In this article we will have a look at the lifestyle offered by Aquarius marine settlements and the Post-Industrial culture they cultivate and harbor. The character of this lifestyle will vary to a degree with the style of architecture employed and will evolve with the evolution of settlements from small seed settlements to full scale colonies. So we'll be starting our look at this from the Seed settlement and work are way forward in time to the ultimate Aquarius Earth-Terminus form of colony.
Living on the Seed: Edit
With the exception of Seed type communities created strictly as for-profit ventures of the Foundation CIC (serving an audience with no particular interest in TMP, such as condominiums and resorts), the demographic of typical initial Seed settlement residents would be middle-class technical professionals with an entrepreneurial bent, professional artists and craftsmen with established home-based careers, as well as semi-retired and retired technical/science professionals. From among the general Western population, this group of people would have the easiest time with trying something new in the way of housing and they have traditionally been the adopters of novel forms of architecture and unusual home locations. This is also the dominant demographic for active space and science enthusiasts. They would typically have a fairly large financial investment in their participation in the settlement, both in terms of their personal residences as well as in the founding of entrepreneurial activities -local in-community businesses- associated with the settlement. Many may be relying on salary employment in on-shore business centers and so would be commuting frequently. Others may be looking at the settlement itself as the location for an entrepreneurial operation which, most likely, would initially be operated out of a home setting.
Business activities associated with the settlement would be divided between ventures looking to serve the internal market of the settlement community and those serving an external market with the latter initially more dominant than the former. Early internal business activities would be few and service-oriented and on the scale of one-to-few person operations, such as a local cafe or general store, a B&B or mini-hotel, local shopping club to save people the trouble of on-shore shopping, water taxi, non-critical medical services, etc. Key external market businesses would include the Foundation CIC, businesses based on the construction systems of the settlement, and -if the water conditions are clean enough in the region- possible mariculture activity. A typical initial population may be about a dozen to two dozen residents.
There would be a distinct difference in local lifestyle relative to the style of architecture the community employs and its specific location. The biggest difference will be between communities using modular component architecture -such as the Utilihab system- and free-form organic design based on ferro-cement construction because of the way these differ in the role residents themselves play in the construction and design of the community. Communities using modular component architecture offer every resident a high degree of personal involvement in the creation and evolution of the community and in the outfitting of their personal dwellings. Owing to the very high talent overhead of designing and producing quality and attractive free-form organic structure the cultivation of the community's built habitat would be dominated by those residents with this high talent -residents who must collectively work as a team on a common aesthetic vision for the settlement and who would tend to find themselves pressured by other residents demands for modifications and expansions if there isn't a sufficient number of them. Consequently, one can expect a much quicker pace of activity and structural evolution in the modular architecture based settlement than in the organic settlement but also a much more sophisticated sense of aesthetics in the organic community as residents come to regard their entire habitat as a work of art and their own lives as a sort of performance art.
Seed settlements in warmer climates and less populated bays are also likely to be different in character from those in temperate climates and urban areas. The former would tend to be more open and sprawling in their patterns of growth. Residents would seek close ready access to the water for recreation and community gardens would be open and sprawling. The latter would tend to seek to shelter an internal community environment from polluted near-urban environments and inclement weather. The community garden may be under a dome or other shelter and become an internal year-round tropical haven for the local community from the harsh exterior environment. Thus the structure would tend toward being more self-contained and inwardly-focused, seeking to internalize most activity and rely on the central garden as primary open space. This difference tends to make warmer climate settlements a better prospect for business involving a lot of outdoor activity or which are engaging in mariculture and marine vehicle development. Both have tourism potential, but the former will tend to have appeal as a more conventional type of resort, the latter more popular with a local regional audience attracted to its indoor tropical habitat during colder months.
A typical Seed settlement would likely have the following basic facilities in addition to its basic residential, workshop/office spaces, small craft marina, and central garden; a community lounge with shared media entertainment systems and perhaps a small presentation stage for community conferences and performances, a small community cafe or restaurant possibly doubling as a communal kitchen for some communities, a community general store equipped rather like a convenience store and likely customer-tended on a trust basis, media and tool libraries, a laundry, a community fab lab with a variety of conventional tools and small digital machine tools such as sign cutters, hydrocutters, milling machines, etc., a materials store complementing the fab lab, a computer and telecom room hosting the community's primary telecom gear and a set of servers and routers for the local community WAN (offering corporate-class Internet bandwidth to every household, initially relying on a point-to-point WiMax link to the shore), a community gym possibly with a small sports facility such as a multi-use half-court basketball and racquetball court, a spa and sauna, and an infirmary and first-aid station modeled on ship-board types. In some locations there may also be need of a 'pilot station' in the form of a control center with a few monitoring and manual control systems, owing to marine regulations requiring someone be 'at the helm' of a free-floating structure at all times. For the initially larger Seed settlement there would be options for a community swimming pool, a community aquarium to complement the garden, a B&B or small hotel, an in-garden theater and/or festival/party area, larger sporting and exercise facilities, and a child daycare center and playground. (this author would also propose a mini-golf course featuring a small Greek temple structure as a standard feature of all marine settlements) Many Seed settlements may initially opt for a simple walkway or pier connection to the shore but free-floating ones would employ a Solar Ferry as well as private boats and shared solar/electric launches. A shore-side parking facility is, of course, also likely.
The typical initial Seed settlement residence would be 1000sf or less with some residents requiring additional adjacent workshop space. Other temporary housing of hotel room scale may also be used. Inhabitants would be encouraged to reduce their private space needs by using community facilities, though initially this may be difficult for those used to the conventional suburban lifestyle. Some communities exploring a cohabitation model might even experiment with an oversized Capsule Hotel unit as a residence model as an analogy to in-space style living, though this is unlikely to be practical long-term on Earth. Generational housing may also be developed to allow older children a sense of independence with their own 'rabbit hutch' scale apartment units while still being in ready observational range of their parents. The same could be employed for the elderly as an alternative to costly and dehumanizing nursing home care. If the community chooses to employ a European cohousing model, it may forgo conventional full-size kitchens in residences by relying on the community restaurant. However, should a community be founded in the US, it is likely a higher degree of household autonomy will be desired.
Initially, daily life on the Seed settlement will be little different from condominium or cohousing community living -though with the benefits of more in-community facilities than is typical of these. Anonymity -the prime enemy of community cohesion- will be largely impossible owing to the small size of the settlement and its limited small scale transit links. There would, of course, be less privacy than is typical of suburban communities but if sized properly and with a sufficiently grown community garden the individual residences should offer a sufficient sense of privacy for most. Organic style communities would definitely have an advantage in this owing to the burrow-like nature of individual residences, their tendency to merge into plant cover, and the need for a somewhat lower density of habitable structure due to accommodations to non-Euclidean forms. But in general these communities would not be suited to misanthropes by any means and residents would have to get used to a fairly close social relationship with fellow residents. This may pose some initial difficulties for Americans in particular, given the progressive misanthropy of its current culture and common notions of convenience through the elimination of the human element.
Elements of the Post-Industrial culture the community would hope to cultivate would -with the exception of the fab lab and tool libraries, initially be subtle and represented mostly in the demographic makeup of the community, the tendency to host ambitious entrepreneurial business operations from this small community, the nature/products of those businesses, the tendency of residents to be pursue various forms of tinkering -particularly with the settlement building technology and projects of the Open Source Everything Project- and by a community buying club which would be used to reduce on-shore traffic by residents by allowing them to order groceries to be delivered to a convenient pick-up center in the community -a promising business venture for at least a few residents that has many environmental benefits as well as providing great convenience. Not much commodity production would exist within the community at first so its internal economics would be quite limited, with the exception of a lot of cooperation between locals in their mutual business ventures, most of which would ideally relate to TMP and the future development of the settlement in some way.
Intermediate Settlement: Edit
As settlements reach an intermediate stage with a population exceeding 100 they are still likely to be reliant on regional shore communities for many goods and services but would be increasingly independent of them thanks to growing and diversifying local facilities -mostly service or mariculture and container/hydroponic/vertical farming. Taking on the aspect of a small town, the intermediate stage settlement would feature a more robust commercial and municipal center designed -perhaps by level separation- to be more isolated from the residential area, a local clinic with a small diversity of non-critical care services, an early grade educational facility, and a growing, if still primitive, internal economy based on trade among residents (with commodity products like food produced by local hydroponic farming and mariculture and services prominent) and cooperation between complimentary entrepreneurial businesses. Residences would be essentially the same in design as with the initial Seed settlement, but would be larger owing to a new tendency for two or possibly three story structures akin to townhouses which might be divided by floor into individual units or be used collectively as a family dwelling.
The community itself would increasingly become a source of jobs for prospective residents, drawing more of the dispersed TMP community and assuming an increasingly larger role in the Foundation stage activities and culture of TMP. It's also likely to employ some commuter employees from the shore. If not already begun in the Seed stage, the settlement would start aggressively pursuing transportation systems development with projects or ventures for the Solar Wingsail Cruiser, EcoCruiser, Wingship, and Aquarian Airship -possibly in concert with land-based communities and businesses. The concerns of child care, in-community education, and youth activities would become increasingly important as more families start to take up residence. The Foundation CIC on which the community is based would become increasingly robust with more for-profit development projects supporting settlement improvements, and many of its early entrepreneurial ventures would be on the verge of becoming self-perpetuating companies with growing portions of their operations both on and off the settlement. The shopping club, which the initial Seed settlement may have created simply as a way to reduce on-shore traffic demand by allowing residents to order groceries delivered to the community, would by this time become a burgeoning enterprise dealing in a growing diversity of goods, buying goods wholesale from an increasing diversity of sources, and affording the community price breaks on volume for commodity items. While local shops in the commercial center would tend to cater more to visitors and focus on specialty items and the products of local residents, the buying club would increasingly meet locals' basic daily supply needs and may even become the basis of a network of trade between other TMP communities, particularly with their food products. Akin to the buying club, a car sharing club -ideally based on novel vehicles the community residents themselves make from scratch- would also be added to the community repertoire, helping to wean residents from the compulsion of car ownership. The high bandwidth communication access that would be standard for community residents would begin to have important cultural impact as it would enable residents to become first-adopters of some of the most cutting-edge Internet and telecom applications, particularly where they aid in supporting home employment and overcoming limits of space and transportation. Soon the use of things like Virtual Window Wall systems may be common in households and businesses along with the use of the nascent Virtual Habitat for communication and recreation.
Recreational facilities would be largely the same as for the initial Seed settlement but more elaborate and larger in scale to accommodate more people. The use of spas is likely to become a cultural fixture of marine communities and may seek to emulate the elaborate facilities of Japanese Onsen -with, of course, a Modernist angle to their design. There may be multiple community lounge and gym facilities in different locations and with different aesthetic themes and a new form of media entertainment facility modeled on karaoke centers where a home theater scale private lounge room provides a theater and video game center for families and small groups. A community art gallery and TMP-themed exhibit center may also be added. Pursuit of more cutting edge TMP-related projects would also become an increasingly popular form of recreation -particularly such things as semi-pro rocketry, demonstration space robotics and space habitats, and cutting-edge aerospace systems.
Tourism and commerce would become increasingly important to the community as the settlement becomes a regional destination, its commercial center and restaurant drawing routine visitors from outside the community. Residents may seek to isolate themselves from this visitor traffic, particularly for security and privacy reasons, thus encouraging the isolation of the commercial center (though residents will likely still wish to keep their trust-based convenience store and near-home cafe) and the deployment of a duplicate restaurant facility or perhaps a number of speciality restaurants. The community hotel facilities are likely to still be small but may increase to motel scale and would be more associated with the commercial center. A local post office and shipping center are likely to be added, even if at first the community itself will have to man a relay due to reluctance from national postal services and shipping services to setup their own facilities in the settlement.
Some industrial facilities would by this time start to become quite large -especially those associated with marine vehicle construction, mariculture, hydroponic farming, and the settlement's structural systems. These would tend to be moved to the settlement periphery to allow freer expansion and reconfiguration, though they may compete with some recreational spaces for the more outwardly focused and sprawling settlements. Residents would likely have to get used to some portion of the settlement being in the process of construction or renovation all the time, though over time this may become smaller in relative scale to the rest of the settlement.
The lifestyle of the settlement would be similar to that of its initial form but much more lively owing to the larger population and with an increasing independence of shore facilities. Demographics of the resident population would start to diverge as some residents' businesses become sources of employment for other residents and as young adults assume many of these jobs. Some inhabitants may find the new pace of growth and scale of population an inconvenience and may even seek to create new Seed settlements in order to recapture a smaller, quieter, and socially tighter environment. Most, though, will seek greater local parity with shore urban centers in terms of conveniences and facilities and will see their community's growing parity in standard of living and service independence as justification for trying to move the settlement farther from shore in the hopes of freeing residents from at least state tax obligations. The controlling factor, of course, will be the transportation systems the community can afford and by this time they may only just be experimenting with the development of EcoCruiser class ferries and small scale versions of the Aquarian Airship.
With a slowly increasing amount of local industrial production -though likely still dominated by food production and the community's own structural systems- the cultivation of a local Post-Industrial culture will progress and become more apparent. The community will begin looking at prospective residents in terms of the production skills they bring to the community (even if only in hobbyist terms), seeking to broaden a local industrial and technical skill spectrum. Participation in the Open Source Everything Project as well as the various TMP-specific projects will have become a common community pass-time and a steadily increasing number of goods will be produced by locals and traded or sold at cost, producing a general cost-of-living and convenience benefit. Residents will come to perceive a very clear difference between the internal economy of the community and the external economy of the world at large and will see the nature of their daily work activity dividing between these two and shifting in proportion according to the diversity of local production. They will start to recognize the simple incentives for relying more on themselves and the local economy for goods which, though often very different in character from those produced by/for the outside market and certainly not yet as diverse, offer a far better practical value. Residents will still likely be very focused on conventional 'wealth building' as all middle-class people are but will come to see the ability to short-circuit the normal market when meeting some of their own needs as a simple and clever way to 'cheat the system', allowing them to assume more control of their lives while saving money or personal time and giving them a greater option for more personal time or more personal wealth than would normally be available in the conventional outside community. And, of course, the more they work with the new tools of independent production the more they will realize new entrepreneurial opportunities even as they are, within their community, slowly dismantling consumerism. They can, ironically, greatly profit near-term on spreading the tools and technology that may, in the long-term, end profit in the conventional sense.
Equatorial Migration: Edit
As the settlement approaches full colony scale it will start becoming independent of the shore in the sense that it can now enjoy the benefits of being a nexus of international commerce itself rather than a minor branch off the commercial nexuses of coastal urban centers, thus it will itself tend to assume an increasingly urban aspect. It's population perhaps exceeding 1000, it would now begin trading on a global market for goods that could be communicated directly to it via its own large ship berths and warehouse facility and its own small fleet of long range vessels, perhaps including its first intercontinental range airship. (and likely used as much as a promotional tool and an eco-tourism liner as a practical cargo vessel) It may also begin supplementing its growing power needs by remote OTEC stations or ships which shuttle energy to the colony in the form of hydrogen, hydrides, or redox solution.
Now adopting the PSP-based structural systems of the full scale colony and shifting its location on the edge of the open sea, individual residences may be radically altered as the large scale concrete based structures of the full colony structural systems replace lighter forms of structure. While the radical and fast reconfiguration of the settlement habitat may be traumatic or intimidating for some, dwelling sizes may increase to a generous 2000sf even for some solitary or couples residences thanks to the declining cost of construction for the settlement through local production, the space savings of shifting the habitable space into what is essentially 'subsurface' space, the large generic three story high bay sizes typical of systems like the Tectonic structural system, and a growing ubiquity of in-home workshops and gardens. Many new features would be added to the community including the first generation of PRT/PPT system, a SuperStore automated warehousing facility integrated with the PPT, full-featured hospital, a system for full education to university level (the adult education relying on an intelligent courseware based virtual university program), large shipping and recreational lagoons, and community parks truly large enough for one to get lost in. (though a great deal of surface real estate may still be dedicated to solar power as the settlement may still not be able to deploy its own OTECs) Resident demographics would become increasingly diverse as a host of commerce and industry produce a diversity of employment options, some of these businesses not being TMP related at all and instead based on companies leasing space on what is rapidly becoming a floating international commercial center.
It is at this point in the growth of the settlement that the inhabitants would experience the full dual opposing pulls of both the promise of life on the Equator and the remaining ties to the nearest shore. The prospects of large scale and intensive TMP-specific activities as well as the potential freedom from taxes would be the key incentives encouraging the Equatorial move. But at the same time the colony may be of significant economic importance to the coastal region and thus face enticements or inducements from regional government to encourage it to remain. Each early colony will have to make this choice and some may choose to remain where they are. But those with the strongest cultural imperative to pursue TMP will likely eagerly make the leap and move to the Equator as soon as their transportation options allow.
By that time the colony will have inspired numerous other Seed colonies which, thanks to the experience and resources established by the first settlement, wll be able to progress with much greater speed. Some may even choose mid-ocean living from the start by virtue of the new transportation systems their predecessor established. In addition, the colony would likely have produced a variety of industrial platforms including remote OTECs -which may be picked-up and incorporated into the colony as it moves out to sea- and possibly a modest equatorial space center focused on marine launch systems and/or early Space Elevator development.
Having well established a large assortment of industries within its community and perhaps even some multinational corporations, the colony by this time would have cultivated a broad local production spectrum based on the new Post-Industrial tools and technologies and perhaps most of the products on the colony would be locally produced, even if not with local materials. Residents would now be living in a culture with a very different set of values compared to the communities on land and this may create some short-term crisis in labor as the community adjusts to a way of life where salary employment has an increasingly hard time competing with personal and community production and barter, thus creating a growing number of jobs that it's simply impossible to pay anyone to do. Residents would now understand several categories of work; subsistence work, work-for-trade, compulsory community work, work for cash on the external market (increasingly replaced with trade for resources), and 'career' work -the work you do for your own personal reward and for social credit. Of course, people would be naturally compelled to minimize all forms of work other than career work as much as possible to the point where it takes only a few hours out of a week to support an individual's basic standard of living -though with early colonies much of this may be subsidized by the profits generated on the external international market by many of the colony's industries. A very large portion of the community would transition to what would be called 'retired' in conventional terms even if they are quite young and have no vast wealth stockpiled, the focus of their lives shifting to education and career activities that revolve increasingly around TMP pursuits.
Full Equatorial Colony: Edit
Installed in its final location on the Equator and equipped with its full compliment of OTEC plants and large scale mariculture facilities, the mature colony would be a fully independent and politically autonomous entity with a resident population in the tens of thousands, operating on the international scene like any independent nation. The colony would establish its own system of laws and/or social conventions while the Foundation CIC's system of stock ownership serves as a basis of property. A new digital financial market system would be established on the first autonomous colony in concert with any other settlements under the Foundation CIC sphere as a basis of finance and resource-based exchange across the whole TMP community and perhaps eventually the world at large. An explosion in the cultivation of new Seed communities on the open sea would begin as the mature colony community and its industries, further aided by new technologies such as SeaFoam, become an engine for its duplication, people seeking to create new communities around specific TMP projects and their development teams, new aesthetic themes, and social/lifestyle models. A robust global transportation system comprised of EcoCruisers, Wingships, and Airships would link the colony to the world and a robust space center, either attached to the colony or near it, would aggressively pursue new launch technology under the Bifrost program and the foundation of initial Asgard stage facilities such as the MUOL.
Mariculture, hydroponics, and renewable energy production would all be expanded to a grand scale with the mature colony and encompass the primary exports of the colony. But the political autonomy of the colony and its sophistication and robust transportation would also make it popular as an international tax haven, ironically becoming host to a large community of leased space facilities for a variety of multinational corporations it may, long-term, actually aid the obsolescence of but, in the mean time, would help to make its new digital financial exchange a powerful engine of global economics. The colony would also become a prime global tourism destination, drawing traffic on par with a major resort region or the largest of theme parks. Lavish hotels and resorts may be added to the colony, though the basic lifestyle and environment of the colony itself would be attractive enough for most visitors.
A great diversity of possible residential environments would be offered by the mature colony. Most residences would be condominium-like units in a great variety of sizes and varying terrace frontage. Some may be located in the main mountain and ridge forms of the colony structure, with small narrow but private terrace frontage space. Others would be along the edge of valleys and lagoons, having no private terrace space but direct access to parkland or water and possibly private atriums. If large breakwaters are created for mariculture purposes, these too may host housing in a quieter and less active environment. Likewise, the perimeter edges of the colony, at the base level atop its 30'-50' high PSP structure may offer large bay residences -favored by those desiring a lot of personal workshop or private open terrace space- with some isolation from the 'action' of the rest of the colony. And there may even be some underwater dwellings as described in the section on Submarine Habitats. All residences would be fully integrated into the colony PRT/PPT system offering door-to-door transit for most destinations in the colony while a powerful fiber optic community network would provide the bandwidth of lesser telecom trunk lines to every household and business via the colony's own submarine cables, satellites, and unique sea and aerostat telecom relays. A great deal of everyday life would be rooted in the medium of the Internet, making it a major measure of the Aquarian standard of living, with many people having -and needing- few permanent possessions beyond the data of their personal domains. Virtual Habitat development would accelerate and diversify, the use of virtual environments becoming a major fixture of the daily life of many residents and a key means to linking the community with the world at large. With OTEC systems fully deployed, the colony would have access to abundant amounts of power, fresh water, and cold water cooling with waterfalls, ponds, baths, and fresh water swimming pools common throughout the artificial landscape of the colony, moderating the hot Equatorial exterior climate, and with most of the structure air conditioned using radiant air cooling. Established as a sustainable community on the Equator, the attentions of colonists would shift even greater than before to the Bifrost and Asgard objectives of space development. the mature colony hosting or supporting nearby a robust and growing space center and possibly a first-generation Space Elevator system. Bit by bit the populace of the colony would come to see itself as dually-resident in both sea and space, many of its residents engaged in space development work and, with the advent of manned habitats on orbit, many living part of the time in space and commuting regularly between space and the sea. Because permanent habitation in space may be impossible as space development waits on medical technology to provide clinical solutions to 'space wasting', all in-space facilities would have to be complimented by terrestrial dwellings serving the cyclic housing needs of early space inhabitants. And so for a long time the marine colony would serve as a direct companion to early space settlements.
With its Post-Industrial technologies well developed and transitioning to Diamond Age nanotechnologies, a flourishing Post-Industrial culture would epitomize the Aquarian lifestyle with most residents seeing their lives revolve around their participation in transient volunteer (but still often selective) project teams which form around tasks such as the creation of works of art, the production of mass entertainment, the management of international aid and disaster relief, the creation of new marine colonies and land-based settlements, the pursuit of science, and -of course- the development of spacecraft and orbital facilities. Though the colony may become a key fixture in global economics and host facilities for many corporations, most of its residents would be living in a culture where money becomes increasingly irrelevant to daily life, replaced by credit on a resource exchange and the social credit earned through their community activity and career pursuits. Instead of building wealth, the Post-Industrial person would 'build character' in terms of cultivating through social credit a personal profile based on their education, experience, and participation in different activities. This life-profile would increasingly determine their access to opportunity in the form of project team activities and resource credit. The colonists may often be characterized by those in the rest of the world as rich, hedonistic, and self-absorbed despite many having little monetary wealth and few collected possessions -especially as national media is politically manipulated, as it so often is today, to try and resist the cultural influence of this new society in the dying Industrial Age cultures and decrepit old-guard governments. But its activities in space, technology, and global aid would put-paid to that misrepresentation. Though still quite tiny on the scale of political entities, the mature marine colony and its growing number of sister colonies would soon have a cultural influence in every corner of the globe by virtue of the life-changing technologies and ideas it so freely disseminates and the prestige associated with many of its accomplishments.
Well into the more distant future and toward the period of the Solaria phase, the Equator would become host to a dense archipelago of habitation linked to space at many points and possibly linked together and to the continents by submarine rail links. (these links effectively obsolescing most marine surface traffic and a significant amount of air traffic) The structure of the marine colony, now vast enough that it may host a population in excess of a million, may now become subsumed by intelligent nano-materials such as NanoFoam, finally achieving true parity in organic function and aesthetic, the built structure of the colony now a self-assembling, self-transforming, self-maintaining, and increasingly self-aware artificial organism that would integrate -by physical and communications links- to a similar built habitat among all its sister colonies, to near-Earth orbital habitats, and a growing number of arcologies and linear cities on land, linking the whole of terrestrial and near-Earth civilization in a kind of cybernetic structural web. Like the network of nerves and arteries in an organism, this integrated structural web would host vast data, energy, and NanoSoup materials networks, constantly recycling and redistributing the raw materials extracted from the environment according to local demand. The Earth would become a globally managed Closed Environment Life Support System -a kind of Gaian cyborg where the natural systems of the environment dialogue with the artificial systems of human civilization and together dialogue with the human beings inhabiting it all. This could, in some contexts, be a very anthropomorphic form of dialogue but for the most part this would be carried on in more subtle and varied ways as networks of feedback between the systems we use and communicate with to perform daily activities or to change the form and character of our habitat to suit our evolving needs and tastes.
Organic design would now dominate much of the built habitat, now being a very natural approach to design given the nature of nanofabrication and the use of NanoFoam. But unlike today's organic architecture which is limited to very few materials, this would be one incredibly rich and broad in aesthetic variation because of these new materials' ability to mimic and blend the characteristics of virtually any known material for appearance and tactile purposes while being, literally, as strong as diamond. Thus this environment would be composed of often oxymoronic materials; stone as soft as foam rubber, seamless wood of any shape or area, metals that emits light, and glass as thin as soap bubbles but as rigid as concrete and as tough as steel. And all of this would be capable of integrating all sorts of active devices. Every surface could be a potential video touch-display or light source, every exterior wall and roof a solar collector, every interior wall, counter, or table a fixture for fabricated-in-place appliances, every interstitial space housing for an infinite variety of unseen machinery. Infrastructure for power, heating, cooling, communications, materials distribution, would all be able to permeate every structure freely. And it would all be changeable on demand simply by communicating with software systems that, in turn, communicate with the nanomechanisms that permeate it all and can restructure it as needed. But organic design would not be exclusive in this environment. These intelligent nano-material would be just as capable at simulating any form of architecture and its typical materials ever used in history or newly devised.
With nanotechnology offering virtually total automation of all production and total recycling, most all physical goods would be considered transitory in nature. Only artifacts of special aesthetic, historic, or sentimental value would persist. Everything else would be made on demand and recycled when no longer needed, their value embodied entirely by their design and the software that controls their fabrication. Virtually all the possessions of an individual would be virtual/informational -physical artifacts only assuming a temporary existence when they are used. the resource economy that superseded the capital economy of the Industrial Age would itself be largely superseded by a social economy based entirely on social credit. Daily life would increasingly revolve around the pursuit of experience, the desire for novelty, the dynamics of social interaction, and the cultivation of social credit in the hope of opportunity for grander self-expression and experience. And it would be life conducted on an equal basis in both the physical world and the Virtual Habitat that mirrors it and condenses it in space and time. As this author has sometimes said, the future will be like a never-ending episode of Seinfeld. At least it may seem so for those on Earth and in the more urban locations of the solar system where entertainment, creative expression, and sensual experience dominate human activity. In space, however, there will be more world-building and frontier exploration to engage in.
This environment would also be host to a new community of artificial intelligences presenting a new branch of the human race and adding a new dimension to the culture. Hosted within the information systems embedded in this web-like matrix of civilization, they would extended it for their own purposes into areas normally uninhabitable to organic human beings but of no consequence to inorganic human beings living primarily in the virtual habitat. Similarly, nanotechnology would enable the manipulation of the human body for functional and aesthetic purposes on an unprecedented scale, producing a divergent human species the likes of which can scarcely be imagined as people freely explore the aesthetic and sensual aspects of virtually every imaginable variation of anatomy and then pair that with a culture of habitat and artifact. Many smaller marine colonies may become lifestyle havens for the more adventurous of these identity and body explorers, producing communities with architectures as wild and unusual as their inhabitants.
In many ways life on the elder marine colony may be much slower paced as the activities of TMP will have largely shifted away from Earth by this time. Yet it, and the Earth in general, are still likely to still serve as a powerful cultural engine for the growing Solar Civilization.
- Seed Settlement Design Concepts
- Aquarian Intermediate Stages
- Aquarian Colony Design Concepts
- Aquarian Mariculture and Farming
- Aquarian Transportation
- Aquarius Supporting Technologies