In order to make a realistic city of 240,000 people, I wanted to go back to the very beginnings of the city, all the way back to its first founding. In my mythology, 250 years before the podcast takes place, we find an ambitious but somewhat artificial plan to start the first for real human city on Mars. It can comfortably house about 10,000 people and will represent the pinnacle of human achievement. As for the year this happens relative to today? I’m not really sure… maybe 2060? 2070?
I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about actual Civil Engineering, but here’s my first stab at an initial city layout. The areas scribbled off are further away from the settlement than would fit on the image. One thing that I wanted to capture here was relative scale as far as quantity of a particular type of construction. One thing to note, though, even though Agriculture is, by far the largest area… I’m pretty sure that this colony will still have to import food from Earth. I’ll do a bit more research and figure out just what the square footage of farmland is required per person. Also, In case you’re wondering, Education is lumped into “Administrative” in this diagram. I should call that out as a separate thing later… There’s little doubt in my mind that I’ll end up changing how this looks as I do more research… still, it’s a lot of fun to kind of play SimCity on Mars.
The construction of the buildings in question will all be primarily brick, as Robert Zubrin suggests in A Case for Mars. A big thing to consider though is air pressure… The atmospheric pressure on mars is about 0.087 psi… here on earth, we’re used to having 14.69 psi. That’s a pretty serious amount of force due to pressure being applied on the walls from the inside…The buildings here will have two layers to help reduce the strain on the walls due to the pressure difference between inside and outside.
You can see in this diagram, there will be a thicker outer wall which will be the primary barrier to the outside… a gap (enough for someone to comfortably walk) and then a thinner inner wall. Inside will be completely pressurized and heated. The intermediate gap won’t be heated and will be only partially pressurized.
The reason why I’m bringing up this point… is well, It affects the architecture… and architecture affects culture… and culture is exactly what I’m trying to capture here.