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"We're about 20 minutes away from the point where Clarke's law kicks in and technology becomes indistinguishable from magic."
- Peter Watts

Todos Santos Independency  
  A city enclosed in a single building.  

Oath of Fealty is a modern-day book, set in near-future Los Angeles. Or actually, just outside it in the Todos Santos Independency, a self-contained city in a single building. The notion of an arcology (and the word) are not inventions of the authors, but the novel is a realization of what it would be like to live in that sort of space.

The building was a thousand feet in height rising starkly from a square base two miles on a side. It rested among green parklands and orange groves and low concrete structures so that it stood in total isolation, a glittering block of whites and flashing windows dotted with colors. The sheer bulk dwarfed everything in view.


How many residents are accommodated here?

Design Goal: 275,000
Now Resident: 247,453
Resident in Outbuildings: 976

"Roughly a quarter of a million, then," Sir George said.

Bonner nodded. "In four square miles of building, or about ten square miles of buildings and grounds. That's about the highest population density ever achieved on Earth anywhere. Remember the studies a few years ago that proved that if you pack a lot of people into a small area they'd all go insane? Doesn't seem to have happened."

From Oath of Fealty, by Jerry Pournelle (w/L. Niven).
Published by Timescape in 1981
Additional resources -

The book title refers to the social structure that evolved within the Independency. Do the people who live in a building like a medieval walled city start to act medieval? Read the novel and judge for yourself.

The idea of an arcology was first suggested by Paolo Soleri, who created the Arcosanti project. He wrote:

"The problem I am confronting is the present design of cities only a few stories high, stretching outward in unwieldy sprawl for miles. As a result of their sprawl, they literally transform the earth, turn farms into parking lots and waste enormous amounts of time and energy transporting people, goods and services over their expanses. My solution is urban implosion rather than explosion."
I included it on the site because Niven and Pournelle were the first (I think) of the science fiction authors to really examine the concept, and to try to visualize what it would be like to live in one. Others have since used it - like Gibson with nanotech buildings and Dan Simmons with his Hive arcologies.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Oath of Fealty
  More Ideas and Technology by Jerry Pournelle (w/L. Niven)
  Tech news articles related to Oath of Fealty
  Tech news articles related to works by Jerry Pournelle (w/L. Niven)

Todos Santos Independency-related news articles:
  - MegaLondoner Arcology Fantasized
  - Sky City's 220 Stories Are Go

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