Technological Heritage

Thus far when essaying our technological heritage my focus has been on the heritage being a foundation on which the future is built. For this technology to be a foundation for the future, it presupposes that the existing technology is maintained into the future.

Farming supposedly provides food security, by providing more control over the origins of the food than being a hunter and gatherer. Historically with this increased security more time became available for other things. With time spent on other things there became growth in agricultural technology, and still less time was required for farming. Each small incremental change becomes a stepping stone towards a future requiring less and less effort. However, we have now hit a problem, the availability of technology has been taken for granted. Our very existence has become dependent on many of the technologies. Further many of the technologies have been around built around finite resources, so so the benefits of the technology were and are short lived.

A community pools its resources and builds a road, and benefits significantly from such road, ultimately becoming dependent on such road. But the population increases and other goods and services are needed and the road gets neglected, and falls into a state of disrepair. Similar occurs for say schools and hospitals.

Now if population increases, and available funds are proportional to the population and required resources are also proportional to the population, it is would seem that it should hold true that if the past population was well served then the current larger population would be well served. If not, then something has gone wrong. That something is typically a tendency to squander available resources, a failure to maintain level of service and failure to maintain the existing.

Hospitals and schools are not used by all the population all of the time. As population expands into new areas, it is not entirely necessary to build new schools. That is on condition that the housing in the vicinity of the schools is restricted access and rent only. So as people become educated they move to housing more distant from the schools but closer to work. A conflict may arise between parents need to be closer to work and children’s need to be closer to school. In the main however schools should be within walking distance of a child’s home (eg, they don’t drive cars). As the child gets older they do not necessarily need to live with parents. So parents move further from the school and children move closer to the school. As they leave school they then move into single occupancy dwellings closer to work. As they become coupled and have their own children they move closer to schools. From there they may move closer to hospitals as they approach retirement and old age. The net upshot is that when dependent on the resources of a city there is little value in owning land and housing: most especially if the land is not naturally capable of providing food and water. It is better to keep the population mobile and to rent. If people are permitted to own land and housing then some people gain unfair advantage in terms of access to resources provided by the community.  More importantly the resources potentially go to waste, with schools and hospitals closed in one place and news one opened elsewhere. If such happens then lost the technological heritage, and not moving forward but playing catch up.

Else where I have mentioned the easiest way for a factory to improve its technology whilst continuing to operate is to build a new factory in a new location. Once the new factory is operational the old factory is closed down. In this way production gets transferred to new location, along with employment provided. One way to avoid this industry transfer is with factory ships. Another way is with mobile modular buildings. With modular construction, one module can be upgraded at a time. If it is mobile, then in one day, the old modules can be transported out and the new modules transported in.

Neither nations, cities or buildings are permanent. All is transient as is human life. Technological heritage means we can benefit from the past, but only if we maintain the technology we have already.

We need to move away from thinking about buildings anchored to the ground, and being permanent structures. The purpose and the use of a building is transient, so there is no reason for the building to be constructed for the long term. Many industrial  buildings become abandoned  because the space enclosed is not suitable for any current purpose: and the building is the problem. So the easier it is to remove buildings and reuse either building, the components or the materials the better. However buildings  are only part of the problem, as the division of the land itself is another part of the problem, causing inefficiencies, inconvenience, and general hindrance.

People do not actually migrate between countries they migrate between cities and from the outlands into the cities. In this age passports, visas and permanent home addresses should not be necessary. People need and should have the freedom to move without administrative hindrance.

Cities can only expand in increments of whole systems, not partial systems. So a point is reached at which cannot afford another hospital or do not have resources to provide. There is a minimum size for a hospital and there are minimum increments in its size: therefore cannot have a hospital of any size desired. For example can have one or two doctors, but difficult to have 1.2 doctors. But such problems can largely be resolved by redistributing the world population and building housing in more appropriate locations. At the present point in time have more resources consumed on building housing than building communities. Population redistributed between the world’s cities should ease some of the problems faced by those same cities.

People are not entirely living where they want to live. In the main people are trapped in cities. Not so much free citizens, but slaves and prisoners. Cities do not have to build more housing because of apparent demand for housing. More importantly cities should not be building houses to prop up a locally redundant industry. Cities should build housing only when there is real need.

Cities need places for birth, nurturing and death. Cities need places to assist transition of city from one state-of-nature to another. Cities need fringe dwellers. Cities need dormitories, camp sites, caravan sites, along with fairgrounds and transient mobile marketplaces. Along with mobile marketplaces also need mobile industry or production facilities. There is a core developed, essential permanent hub, and then there is the transient periphery. The periphery is where the new is nurtured, it is also a wilderness. The core is the established, the core of the city is the technological heritage, that needs to be maintained and sustained.

… to be continued


  1. [08/10/2016] : Original