Quotable (#222)

China soaring:

In 2016 the world saw the completion of 128 skyscrapers, up from 114 in 2015, according to the US-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (it defines a skyscraper as being higher than 200 m, or 656 ft). Of those, 84 came from China, a new record for the nation. China has topped the council’s completions list every year for nearly a decade (pdf, p. 2). In 2015 it notched 68 such buildings, also a record in China at the time. […] Shenzhen, a city in southern China known for electronics manufacturing, stood out last year, completing 11 such skyscrapers. That’s more than the US and Australia combined.

(Via, and see related.)

Billionaire Doomsday Bunkers


There’s an enticing slide-show at Forbes.

Once each member’s private accommodations are completed, furnished and fully outfitted, their respective quarters will be locked and secured, limiting access to their families and staff prior to lockdown; while Vivos will operate and maintain all common areas (under and above-ground) pending a catastrophic event. […] Members will arrive at their own discretion, prior to lockdown, landing their private planes at nearby airports. Vivos helicopters will then be deployed to rendezvous with each member group, and safely fly them back to the shelter compound, behind the sealed gates from the general public.

The Vivos slogan is deep: Next Generation Underground Survival Shelter. Whichever way you break it up, it spits out strange and ominous signs.

Urban Future @ Work

Benjamin Bratton found this stunning development:


It looks as if it’s really going to happen. (OK, that’s probably over-excited.) Yet another prompt for delirious rapture about the continuing development of Shenzhen.

Meanwhile, there’s also a brutal class war to fight:

Quotable (#39)

Sam Jacob offers a fascinating left-paranoid perspective on techonomic exit:

The gigantic corporatised versions of … idealised hippy communities [such as Biosphere-2] also separate themselves from society. These too are idealised spaces, techno-utopias that turn their back on the world that surrounds them in order to manufacture spaces that can sustain their own ideologies. Just as the biosphere is an introverted ecosystem, we see a similar kind of disconnection, a resistance to the idea of the urban. Each becomes its own world, a place that operates according to its own set of rules and ideas, each wrapped up in its own vision of nature.

These are the citadels of the Californian ideology, places where the digital distortions of traditional urban, architectural and environmental space are manifested, places manufactured by processes of design thinking, holistic and totalised within their own limits.

Perfected and protected as these digital epicentres are, it is the rest of the world that feels the effects of the digital reorganisation of space far more profoundly. Outside the limits of these palaces is where the darkest machinations of digitality really work. Even nature itself, its clouds, hills, forests and rivers, traditionally figured as a place of escape and solitude, has long colonised by the digital. To escape its presence might now be almost impossible and might involve the most extreme schemes.

In the 21st century, everyone wants to escape.