


As energy resources have greatly diminished and remaining supplies are often found in remote places, Manuel Dominguez’s proposes a fascinating adaptation: Nomadic City. Mobilize our cities so they can move to places where energy sources are abundant.


The implications of a nomadic city to harness energy are many. Dominguez’s work features cities carried on tank wheels with reconfigurable characteristics. Residential units resembling cargo boxes fit into a matrix grid. Helicopters and blimps can land on and off the moving island. The Nomadic City compacts the lofty needs of resource extraction into a portable format.

This city layout also provides promising strategies for clean energy generation. Sun-tracking solar panels follow the path of the sun to maximize peak hours. Nomadic City goes where the wind blows, as it is depicted sitting in a field of windmills. It is off-grid; energy gathered can be stored as a giant battery and be delivered when Nomadic City crawls to its destination. A moving city provides potential solutions that solve the major critiques for traditional clean technologies: Inefficiency and inflexibility.



While fabricating Nomadic City would be a difficult task, the project re-engages discussions started with Archigram’s Walking City in reconceiving of an urbanism tied to resources and is as transportable as the populations they serve.


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