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Some Japanese architects want to change our approach to urban crowding. They think we can live in the sky, and they hope to build a vertical city twice the height of today’s tallest skyscraper that would house, employ and entertain hundreds of thousands of people. But can it be built? And would it be safe? Take a look at what’s envisioned in this composite of three Sky City towers joined to form a “hyper” city.

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Apartment Sky City would be built to house some 35,000 people. The living areas would be a central component of the city, and some would have quit a view from near the top of the 3,300-foot-tall building. And the building would be habitable from the ground up, meaning residents could move in while construction continued overhead.

Elevators Each Sky City tower composed of 14 plateaus, and vertical transportation is handled by high-speed elevators. Visitors could take a triple-decker elevator from the ground floor to the top of the building, 3,300 feet up, in little more than two minutes.

Core Center Rounded to deflect high winds inherent in such a tall structure, the central control area linking the outer towers could contain a heliport and perhaps even a small airport.

Green Space The interior of the 14 plateaus on each tower would be composed of green space: trees, shrubs, flowers and grass. Although protected from the elements with a glass external “skin,” some internal spaces would pull in outside air to give a sense of the four seasons.

Monorail During Sky City’s version of rush hour, more than 100,000 people could move through the massive complex. One mode of transportation would be a monorail that would spiral around the exterior of each of the plateaus.

Stadium Sky City is being envisioned as a true city, wich means more than just homes and offices. Plans could include an Olympic-sized sports and entertainment stadium suspended between the tree towers.

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Typical City Temperature Profile Many densely packed, concrete-laden cities have higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas. In the past century, Tokyo’s average temperature has increased by nearly 3 degrees.

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Sky City Temperature Profile By alleviating the percentage of ground-based construction, Sky City could free areas of a city like Tokyo for greenery, perhaps lowering temperatures and reducing pollution.

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Deflecting winds With added height come dangerously high winds. Sky City’s rounded shape would deflect some winds.

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Countering Sway Even a rounded building will sway, and Sky City engineers would have design massive counterweights, like these, or active dampers on a scale never attempted.

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Size Scale Each Sky City unit would be than three times the height of the 986-foot-tall Eiffel Tower. This animation shows how the Eiffel Tower would look next to the bottom part of a single Sky City.

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Specialize Concrete Unlike typical concrete (left), that used in Sky City would have to be a highly stable composite whose crystalline structure would protect columns for hundreds of years.

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Step-by-Step

Foundation. Construction could begin only after engineers figured out how Tokyo’ loose, sandy soil could handle a 6-million-ton structure.

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Supertrusses. Some parts of Sky City would be so big that no factory could fabricate them. Mega-columns would be built on-site from the ground up.

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Cylindrical Construction. To deflect the high winds inherent such a tall building, each Sky City tower would be constructed almost as cylinder.

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(source: discovery channel)