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Andrew Buxton - TVP Design - London Z-Day, 2011 (Repository)

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Good afternoon, my name's Andrew. I'm the co-founder of The Venus Project Design with my partner Julia who's sitting over there. [applause] Before I go into the more detailed presentation of The Venus Project Design and the design of the circular cities I'd like to introduce the rest of The Venus Project Design Team. So first of all we have Ben McLeish just over here, who spoke before? No. Ben's our lecturer. Tom Williams, our event coordinator [applause] Jason Gleeson who's in the back, doing the audio and visual and Mark Wittner and Stuart Dobson who couldn't be here today. They're our web developers. They developed the website. The Venus Project Design was created after my partner Julia and I watched Zeitgeist Addendum shortly after it was released and realized that we could help out on the design side of things for the Venus Project, as we both come from a computer-aided design background in the construction industry. Our initial goal was to create a global CAD agency that the Venus Project could use to develop the construction drawings for the first TVP cities. It later worked out that we realized unless we actually got the funding and the opportunity from a country to build one of these cities it was pretty futile to try designing one at this time. By the time we actually get the opportunity to do a city the design and the technology will likely have changed and there's a lot of variables involved with the design of the cities that could change by that time. We later developed the website to include a global, scientific and technical database. We've now got around 1500 people on that database. Everything from architects, engineers, neuroscientists all the different scientific fields. We've got technicians from all different fields that are signed up, so if at some point in the future a country does decide to take on the Venus Project ideals and build the first city, we can then pull on that database and bring the people in that local area or country into the design of those first cities. My partner and I also had a long-term interest in 3D computer-aided visualisations. This is some of the stuff in mid-process that we've been working on with The Venus Project. We also have a group of volunteers through the database that help us with the 3D-modeling. We are actually taking Jacque's thousands of sketches and creating 3D-models from those for visualization purposes to show people what these cities may look like in the future. Having spent much time with Jacque over the last few years developing his sketches into 3D models and learning about the design principles he uses and why I'd like to share with you today a broader understanding of why the cities look the way they do. Why they are circular, why the buildings are white many questions that are normally addressed, especially a lot on Facebook (people grilling me for hours about the designs). We'll go into some of that now. Our current system of resource extraction from transportation to the finalized manufacturing production and transportation of goods to the end user is extremely inefficient in our current system. It's wasteful and it's outdated. When you consider 99% of all materials produced in the US ends up in a landfill within 6 weeks and every tonne of garbage dumped takes 5 tonnes of material resources to produce the waste in our current system is quite clearly out of control. When you add in the cost of importing and exporting these goods all over the globe and the inherent pollution that is caused within this system it is quite clear this is just a complete failure on all levels. We can't continue to do this if we want to survive on this planet. The Venus Project cities are not built for architectural ego and will need to be evaluated on a different set of criteria than we're used to: that of actual functionality. It's not something that architects are taught in our current schools. Just as we try to identify the root causes in our social ills within The Venus Project we also need to understand the root causes of why we have the problems in cities that we do currently so we can understand the actual reasoning behind why Jacque designs the cities the way he does. The industrial areas are outside of the city and where possible are self-contained resource extraction and distribution nodes with on-site production, design, manufacturing and production facilities all rolled into one. They are connected via Maglev freight trains to the main city hubs for delivery of goods produced while reducing pollution in the city hubs drastically and utilizing a monorail passenger transport system between local city hubs. The pollution is almost completely annihilated from what our current system is. By having the design and manufacturing facilities located together at the same site, combined with on-site resource storage facilities a huge amount of energy and efficiency is saved. When you add that transportation of material resources and finished goods is handled by Maglev trains by clean renewable energies and the removal of unnecessary shipping and transportation of resources from the source of extraction to the manufacturing plants the effect on intercity traffic would be immense not to mention the huge saving of both human and labor resources. Where possible all goods produced would be biodegradable or recyclable. For example, electronic goods would be designed with each individual component being upgradable utilizing standardized parts and connectors, reducing the amount of waste. As technology improves, products become outdated and when you consider the various options we have for creating natural plastics (palm oil or hemp oil) as well as genetically engineered plastics our reliance on current oil is almost completely wiped out. The only reason we still use oil now is for the profit incentive because it is not profitable to invest into renewable energies at this time. Many people initially see Jacque's work and think to themselves "It's just a fantasy, a big Utopian dream. The buildings all look like something from Star Trek. It will never happen." They don't look at the purpose behind the architecture and it is very difficult for us to present the architecture in the way that Jacque has designed it in one book or video. It's important for us if we are serious about conserving the resources of our planet to understand that the function must become the dominant value over aesthetics even though this is very difficult for many due to our current indoctrination into our materialistic, wasteful, consumerist, aesthetic culture. The circular arrangement of the city needs less energy and materials in transportation of goods and services and people. Also, it is easier to make an inbuilt transportation system in a circular system. The routing of transportation is linear and radial and therefore more efficient. You don't need traffic lights everywhere. You don't need roundabouts everywhere. Much of the transportation would be off the ground. On-ground transportation would be for emergency services to get to people in accidents or if ill in a home, etc. The transportation between city hubs would be via Maglev or monorail, depending on the distance. With the city being designed in a circular arrangement you only need to design one eighth of the city and then array it to become a circular city. This would save a huge amount of time on the actual design process of creating these cities. The standardization of buildings is a more efficient use of resources if we're serious about minimising waste and maximising efficiency. For example, if you look at some of the buildings in London depending on the level of the building, you have different sized windows. You might have four or five glazed windows in a row and then a single one, then a double one... In order to produce those, we have to have different designs for them. It takes a different amount of materials for each of them to be created. If we standardize those, it becomes a much more efficient process cheaper on resources and easier to make. We need to start thinking about the actual functionality of our cities and buildings, to take this into account rather than just looking at how the building looks whether it's aesthetically pleasing to my cultural values which are different from your cultural values or yours. Many of the structures are dome-shaped. The reason for this is that the dome structures are structurally stronger than current home types and won't collapse in the event of an earthquake. These buildings have more surface area for direct sunlight. The reason they're white is because we would be using ceramic skin that would have embedded solar cells so that the homes themselves are actually self-generating homes: they generate their own electricity. Obviously, this would only be used in countries where there's direct sunlight for most of the day but they would also be combined with other energy sources within the city. You'd have wind power, tidal power, depending on where the city was built. Domes also take less maintenance than the typical cuboid homes that we're used to. Due to the increased surface area, homes like this can easily generate their own heating, cooling and house power. In countries where there is not enough sunlight to do this we would obviously use different technologies: heat source, heat exchanges, etc. Additionally, these structures are easily constructed using 3D printing technologies as one continuously sealed mold with openings left for windows although the latest in technology is suggesting that within probably the next 3 or 4 years that we will be able to do 3D printing with multiple materials in the same mould. You will actually be building the house with the concrete and the windows all in one, all sprayed in the printer. The current printers that we've got are typically table-sized. There aren't any, other than one at California University which they are now using to build complete brick walls with the services inside the actual walls. There's no reason, apart from the monetary one why we can't make these machines absolutely huge. They could be the size of this room: printing off houses, travelling down tracks printing off complete housing areas for these cities in days, rather than years as it takes with our current construction methods. Currently we conceive of homes within the restrictions of our habits and our indoctrination into our culture, architectural design and styles of that culture. We consider it normal to live in a square, brick and wood-based house which often breaks over the course of its life requiring endless maintenance and is often flattened in major storms as we see every year especially in this country. My little friend, Peanut, has actually got something to say about the current mindset of our buildings. (Jeff Dunham & Peanut) -...fine city - OK! - Playing in a very nice theatre - OK! - This town is great. [Peanut almost laughing] - It's a fine city! - Have you looked around? Holy crap! It sucks! - A lot of history in this city...- Translated: old as shit. - They've been rejuvenating, refurbishing... - Pollish a turd; it's still a turd. - It's a fine city. - OK! Sorry! But the drive down here did suck. -Yes it did. -Oh my god! Was in the 405-5 [highway]. Holy crap! Thank goodness we turned on the radio and listened to the traffic report. - How much good did that do us? - None whatso-freaking-ever! I hate the traffic reports; they're a waste of time. Let me do the traffic reports. I'll save everyone a lot of time and money. Hey Tina, it's 8 o'clock in the morning. There's a lot of traffic out there. What's going on? It's 8 o'clock in the morning! Everyone left the house at the same damn time. Back to you. Call be back at 9h30. I'll tell you the same thing! Only guess what? They're going the other way! [applause] We still think it's perfectly normal to have these in our homes: stairs. Why? They're spatially inefficient. They're dangerous. Why do you have a rail at the top? To stop your kids falling down them? It's nonsense. People over a certain age can't even use them. Homes are clearly not currently designed to be lived in. [applause] But as long as they look good... It seems normal, doesn't it? It's even considered traditional and beautiful for many minds shaped by this culture. In time to come, as values and attitudes towards the intelligent and sustainable management of the world's resources change we won't be thinking the same way we are now. That's pretty clear. The homes that Jacque designs (My partner wants that one.) as seen in our latest 3D renderings, can be seen in the exhibition next door. These houses are conceptual, but they are based on design criteria as laid out by The Venus Project. They only reflect what the houses of the future may look like. You're not going to be forced to live in this one, if you don't like it. Homes will be designed for you specifically, for your needs. Each home would be designed for the needs of the inhabitants of that home. Someone who loves cooking and hosting dinner parties might want a large kitchen and a big dining room. Not everyone would want that. I'm a bit of a computer nerd. I like to sit behind my computer doing my 3D animations and stuff. This is all quite daunting for me. I'm not really a good cook. I'm not big on dinner parties (although it's getting better) so that kind of home would not suit me. I'd like something with a study where I can do my robotics play around with my computers and things like that. It's quite clear that we all have our own individual needs based on our own individual personal habits our own individual personal desires things that we like to do, our hobbies, etc. Our homes really need to be designed with that in mind and you can't standardize that. You can't carry on standardizing homes based on the region that you live in. If you look at our homes in South Kent, they all look the same. There are mild variations, but they're all done by the same architects in the same areas who've learned the same styles of that area. In most counties you can't actually get a house designed that is different from everyone else's because that will look out of place in the local area. The council will not give you planning permission for that. Many people would also move much more often no longer having the burden of having to own vast amounts of luggage household appliances with short life spans and being trapped by mortgages or rent. With fewer possessions due to access abundance: No more removal vans. No more breaking your back lifting your sofa downstairs to move to your next home. No more headaches with moving all your gear. It's a nightmare. It's supposed to be one of the most stressful things that we ever do in our lives and yet we do it quite frequently, apparently. It's bizarre. Current homes are not designed for function but are standardized based on current architectural trends in the area at that time. This is why house hunting can be such a laborious task in this system because they're looking for a home that suits everyone's needs when there has never been one designed specifically for them. You go around various different homes and say "Oh, this one's quite nice. It's got a bigger dining area and that's great for me. I want to cook," and your [wife] says "Yeah, but I like my computers and I want a little study and I haven't got a study in this house." Then you move onto your next one and eventually you find something that's OK, or almost what you wanted. "It's got character. It's nice. I think we'll go with that home." But it still was never designed to meet your personal needs. I love these things. Awful, aren't they? Home extensions. These are classic. This is a prime example of how home owners attempt to make their homes more suitable for their own needs when they clearly weren't in the first place. You simply wouldn't need to do this if the home was designed with your needs in mind before construction. Something that often comes up as a criticism of our ability to technologically develop the circular cities as proposed by Jacque Fresco, is of the automated construction: "These big machines don't exist now, therefore we can't make the cities which means The Venus Project doesn't work so let's go back to Communism or whatever." The truth is that our construction methods at the moment especially in the Western world, are actually quite well-developed. There's no reason why these cities could not be built with our current construction methods. Whether or not they're actually designed, constructed and used on the first city using these automated systems really doesn't matter. The automated systems would likely be developed in the first Resource-Based Economy or TVP city. That's something that would be a development project for building the next cities. It's not a requirement. In 2007, global food production was 8.5 trillion kilograms or about 1.3 million kilograms per person. In 2007, the average American consumed 1000 kilograms and we have an obesity epidemic. Strange, that. This implies that in 2007, we produced enough food to feed every man, woman and child 1000 times over yet nearly 1 billion people were starving. We don't have an overpopulation problem on this planet. We have a resource management, allocation, and distribution problem. [applause] To be blunt, we have a technical and political problem and there's no other sign of this problem being solved in any other way than what we are advocating. This problem is global and affects everything from food supply to fresh water supply, to housing to clean renewable energies and even education. There is no logical reason with the technology we have available to us today that we cannot provide all of these things as a basic human right instead of something that you have to earn. We could do so easily with our current technologies. We will use the best technologies available to us at the time of design whatever they may be at that time not simply those with the largest amount of existing profit or money demand. For energy supply, we would use renewable energy systems such as solar, geothermal, volcanic, wind, wave, tidal, etc. These are all proven technologies, and as yet, unadopted because of the might of the economies presently favouring oil and gas. Even the technologically simple coal industry is still running. Why? If you look at the current building construction a typical highrise office building can take from several months to a couple of years from preliminary designs to finished construction drawings consisting of multiple companies such as architects, civil engineers structural engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers CAD technicians, project managers, and many more professions. That's just on the design side. You've then got to build the thing. In the system under which we currently live, those designers have families. They've got bills, rent, and mortgages to pay. They've got food and electric bills. They've got all the problems that you and I have that keep us going to work from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday some of us Saturday and Sunday as well. The reason we haven't done the full designs for any of these cities so far is twofold: First, we don't have the funding to be able to take on full time teams of architects, engineers, CAD technicians etcetera; to work 5 days a week, 8 hours a day to produce these drawings for the first city which could take several months to a couple of years. Second, until we know actually where we're going to be building these cities until we know what land we've got, what resources we've got in the local area until we know what human resources we've got, how much funding we've got for technology, etcetera it's almost impossible for us to actually take them past the visualization stage at the moment. The transition... This is the favourite question of anyone new to the movement and many of those within it. The truth is there is no single answer to the question of "How would a transition play out?" Until we know the actual conditions that we're facing at the time of this direction to be taken on by a particular nation or group of nations the variables involved in determining the most efficient and smooth transition from the monetary system to a Resource-Based Economy are dynamically related to: the conditions of the economy of the existing infrastructure, the location of transitioning countries the resources available to them, the current debt obligations of those countries, and many other factors that would have to be analyzed and considered in developing a specific transitional approach. Until we actually get to the point where we've got a mass following where we can actually force the arm of the government or a series of governments/nations into a position where they are actually going to listen and discuss a Resource-Based Economy there is very little we can do as far as a transition is concerned. They're so many variables involved in this transition and it has never been done before. There has never been a transition from a monetary system to a non-monetary system. It has been done the other way around. Thousands of years ago, there was no barter or trade only hunter-gatherer societies and then we began the monetary systems. It's never been done the other way around and we've not got a precedent, that we can say: "This is how we are going to go. Go ahead and do it." There is one thing that is abundantly clear: The current monetary market paradigm is coming to an end and it will be replaced with an economic system that is based on the available resources of this planet. That said, we'd prefer one that's based on access abundance cooperation, clean environments and harmony with nature and not one based on competition and differential advantage. Our biggest obstacle really is that we don't reach enough people and that countries around the world keep falling back into one of the older paradigms whether it be communism, socialism, fascism, or whatever. This is why this movement is so important. It's why I'm glad to see so many of you here today because this message is actually getting out there and it's getting all over the world and it is the only way we are going to transition out of this system. In the transition, the problems that exist at the time will determine what will be done and where the resources will be allocated. People who volunteer to be in the first cities will be assigned to what is needed. We have inherited very poor conditions and many disasters that need to be overcome. The resources we have at the time will go towards resolving these urgent matters. People working with us at the beginning will be working on these problems that have to be resolved towards our stated goals. People will be serving under those who have specialized skills in certain areas. A list of professionals that are needed will be posted, but people will be trained as generalists as well. I think we can all agree that no one wants a carpet fitter to do your neuro... ...medical surgery. Stanley knives in the brain are not good. [applause] The standard of living will be constantly updated for all but in the beginning scarce resources will be shared. For instance, some may donate their lawnmowers... Oh, what did I do? That's good. That's good. For instance, some may donate their lawnmowers and instead of everyone mowing their lawns with their own individual mowers and needing a mower, there'll maybe only need to be a certain number to take care of the entire city. Who's going to mow your lawn? I know a lot of people that love gardening and would be more than happy to spend their whole day in the city mowing lawns and treating gardens and... God knows what else. People themselves decide which materials they will use or what they'd like to work with in regards to their personal use but ultimately, it is the availability of these materials that determines this. For example, if someone suggests that every roof made of titanium since it doesn't readily rust, then the availability and use would be determined by surveys done. Updated surveys will be done as to how much titanium we have the amount of resources needed to extract it and if other materials are available that would also work. Are there other materials available? Are there other materials in development that could actually be used in replacement that are more abundant? It's the scientific method used to determine what materials we use, when and how we use them rather than someone's opinion, especially politicians. Where there are scarce resources people will be working on substitutes or composites, to counteract these scarcities and to come up with substitute materials that may even be more beneficial such as materials that serve many purposes for covering roofs while acting as heat concentrators as well. Before moving into the city, people would need to be orientated to how that city would work: how they acquire their goods and services how they can participate in research, their own projects or even activities that they may want to do. They're not under the dictate of anyone. People will learn that they don't need to take more than they need and understand that if they do it will just be a burden. If I go into Tesco's tomorrow and take 20 trolleys worth of food then take it home when I've got a small freezer... What am I going to do with 20 trolleys worth of food? It's just going to spoil in my house. It's going to rot and smell my house out. It's not a good idea, is it? I'm pretty sure none of you would go home with 20 trolleys of food apart from Ben maybe. Ben probably would... (audience laughs at speaker's joke) People will learn they don't need to take more than they need and understand it would be a burden. Although during the transition there will be those who have remnants of past behaviors the job will be to present more appropriate values to carry out the new social direction which will enhance their lives and others'. This is why in the movement our prime goal is to change the values of people because the values that exist in our current system would cause havoc in a Resource-Based Economy. Future projects and how you guys can help... The next major step for The Venus Project as far as the transition is concerned (and you can find this information on their website) is that they would like to create a major motion picture for worldwide release in mainstream cinemas to inform large numbers of people globally about the benefits of living in a Resource-Based Economy and how we can transition from our current paradigm. While we understand that the Zeitgeist Movement does not itself advocate the use of money to further its goals on activism it still has come down to certain individuals within certain chapters that have made events like this possible. Something like this costs many thousands of pounds to put deposits down for. These deposits don't exist before tickets are bought. So what tends to happen is certain coordinators or groups of people within the movement dig into their pockets, and they pay the deposits and just hope that they're going to break even at the end of the day. I can see a time where we're going to have to look at some means of funding for these events that is a little bit more efficient and less painful on certain individuals within the movement. The fact remains that as long as we are under this existing monetary system without access to land, resources, scientific and technical products the goods and services of those design professionals required to create a test city this will require an enormous amount of funding within this current system. We don't have that funding currently. We intend to utilize cutting edge 3D in this movie such companies as 'Weta Digital' or 'Industrial Light & Magic' the kind of people that worked behind 'Avatar' or 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Star Wars' for example. The worldwide profits from this major motion picture release would then be used to fund the research and development city and showcase the viability of The Venus Project and a Resource-Based Economy to the world's press. Next you will see a short video from Jacque and Roxanne at The Venus Project. We feel it's really important to make a motion picture now to get to the general public to introduce to them what science and technology can do under the direction of The Venus Project within a Resource-Based Economy. I think a motion picture can be played over and over again. It can be translated into many different languages and it could do far more than my personal lectures because it travels all over the world. In a motion picture you can answer all the questions that people ask. We also feel, while Jacque is still alive he is the best person to put this film together. He has worked all his life to arrive at this direction. He hasn't just read books. He has experimented and worked with people and technology and showed just how a Resource-Based Economy can function and what it will look like. To us, it's very important to have Jacque involved in this film. The basic ideas for the film are laid out precisely and they are laid out in accordance with the plans of The Venus Project. If you don't have a public prepared to accept The Venus Project there is no other way. All of the future scenarios in science-fiction films are detrimental, scary about technology overcoming and killing people dictatorial governments and technology watching your every move. This is quite the opposite of The Venus Project for anybody who knows about it. This is what we want to get across to the public: You don't have to be afraid of technology. We want to show how the methods of science can be used to enhance everyone's life and preserve the environment. If we spend the money any other way, I don't think we'd be as effective. We need a large following to get this implemented. People don't know what's missing. They don't know any other system so we want to show life in a Resource-Based Economy then show flashbacks of how we get from here to there. And do it in an entertaining way so we could bring the public along with it. The Venus Project story is already fairly explicit and what we need perhaps of a writer is putting it in terms that might be easily understood or acceptable. It will have a lot of CGI in it, which is expensive because it does take place in the future. But it depends on when and what kind of funds we get. that will dictate the type of script. But we feel now is the time to have the Zeitgeist members get behind this, if they want to see a better world if they want to see a transition that may not be as painful. The film would help in that way, to make an easier transition. The more funding, the more elaboration... That depends on what people do to help support the project. If we are going for donations for this film then it would be totally transparent. We would have information on the internet as to how much has come in, where it's going to, and we have to do this because we are aiming to get the donations through our non-profit 501 C3 organization called Future by Design. Lawfully, everything has to be transparent and it would be. If we do make a profit, we will build the first city or we will do additional films, shorter films, but many of them. People will walk out of this film with the definite direction to work towards and knowing the difference between what they have today and the possibilities of the future within a Resource-Based Economy. We want them to understand it so much so they walk out and say "Why don't we live like this today?" [applause] And finally I would just like to draw your attention to our various current ongoing projects, and how you can get involved with them. First, there's our global scientific and technical database. This database is for professionals in scientific and technical fields to register as future volunteers that could be called upon if and when TVP cities are first designed. Next is our production of 3D models of Jacques thousands of designs and concept sketches for use in visualizations, movies and other media. If you have experience in 3D modelling and computer generated 3D graphics we'd like you to assist us in this huge ongoing project. I'll probably be about 95 by the time I get finished with all these sketches. You can email us at: [email protected] We do have some business cards I believe that we can hand out. Also, check our website: There's lots of videos on there about current technologies, etc. It's quite an entertaining site if I say so myself. In closing, after our successful exhibition in Eindhoven last year, we have reproduced as much of the exhibition as possible (minus the live 3D walk through of our first city model. We just didn't have the money for the software which was about €10,000). All of the latest 3D renders our team and volunteers have produced are on show in the exhibition next door. I hope you all enjoy it and thank you for listening. [Applause]

Video Details

Duration: 41 minutes and 43 seconds
Year: 2011
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: TZM London
Director: TZM London
Views: 82
Posted by: ltiofficial on Nov 13, 2011

In this London Z-Day presentation, Andrew describes and discusses TVP Circular City concepts using 3D renderings as a guide.

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