1. Japan - a country which pushes modern technology
2. Australia - a country with large resources of materials and a safe geopolitical regime close to Japan, and more broadly Asia.
The intersection of these ideas is:
1. Raw material providers like Archer Exploration (AXE.ASX) - which holds a large tract of graphite flake which can be converted into carbon nanotubes - the envisages building blocks for these structures.
2. Technological developers in academia and research fields
3. Financial sponsors like Mitsubishi Materials who possess advanced skills in material processing.
4. Project developers such as architects, engineering corporations and ultimately property developers looking for new low-cost solutions.
The contemporary problem is the high cost of land in central Tokyo, the restrictions on development, and the need for new low-cost building materials to keep costs down, and to allow massive new structures. Its about capturing or optimising the benefits that are to be derived from material science. Every advance in the past ultimately made use of new materials. Ultimately it is a large project such as this which is destined to underwrite the large-scale development of carbon nano-tubes.
These developers take time. Projects need to be proven up, technologies need a commercial process to separate and refine materials, and they ultimately need to be fabricated cheaply into useful components. It starts with relationships which will take years to develop. You might ask - does Japan need more office/residential space? Or is this just a pipe dream? Japan is experiencing zero population growth, however there is a fair rate of population increase resulting from people moving to the largest cities. They do however tend to move to the outer city because they can't afford to live in the inner city. Are we thus going to see wealthy people leaving existing housing to live and work in a 'modern city'? Well, this might well be the case, and as technologies do, it might even drive down the cost of housing in central Tokyo.
Anyway, the City in a Pyramid is an engineering concept which I dare say will have its day in time. The developers Shimizu are in the right place at the right time. Might the Abe-led government going to sponsor such development? We will see; however this is not a problem or solution that tends to impact other nations; at least not at this point. What is more, one has to question whether its a false economy for a lot of cities. Consider that the high cost of most city property arises from restrictions on development, i.e. Auckland has very high property costs because of restrictions on fringe development. This is common for most cities. Japanese cities, like Paris (France) are restricted in terms of building heights, with the added issue of small land lots, making assemblage of a 'building plot' hard in a culture which does not like to sell land. Perhaps these technologies are destined to be motivated by other concerns. The steel age might not be over just yet.
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