There are many reasons to build an enormous domed city – warmth, environmental sustainability, protection from the elements, pollution, radiation, flesh eating viruses, and the desire to establish a socialist dictatorship in which citizens are ritually slaughtered at the age of 35 and all decisions are made by an intelligent but emotionless supercomputer – but we only really need one reason to make this science fiction idea a possibility; it would be really cool. Of course, when plans were unveiled for the potential building of a domed city in one of Siberia’s enormous abandoned diamond mines, we all knew that the Russians had a different purpose in mind; to make Americans jealous.
The site of the proposed domed city is the former Mir diamond mine in the small town of Mirny, Siberia. The opencast mine has been described as one of the biggest holes in the world, with a diameter of 3,900 feet and a depth of 1,722 feet. At it’s height (back in the 1960’s), the Mir mine was the largest and most productive diamond mine in the world, but digging stopped in 2011 when the pit eventually ran dry. That’s when this massive hole in the ground came to the attention of construction company AB Elise, who began making plans to convert it into a luxury living space and experimental city of the future.
The plan entails building an enormous glass dome over the mouth of the pit, lining its terraced walls with luxury apartments, and fulling the central area with parks, an oxygen producing arboretum, and an eco-friendly and space saving ‘vertical farm’. Rather uncreatively named ‘Eco City 2020’, the dome and ditch would provide homes for as many as 100,000 residents, be self-sufficient and eco-friendly, and – most importantly of all in the Siberian winter – warm.
The key to the ambitious design is apparently in the strong Siberian sun. Photo-voltaic cells built into the dome would provide all the electricity the city would need, while light would be channeled through the city’s central core into its lower levels where the oxygen producing forests and farms, and other utilities, would be located. In the larger upper section of the city, residents would enjoy a relatively constant, warm temperature compared to the biting cold of the Siberian seasons, and would be free to enjoy the magnificent parks and gardens all year round (unless the dome gets covered with snow, that is).
Unfortunately, the proposed city of the future has so far remained just that – a proposal – and no plans have yet been made to begin construction. Will this ambitious project ever get the green light? So far it seems doubtful. It all depends on whether the Russian government can be convinced that attracting tourists to the region is possible, which it probably isn’t. Let’s hope they change their minds; when the end comes we’ll be counting on the Russians to preserve our species and protect the post-nuclear remnant from the hideously deformed savages that inhabit the wastelands beyond the bio-dome.