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Hyperloop

Hyperloop’s Real Promise

The pitch for the Hyperloop, the supposed envisioned rail gun that should fire cabins full of people from one place to another at up to 760 mph, for the most part it’s centered around quick transit between major cities. For example, Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30, New York to Washington in 29, Dallas to Fort Worth in only six minutes. The calculations of the developer were that not living in the city was no longer a thing. It’s Silicon Valley’s continual obsession with urban-centric business models (for example, scooters, delivery startups and the fetishization of the smart city).

However, it’s not entirely true. The suburbs are popular these days. According to the statistics of Brookings Institution, the growth of U.S. city rates have fallen by half, meanwhile, those of outer suburban counties have quadrupled in 2012. Millennials, now that they have children, are now moving to suburban areas and not because the urban areas have started being more expensive. Multiple studies have shown that people over 40 actually prefer neighborhoods of lower-density and fenced-in yards.

But, of course, there’s a price to pay while living in the suburbs. The wealthiest regions in the country often subject their locals to the longest commutes. In the San Francisco Bay Area, more than 100 thousand people are seen as ‘’supercommuters’’ which means it takes them more than half an hour each way to go to work. Having no housings, including America’s rather old railways and commuter rail lines, being shot out of a train canon doesn’t really sound like that bad of an idea.

While Musk is getting ready to show off some equipment on Tuesday in a test tunnel which his Boring Co. has made beneath Los Angeles County, there’s been quite a lot of gossip about his plan to ease traffic in L.A. Although, if the project truly is successful, its effect will be felt from much farther away. Developments in transit technology have tended to drive people away from each other rather than get them closer. If hyperloops prove to be more than expensive pipe dream, just like self-driving cars, they could urge the latest growth of suburban migration. However, the Boring Company refused to comment on this story.

Bain & Co. analysts, who are basically amazed by the possibility of new transit technologies, go as far as to say that now is the time to discuss what ‘’post-urban’’ U.S. economy will look like. Louise Braverman, New York architect, indeed, made an art exhibit, calling it “Hyperloop Suburb” which was on display in Venice, Italy, in 2018. “In architecture-land, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, you’re living in the suburbs? That’s horrible!’ ” Braverman says. But the clients kept asking her about the suburbs, so she mocked up an environmentalist vision of dense communities filled with parkland and cultural centers, with self-driving cars spackling in the gaps, making it look like The Jetsons set on a farm.

Even though a lot of money has been raised by a handful of startups, Musk’s concept of hyperloop still sounds fanciful like its first pitch more than half-decade ago. However, it can’t be said there’s no real progress. Apart from California’s test tunnel, the Boring Company is halfway through a federal environmental assessment, planning to build a transit system that connects downtown of Chicago and O’Hare Airport, calling it “the Loop system”

Short-distance travels don’t require the full 760-mph treatment. This Chicago project will top out at 150 mph. But Musk has said that it could eventually lead to a larger transit network. Virgin Hyperloop One project with 100 miles from Mumbai to the Indian city of Pune has no stops along the way but the company says they could easily be added.

The authors of the book Infinite Suburbia predict that by 2030, 500 thousand square miles, which is a land mass the size of Peru, the suburbs will be all around the world, as all types of people migrate together to urban peripheries. Silicon Valley may want to connect the major cities, but a lot of people just want a lawn.

The Muskette
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