We have been reporting recently on a couple of things. First, an idea newly minted in the United Kingdom that disused coal mines could be turned into underground farms—an idea we didn’t think could be applied here in the USA, until we recalled the Trump has no interest in dealing with global warming. In future, it may be that only underground will it be possible to produce food. (See Progressive Troglodytes and Progressive Troglodytes II)
Second, we have an interest in the alarming fact that the American Southwest is now entering a state of endless drought as the result of that same process of climate change. Since we have our main office here in New Mexico, that’s a bit disconcerting. (See Notes From a Drying, and Dying, Land)
However, we did recall seeing a few years back a proposal to move Southwestern cities, and their water, at least a short distance underground, so that life could continue even under extreme conditions. Curious, we then sought out the proposal (we could recall that someone had made it. But we couldn’t recall who).
A quick Google search revealed that the idea we’d seen came from the design firm Matsys, and the specific thought experiment involved was Sietch Nevada. (“Sietch” is a word for a protected town from the science fiction novel Dune.) The company describes this underground city as follows: “Sietch Nevada is an urban prototype that makes the storage, use, and collection of water essential to the form and performance of urban life. Inverting the stereotypical Southwest urban patterns of dispersed programs open to the sky, the Sietch is a dense, underground community. A network of storage canals is covered with undulating residential and commercial structures. These canals connect the city with vast aquifers deep underground and provide transportation as well as agricultural irrigation. The caverns brim with dense, urban life: an underground Venice. Cellular in form, these structures constitute a new neighborhood typology that mediates between the subterranean urban network and the surface level activities of water harvesting, energy generation, and urban agriculture and aquaculture.”
We were relieved to discover this plan in that it might give our home city a future after all.
On the other hand, consider the final line of the company’s description, “…the Sietch is also a bunker-like fortress preparing for the inevitable wars over water in the region.”
In short, when all is done and said, Trump and his financial backers will have a great deal to answer for.
Including war and famine.
Images from Sietch Nevada are below: