"An imaginary labyrinth 650 miles square"

innsleyarcology.jpg Will Insley's ONECITY project envisaged a grid of arcologies stretching across the great plains, each 2.5 miles square. His interests, Insley wrote, have very little do do with planning theories, but instead the 'dark cities' of mythology. From a 1984 NYT story by Vivien Raynor:
It's clear, however, that the city's inhabitants are segregated into day people, wholesome types who study at home with their children by means of electronic devices, and night people. ''Tattered ghosts in phosphorescent clothing,'' [who] ''often carry around personal abstract structures'' that they exchange ''according to mysterious rituals.''
BLDGBLOG points out the curious resemblance of Insley's illustrations to sewing diagrams, "megastructures are produced on massive looms, needles and yawn moving to a hypnotic drone in semi-darkness." But I'm reminded (especially by this one) of proposals for monuments to place over nuclear waste dumps, to serve as warnings for future civilizations or extraterrestrial visitors. Dark Cities [BLDGBLOG] and pics from The Nonist ART: WILL INSLEY'S VISIONS OF A LABYRINTHINE CITY [NYT, 1984]


  1. I hear Nyarlathotep is giving a lecture on the urban planning for a new development. I am keen to go.

  2. These illustrations look like the future…. of HVAC vents.

    Wonderful ideas, but to me the pics look like stuff I drew in middle school.

  3. Fritz Leiber’s “Our Lady of Darkness” seems to come to mind. Interesting book about occult/para-natural and urban planning.

  4. Several of the images look remarkably like integrated chip designs. Maybe the inhabitants are bits and bytes.

  5. Its reassuring to know I’m not the first person to think that having a day-time population and a night-time population as being a good idea. Since most commercial buildings in most cities run their lights all night anyways, why not have a night staff to work in your store to sell things to nighttime customers?

  6. “Tattered ghosts in phosphorescent clothing, [who] often carry around personal abstract structures that they exchange according to mysterious rituals.”… sounds like Burning Man to me, no?

  7. I’ve seen that city… in a comic book… this big crystal thing grew into it and destroyed the perfect order of the architect… can’t remember the name of the book, damnit.

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