The project capitalizes on excess kinetic energy and rampant speculative investment in a series of ‘boom towns’ to propose a growth engine for a ‘boom corridor’ and ‘energy megaregion’.
New corridors of oil ‘boom towns’ in the Upper Midwest are enjoying unprecedented growth from energy exploration in the Bakken shale and other natural reserves. These same towns face an immanent ‘bubble burst’ and resulting economic decline, an inevitable result when the fossil fuel energy runs out someday.
Instead of accepting this fate, if the ‘boom towns’ could tap into the excess energy of the extraction process, and use it as an engine for wise economic growth, this situation could be changed. ‘Boom towns’ could grow into self-sufficient ‘boom corridors’, and set the groundwork for emerging as cohesive capitals of ‘energy megaregions’, an alternative ‘energy-forward’ economic and land use model operating within the future margins of current metropolitan, state, and federal boundaries.
Williston is one of these oil ‘boom towns’, at the center of Bakken oil shale reserves in North Dakota. The unprecedented scale of energy extraction in the region, coupled with an outmoded infrastructure incapable of supporting adequate efficiency in transport and delivery protocols, and an emerging service sector not yet meeting the needs of the town’s newest residents, means that here there exists two untapped resources: a large amount of kinetic energy waste and ‘idle funds’.
On the road kinetic energy is wasted because trucks are driven for hauling fracturing water between water wells and oil fields everyday. In Williston, 60% of the traffic is from trucks, which make the traffic jam to the local road.
So many people come here to find a high paid job. They commute between the working field and so-called ‘man-camps’ on the periphery. The man camps are workers’ housing managed by logistics companies, spread for several miles in low-density developments near the town. Because to many people come to Williston, demand for housing is outstripping supply – Williston is fast becoming the most expensive place to rent an apartment in US – $500 more than some of the most inflated real estate markets in New york or California. On the other hand, people who come here – such as the oil workers, logistics coordinators, and teamsters – are earning extravagant wages and have lots of ‘idle money’ in their bank. But they have no time to use it, and little motivation for re-investing their income in the town. It is common to work long hours for 2-week stints each month, with little spare time between shifts. To compound the draining disinvestment, workers will leave the town during their off-weeks.
The intention of design is to collect energy waste on the road and capitalize the’ idle funds’ from teamsters and other members of the boom economy, as an engine to produce a touristic boom in the near future and to perpetuate prosperity after the oil boom ends.
From now on to 2035, Williston is planned to be a serving center for tourism in a larger scope in terms of supplying with the most convenient service in transportation and accommodation for tourist. In this process, transportation infrastructure is designed as an intermodal spine connecting the railroad, airport and highway system. The stations are pulled together in the the center of Williston in order to take advantage of the original city context and commercial function as part of the tourist industry. ‘Teamster timeshares’ are built on this intermodal spine and near the wild refuge, managed by teamsters who are encouraged to use their money from the oil boom to make investment in touristic real estate. In 2035, it is anticipated that this new constituent will not only live their lives commuting in between the center of the spine and wild refuge, but also develop new economies and lifestyles centered around shared properties and modes of travel.
Thus emerging functions as timeshares, logistics and vehicle service are combined into the original city functional grid and repair it gradually. At the same time, although fossil fuel energy still exists, the usage of kinetic energy is promoted. Early research into energy speculation uncovered how the movement of magnetized material could produces electricity at an infrastructural scale. If we install the magnet on floor structure, the magnet vibrate with the floor when trucks or people move. The more activities happen here, the more electricity can be produced which is used and stored for the city. Thus, the maximum energy recapture is promoted by integrating touristic, logistics, vehicle service and the intermodal spine. As more people come here, more energy can be collected to support this system.
In the far future at 2060, the assumption is that there is no fossil fuel any more. Not only the touristic industry, but the whole city can survive on the intermodal spine by bundles of highways. It generates the energy by itself, supplies the community with public facilities. The whole city becomes concentrated and strong, capitalizing on its origins in boom-town sprawl, and its suburban context. People don’t live in townhouse, drive their car, use gasoline anymore. They rent movable timeshare for living and driving in a nomadic way on the spine.
By scaling up the boom through three scales this project capitalizes on the speculation and energy capture as an engine from oil boom town to boom corridor in 2035, and energy megaregion in 2060. Instead of controlling and preventing exploiting oil, the plan is to encourage the oil boom bubble burst to produce a boom corridor and use the energy and resources from the oil boom as the engine to support this process. In this process the proposal is letting energy capture with intermodal spine and estate development work together.