Heong Kheng Boon & Michelle Wijaya
Welcome to the future, the techno-utopia of dreams now captured
Pixel Dreams exists in a hyperconnected world, one where 5G networks have been widely and globally deployed, where functioning society depends on the billions of connected devices.
We know that the amount of data contained in this world is exponentially increasing, however, we do not put much thought into what this world would look like, what the data will be used for and what it can do.
One thing that hyperconnectivity might bring is increased resilience through connectivity infrastructures. The speculated Southeast Asian Data Centre Corridor could create transnational unity and collaboration in the region for the digital society.
A major node in southeast Asian connectivity is in Singapore, which comes in top for data centre development, which she utilises for her shift into the digitisation of her economy and governance.
Pixel Dreams is founded by a hacker group called known as the ProtoC0llective, who aims to utilise methods of participatory governance for the purpose of theorising, developing and deployment of inclusive infrastructures in our hyperconnected world.
They work upon the observation that the unrealised democratic potential of hyperconnectivity has led to Governmental processes and decision-making structures leading most citizens to feel uninvolved and insecure about policy aims. Therefore, their manifesto lies within demand in radical transparency in the governmental process and to use Blockchain as a sociotechnical model for participatory public governance.
Pixel Dreams is a settlement off the shore of Singapore, under a contractual agreement with the government that it shall exist as an experimental offshore zone of exemption where its main function is to educate and to attract global institutes of learning as a think tank that both creates a marketplace of ideas with personalised data storage and an exporter of technical skills highly relevant to Singapore’s goal of a smart nation.
However, that is not the end goal for Pixel Dreams, it aims to foster a new method of community management with flexibility and transparency. As the first phase of development completes, that established portion will directly serve the interest of the Singapore government, whereas smaller sub-communities of transnational origins will grow from that settlement, unified by a shared, explicit code of conduct within their blockchain servers. Eventually, these newly developed means of governance hope to be able to influence more communities in the corridor to attempt their own means of transparent governance.
The centre of it all lies, the data centres that which ties.
The connectivity of digital systems will mean that the integration of physical and digital systems requires a new vocabulary in this new world.
The new nomenclature is developed that will define the components of the city, under the assumption that every resident will have access to their own personal off-grid data storage systems of which willing reconnection to the grid allows the personal direct trade of such information.
This will progress as artificial intelligence enters the ecosystem
Considering the external factors that affect the form of the settlement parcel, the external topology catalogue is generated from applying forces upon a circular parcel.
Simultaneously, the site is delineated into a series of grids where Discreet Limited Aggregation of pixels are applied into the region in order to generate the skeletal mesh of settlement.
Based upon initial calculations of the minimal surface area needed for the phases, cellular automata that aggregates based on the existence of 4 to 6 neighbours will create the blueprint for growth, in which termination rules come from the total surface area existing after each loop. Of that catalogue the one that best fits our site condition was chosen.
Within the settlement, there is a main data spine that will serve as the physical connectivity infrastructure within it. Therefore, a set of paths were chosen along its axes, leading to a selection of internal points of interest in 70m intervals that will serve as major connectivity nodes in the settlement.
Regions delineated by these nodes allow us to visualise vertical density development using 3-dimensional rules to Cellular Automata.
The data centre upholds the infrastructure, that is the smart nation of the future
Using the Cellular automata aggregation as a basis, cluster typologies were extracted and assigned prototypical purposes.
Each Module is created by piecing together squares of the size 15 by 15 metres. Each square is then further divided into a grid of 3.75 metres, which is the basis used to create the spaces and the spaceframes of each module.
The common space largely serves as a spine to the city where prototypes plug in and out. However, these spaces must be activated in order to accommodate life upon it. Reducing the grid even further, the texture is created per tile in a 0.25m resolution, generating an artificial landscape with the potentiality to host a set of purposeful structures and activities.
Using the cluster base, the commons can generate a set of typological functions reminiscent of coastal piers and parks
Within each typological function, structures intended to activate activities can be generated, categorised into the class of sports, recreation, education and leisure.
Vaults and Processors share similar functions, however, due to the criticality of the vault data, they are strategically placed in more private areas. With a central core for lab space to be placed as such, inhabitants can use the external corridor space for circulation, communing, breaks and have a scenic walk to other parts of the settlement.
Housing blocks are arranged to efficiently have as many units as possible in a single space without compromising on circulation space within the area. For shells, that also means including space for data centre blocks that will serve the people living within the area. There are 3 different types of housing, each of different densities that govern the height of the module. The densest building is placed nearest to the commons area, while the least dense is placed furthest from the commons.
In a similar fashion to Shells, Kernels are also arranged to efficiently maximise the spaces for inhabitation and circulation, with 3 different variations to density. As Kernels will have spaces to generate renewable energy, the central core of the building is sheltered by solar panels, where the number of panels are based on the number of people residing in the module.
The marketplace consists of learning spaces, data centres and ports. The integration of such diverse spaces is the extension of having the territory as a knowledge hub where knowledge is easily shared within the area and internationally.
Repositories are created to provide for the essential need of food production. Spaces for aquaculture, as well as kitchens and eateries, are arranged side by side. 3 different types of repositories are created, with the amount of space allocated to food production and eateries ae varied. Modules with a bigger area for eateries are arranged closest to the commons, while modules with a bigger area for food production are furthest away.
Welcome to our Future we hope you enjoy your stay here
Based on the conditions of the site, the growth of these clusters is predicted to grow as such, aligning themselves to traffic densities in the shipping routes and the direction of waves.
A hyperconnected world will be predominantly defined by the social and political effects it engenders, much more so than by its underlying technologies. Without addressing the problems that arise from our datascape, we risk the annihilation of cultures and embodied individual experiences as corporations blend society into the flood of data.