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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

- Well suited for cities with a high degree of informal economy

- In the past, commercial buildings (shop houses with retail on the ground floor) were not designed for such high-density cities. Today, some city (like Bombay) has at least 10 millions inhabitants.

- As the land value skyrocketed in high-density cities, the rent at the street level becomes unaffordable for most small businesses

- The prototype building shown here should be able to provide more opportunities for small businesses since the public space is no longer chained to the ground level. With more available public spaces, the rent could consequently be lowered.

- Public spaces are distributed vertically on the surface of building (creating more surface area of public contact similar to Chinatown's alleyways).

- These surface streets are opened 24 hours to the public (for those who enjoy a slice of midnight pizza). Business owners would be free to set their hours of operation.

- Residential Floors: connected to the surface streets by internal stairs only (for privacy)

- The surface streets are setback from the main public sidewalk on the ground (so that the building does not encroach upon the city's property)

- The main elevators and stairs, at each ends of the building, stop at the surface streets only ( for privacy to the residential floor )

-The feel of each level of surface street is that of a traditional town, alive and full of miscellaneous human activities

- Business owners living upstairs from their shops are public figures because they have the ability to make decisions. If a hurried customer forgot to bring his wallet, the business owner could simply say "It's on the house" or "Pay me back tomorrow" - immediately creating a reputation system and trust in the community.

- Mixing residential + commercial use together also creates more public bystanders and safety on the streets

- A great way to save energy by using the elevators instead of driving long distance from one shop to another; the elevators act as automatic "car pooling" devices.

- Shorter pay-back period for an on-site renewable energy system such as solar (photovoltaic) because the building is being used both during the day and during the night. For example, if a conventional residential tower is designed with an energy system for 50 households, such system will be operating at full capacity only at night time (when the majority of residences are at home). By mixing residential and commercial units together in one building, as shown in this prototype, we could be operating at full capacity for the entire 24 hours - thus shorten the pay-back period of on-site energy generation system.

- Aside from the conventional ownership structure of owners and renters, alternative ownership structure could also be introduced (such as a co-op where business owners can create their own zoning law within the building).

- As for a few multi-national corporations that try to rolled-out smaller sizes stores in order to evade local zoning laws, they will find their attempt rather futile. They could own a stall in this prototype building, but their ability to compete with other genuinely innovative small businesses will be limited. As corporations grew larger and larger, their ability to innovate will become more and more static, and soon the only thing that will remain is "branding", and perhaps the economy of scale. But since the rent is lower in this prototype building, small businesses can easily compete with corporation in cost if they self-organized and purchase their raw materials together in bulk.

- Episode V: The Return of the Bazaar is an act of taking back our public spaces, an act of putting local public figures back on the streets, an act of war - a "war of position" (A. Gramsci).

>> more plans/drawings:
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