-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Sat, 17 Feb 2001 15:32:48 -0800

> To Z - Q: Care to elaborate on what you mean by "modern design ideas"? Do
> you mean with regards to scientific sentiment or the look of the thing? I
> like to discuss design concepts whenever possible - being such a sucker for
> artbooks. :)

Both. The O'Neill designs all center around what I call "Suburbia in Space" --
the interiors of the colony are all either semi-rural villages or small urban
parks rolled up into a cylinder. There's a lot of open space and greenery, an
idyllic little campus offering the best of both urban and rural living -- the
diametric opposite of the sort of sterile, antiseptic technological tin cans
seen in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey or the current International Space
Station Alpha.

"Modern design ideas" would thus be less grandiose and idyllic or idealized than
the O'Neill designs but more ambitious, spacious and Earthlike than the Kubrick
or contemporary space station designs. The interiors of the wheel-shaped
colonies in Gundam Wing are a good example of what I'd expect from this

The cities in space would thus have the same range of living conditions as any
city, from palatial penthouses to "remote" cabins, and the urban centers would
have both garden parks and tenement slums. Gundam has already done this to some
extent by simply implementing a standard Tokyo-style landscape inside a
cylinder, but that contradicts one aspect of space colony design emphasized by
O'Neill -- all industry and agriculture would be external to the habitat proper,
which would be residential only.

I doubt we'll ever see that sort of fidelity to the O'Neill concept, especially
now that they're "updating" it, but I do expect that the designs will be more
"realistic" in respect to our contemporary sensibilities that the 25-year-old
"Space Suburbia" model that informs every aspect of the O'Neill design.


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