Our Southwestern Dystopian Future?

I confess that my literary life list does not include Dune, Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic. But perhaps it should.

For a show at the University of Toronto, architect Andrew Kudless has drawn on Herbert to design a dystopian future urban world in which we southwesterners dig down, building underground to preserve our water:

Sietch Nevada is an urban prototype that makes the storage, use, and collection of water essential to the form and performance of urban life. Inverting the stereotypical Southwest urban patterns of dispersed programs open to the sky, the Sietch is a dense, underground community. A network of storage canals is covered with undulating residential and commercial structures. These canals connect the city with vast aquifers deep underground and provide transportation as well as agricultural irrigation.

Or perhaps a bunker to hunker down in when we finally have to fight the water wars? Can we grow lettuce on the roof? Long term, is this what Cadiz is really heading for?

(h/t io9)


  1. I finally got around to reading Dune (vol. 1) a couple of months ago. Suffered from thirst the entire time. But now I grasp the usefulness of giant sand worms.

  2. For a thick novel it’s a pretty quick read, and you can pretty much skip the sequels. Definitely amusing to look at it as an adult and realize there’s a lot more political and historical and literary allusion and reference in there than I’d noticed the first time I read it.

  3. Dune sucked, IMO. Of course I read it when I was about 14 and I was forced to for class.

    Tank Girl is about water! Sort of. Also there are kangaroo people?

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