Modern cities face a number of issues due to old buildings. For example:
- Housing that isn’t up to code
- Abandoned buildings
- Absentee owners who don’t maintain their property
- Urban decay
Fortunately, with an amazing new idea, we can revitalize urban development and create guaranteed construction jobs.
Specifically, the proposal is as follows:
- Build an elevated circular track around City Hall (or some other centrally located building).
- Next, build an enormous miles-long spiked roller that rests on this track (Fig 1). The outer edge of this “city grinder” should reach to the farthest extent of the city.
- The city grinder will now make a slow revolution around the city, consuming everything in its path.
Fig 1: The “city grinder” is a giant spiked roller (left) that levels everything in its path. It is mounted on an elevated circular track that is centered on city hall (right; the building with a yellow roof). In this example, the roller is traveling counter-clockwise (see arrow). Not shown: the roller should actually be rotating quickly in order to grind the buildings it encounters.
The actual time required for a full rotation could be set based on the circumstances of the specific city. Perhaps 100 years for a full rotation would be reasonable.
Thus, the “city grinder” is just a strong formalization of the 99 year lease—except a property won’t just revert to government ownership after 99 years, but instead will be ground into dust.
Fig 2: An example of city grinder transit over a 100 year period (as indicated by the numbers; note that the grinder is in the top-right corner of the map in both 1900 and 2000). The star indicates the city hall (or other “center” location). At 100 years for a complete revolution, the city grinder will only need to cut through 3.6 degrees of the city per year. For a circular city that is 10 miles across, the outermost (fastest) point on the city grinder would be traveling at a mere 4.5 feet per day (or 1.4 meters / day). (City circumference = π × 10 miles = 31.4 miles. 31.4 miles / 100 years = 4.5 feet per day).
The only remaining logistical question is: how does traffic pass through the region being ground up? Luckily, this can be easily solved by breaking up the roller into many independent-operating sections that can be elevated. So only a small portion of the city grinder would be blocking traffic at a given time, and this segment could easily be driven around. This wouldn’t be any more difficult than dealing with railroad crossings, which all cities already handle.
PROS: Prevents accumulation of obsolete and decaying buildings in a city. Improves urban beautification. Architects and construction workers will have guaranteed employment.
CONS: The roller may be expensive to operate and maintain.