Solving Cities

Turning huge mining pits into off-the-grid cities

Posting in Architecture

Could inverted skyscrapers built in old mine pits be the most sustainable way to live in the desert?

The huge holes left in the ground from open-pit mining don't exactly scream sustainability. But they're not going away, so why not make something sustainable out of them?

That's what Matthew Fromboluti of Washington University in St. Louis thinks we should do: build sustainable cities out of the scars left behind by the unsustainable mining practice.

His concept, “Above Below,” would infill a 900-foot deep and nearly 300-acre wide open-pit mine outside of Bisbee, Arizona with a structure where people could live, work, and play. And they would hardly have reason to leave with the inverted skyscraper being completely self-sufficient. The structure would generate its own power, recycle water, and use tools such as a solar chimney to control the climate. Skylights would provide a view into the above-ground world, while at the same providing sunlight to grow food.

While open-pit mines are not usually in the center of booming metropolitan regions, this concept would connect the underground city with the largest nearby city through light rail, so that it's not completely isolated.

Could this be the most sustainable way of living in the desert?

Check out the complete inverted skyscraper plan.

[Via Inhabitat]

Photo: eVolo

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure