100 mile mirrored skyscraper

“where are they going to house all the people it will take to build, clean,feed, and otherwise serve, those flying about the gardens and waterfalls?”
Oh, no problem, the workers will all live in a giant slum outside the mirrored walls of “The Ruler”. But once a day, when the sun hits a point such that the reflection off the mirror hits the slum, they all need to evacuate or they’ll get cooked like ants under a demonic giant’s magnifying glass.
We need a more appropriate name for this abominable idea.


There’s already a case of that happening with Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California, US, where they discovered that curved, reflective surfaces weren’t the best idea.

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Hey all, this discussion is heading away from the original topic about how the structure might affect nature int he area. Inequality and other issues are of course important, but this forum isn’t a place for discussing them. Please keep the dicussion focused on nature or I’ll close the thread. Thanks!

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Migrating birds, biocrust on soil, and the plant and animal biodiversity - which is there - but no observers for iNat yet.

Biocrust, when intact and protected, prevents dust storms

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Observers for what exactly? “Biocrust” is so many things. I have observations for lichens, bryophytes, fungi, algae and probably anything else that makes up various crusts I’ve seen. I guess what could make it easier to find “biocrust” would be to tag it that and other relevant terms, but the observations from myself and many others of the species that make up the crusts are present on iNat.

Thank you for coming here, because many comments here sound like personal attacks on the country.


I meant any observations on iNat for that area. Beautiful landscape but no iNatting there. That’s why I came here to ask about bird migration at least.

OK I’ll play devil’s advocate and say that this could in fact have a net positive impact on the environment if certain conditions are met:

  • The city runs parallel to bird migration routes rather than across them. Doable.
  • It uses bird safe glass. Doable.
  • The city recruits residents from existing cities reducing demand for more urban/suburban sprawl in other more sensitive areas. In the plan.
  • Municipal waste is reprocessed and reused, preferably inside the city. Possible but very challenging.
  • The city won’t require extensive new road, rail, air or marine facilities to be built outside the city to support it. Doubtful.
  • Power inputs all come from efficient solar/wind/hydrothermal power. I have no idea if this is possible.

Yes, a project like this would destroy the local biocrust but the impact of the increase in dust would be short term especially if artificial biocrusts are used on disturbed areas outside the city.


Did you look at the map?
Will it cut across bird migration routes?

Bird safe glass on a wall a hundred miles long and the height of the Empire State Building. Will the birds know to keep flying up up up, or along to the end of the wall? Or drop dead exhausted and bewildered in the heat?

(It does already have humanitarian impact on the Al-Howeitat tribe, who live there)

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What’s the green truth behind the new city


I did look at the map. It is not clear to me whether or not the ‘line’ would cross bird migration routes. A cursory search for bird migration routes through Saudi Arabia seems to show most birds follow a north-south route so if the mega-building were to follow that same direction impact would be lessened. I also assume that anyone who can afford to build a structure this size can afford to use bird safe glass.

Is the bird safe glass effective (for birds) across a huge expanse?

Yes. New buildings are easier to build with bird safe glass. As far as I know there are three main types. The choice depends on whether or not you want the patterns to be seen by people as well as birds or not. The options are fritted glass (very artsy), etched glass (less visible to humans), and UV coated glass (almost invisible to people). Windows in existing buildings can be retrofitted with plastic films that have similar capabilities.

Edited to add: Now that I think about it a giant glass city in the desert would probably need fritted or UV coated glass anyway just to keep the people inside from getting cooked.


For the people - the jam in the sandwich in the centre - is value added and very green microclimate. Blasting the reflected heat back to nature.

I recently watched the documentary film, “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City" and was struck by the story of urban redevelopment in America during the post-war era. In particular, the commitment to destroying historical housing stock to be replaced by high rise apartments which set the stage for activating Jacobs politically, and going head to head with Robert Moses, the power broker for this new ‘rationalization’ of New York City. Great film, by the way.

But one takeaway from that film that this “100 mile mirror project” reminded me about was a little scene where they attempted to fish out the evolution of the ideas of rehousing established streets to rows of high-density apartment blocks. The new post-war planners (including Moses) were heavily influenced by French architectural ‘visionary’ Le Corbusier. In the film, they showed how much influence Corbusier’s famous Contemporary City concept drawings-- that showed mid-rise urban centre with enormous towers on the outskirts–had on these new, powerful urban planners. The film also claims that the Americans overlooked (or didn’t bother translating) the accompanying text description of Corbusier’s ‘utopic vision’ in which he describe the towers as office buildings and NOT residences, which would be the smaller, low-density buildings surrounded by parklands below.

And it was this clumsy oversight that determined the march into ‘rationality’ for city redesign that ultimately resulted in huge, costly, destructive changes to the targetted NYC neighbourhoods that for the most part, were a huge failure in design.

Humans love rationality. Until it doesn’t work. And maybe that’s what drives so many rich and powerful minds into truly believing they can organize things so much better at the expense of ‘conquering’ (however temporarily) the forces of nature.

Maybe that’s just the natural expression of testosterone? In which case, we need to find other ways.

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That is exactly what your current house does now. The question boils down to whether or not it is more beneficial for the nonhuman part of the natural world to be spread out all over the place in suburbs or for it to be crammed together in a nouveau-hipster megacity. The people have to go somewhere. I’m not sure what the best answer is but I am sure that what we are doing now isn’t working.

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No. Mine is not a glazed McMansion with reflective film on the windows.
We have a very green garden, aiming to make a little corner of habitat for urban edge nature to thrive.

Cape Town has issues around urban densification and the need for housing. Amazon headquarters in the Liesbeeck River floodplain (with known flooding risks) …

All houses are built with priority given to the comfort of the resident over the impact on the rest of the world. It doesn’t matter whether it is a tent or a megacity. All building materials absorb or reflect heat.

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