Desertification is a serious issue we're going to have to contend with as climate change turns our fertile land into dry, sandy, windswept dunes. In order to adapt, we will need to use every drop of knowledge and experience in sustainable living to coax water from the desert in hopes of restoring the land.
Anna-Maria Simatou and Marianthe Dendrou of Greece have proposed the Living Mountain, a skyscraper city located in the desert of Taklamakan, in the northwestern region of China, which extracts water from the region and smartly utilizes it to create a microclimate and eventually a new landscape to beat back the desert. Simatous and Dendrou's Living Mountain just received an honorable mention in the 2011 eVolo Skyscraper Competition.
The high rise conglomerate is built from local materials and stands on a reinforced concrete pier foundation to be able to withstand the shifting sands. Steel and reinforced concrete will be used to construct the main superstructure, which is covered in a translucent material, much like a green house. Inside the structure are prefabricated living pods, which are roughly 2,000 square feet each and are also constructed of a light translucent material. Residents of the Living Mountain have easy access to to all of the facilities via elevator.
Rainwater is collected from the top of the structure and cascades to a central atrium all while filtering pollutants and encouraging growth of indoor vegetation. A lake is constructed underneath the living mountain to store excess water and help restore the landscape into a habitable environment. Eventually, more Living Mountains can be constructed nearby and further help with vegetation growth. These living mountains would be connected together via cable cars.