We all live in urban spaces, We all know their way of growth, their problems their social disparities and their impact on our personal daily life. So what would happen if you had the opportunity to build a virtual world where you can master the real problems of our world?
The Answer is Minecraft! Known for its angular shape, this swedish game gained popularity, especially at the beginning of the 2010s. Even though it gained the reputation of a children’s game over time, you have to honestly admit that an infinite field of play on which you can do everything what you want, is something even adults can enjoy. Actually the dream of every urban planner.
We are talking about NewPort City, a fictitious place in a fictitious country [not to confuse with NewPort in Vermont USA]. The city measures 7km in length and 5km in width. That’s about 35 square kilometers, or 13.5 square miles. However, this is measured in blocks. This is described as one edge length of a block being exactly one meter long. Thus, this does not accurately cover the norms of our world. Walls are therefore at least “1” wide in Minecraft, which means that a house is twice as big as it is in real life. Therefore, one can assume that the city, if it were real, would be twice as large. After all, in our world, the walls are not 1 meter thick and the houses are not dozens of meters wide. This means that the city is up to 70 square kilometers, respectively 27 square miles large and houses 2,000,000 – 4,000,000 citizens, if compared to our standards.
The City Layout
The surrounding nature was inspired by the valleys of the Los Angeles County. Located on an island, NewPortCity is surrounded by a large mountain range with the truly inventive name “Newportmountains” in the west, limited by the sea to the south and then there are the “Newport-hills”. Flora and Fauna can be compared to the landscape of whole california. Even a dessert large in size exists on this island. There are also influences from New York [City and Upstate New York] and even from Europe [Vienna, Austria].
The architecture style corresponds to the North American style of construction of the first half of the 20th century. This applies especially to the inner city districts. But there are a few architectural exceptions in the old neighborhoods, which can clearly be described as the “Turn of the century” style of many european cities, especially Vienna. It was important to us to build a realistic city. So there is not only a utopian city center, which consists only of futuristic skyscrapers and flying cars. In this city there is an old and a new city center, a government district, industry and waterfront, as well as normal residential areas. The downtown buildings are mostly constructed of brick and correspond to the New York style of the 1920s [e.g. Empire State Building, Chrysler Building]. Furthermore, one must also emphasize that the suburb meets today’s standards. Especially the suburb can be compared to the grid layout of Los Angeles County. Wide streets, malls with huge parking lots and many one-storey buildings.
The city is 35,000,000 blocks and has over 500km of main roads. With this length you would usually get from one country to another in Europe. The city certainly has the necessary infrastructure that makes up a big city. There is a subway system, a national rail system, two major railway stations, industrial centers, a major waterfront and even two airports.
The biggest question of all: “How do I get up to 4.000.000 people from A to B everyday”
Then we may start with the road system. The entire city was built on the principle of American urban planning. We are talking about a grid layout. The roads are as straight as possible so that equal blocks of houses are created. The size of these blocks depends on the district and the density of streets. Mostly we have four to six blocks of pure residential area and then most of the time there are major traffic routes surrounding the blocks. These main routes have most of the time two lanes in both directions and allow the connection to more distant destinations in the city. In addition, these main roads provide space for shops, restaurants and many other institutions. But the biggest advantage is that you can keep heavy traffic away from residential areas. Then there are also highways/freeways, which lead in every direction. In this case, we have a main highway, eight lanes in both directions [City HWY. 1], which splits in the course of his turn in further, smaller highways [. City HWY. 2, Newporthills <> Main Airport / City FWY. South Coast <> North – Desert]. These roads are usually linked to the national road system.
The city is divided by a large river, which made the building of bridges necessary. Also a huge underpass connects east and west of the city [NewPortTunnel]
All of these roads have been elaborately designed and even fulfill their purpose in theory. These include three-way interchanges, but also four-way interchanges [e.g. Principle of stack interchange]. One of the most complex junctions is the “Northbank Interchange”, which on the one hand connects the river underpass to two highways and even integrates the exit to the “City Airport”.
Newporthills/Northhills Interchange [To City HWY. 2 soutbound to INT. Airport]
Westbank BLVD. Interchange [City FWY. – Route 55]
ordinary crossroad [Westbank]
Public Transport, international transit
Newport City has a public transport system. This includes five subway lines, along with their secondary links. In this case, the subway system has transverse connections, which run behind the Newporthills. As a result, even small villages and suburban settlements can be integrated into the public transport network. Two train stations, Westbank Central and Central Station, link the city to the rest of the island. In theory, Westbank Central would be one of the busiest stations, as it is only a few kilometers away from the city center. Exactly for this reason two subway lines lead to this station. The route to Westbank Central crosses downtown, using two bridges. Also a station right in the heart of the city is being considered. That route leads above the streets, like a elevated light railway system.
Two airports are also connecting Newport City to the world. One lies further out and the other leads into the heart of the city. We are talking about Newport Int. Airport and Northbank Int.
Culture, social development and building styles
As already described above, this an American-inspired city. The buildings are getting bigger and bigger towards the city center. Much is built of brick, the streets are laid out in a square shape and the outskirts consists of constructed settlements.
No utopia was planned for this city. Both districts with expensive and luxurious apartments, as well as caravan settlements on the outskirts exist in this city. This can be used to show how things are really happening in the real world. This also gave us a clear picture of the social circumstances of our time. The questions, “how do I build public transport,” “where do schools have to be built,” and “how do I service the residents of a city”, have been concomitant during the process of conception. But even in this city you can notice social differences. The interesting thing is that the longer you build something like that, you get more and more a sense of social division and problems resulting from it. So one can speak of a certain disparity between poverty and prosperity. What is not included, however, is religious ambiguity. There is currently no single church house, no matter what religion, on the whole island.
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