A visual celebration of Le Corbusier’s five Unite’ d’Habitation

Source: all posters.co.uk

Five European cities have the distinct honor of being home to a magnificent Brutalist style, utopian ideal, multiple-family housing complex designed by renown architect, Le Corbusier. These Unite’ d’Habitation are breathtaking in their form and functionality.

Each building has slight variations in style and design, but all remain in remarkable condition some 50-66 years after they respective completion. Some include retail shops or a post office, as well as a nursery school or kindergarten on the upper floors.

Recreation space is provided on the surrounding green spaced site and in some cases on the rooftop – Marseille’s rooftop even has a small wading pool.

  • Marseille (1952) = 337 units
  • Nantes-Reze’ (1955) = 294 units
  • Berlin (1957) = 530 units
  • Briey-en-Foret (1961) = 391 units
  • Firminy-Vert (1967) = 414 units

Enjoy the utilitarian and visual beauty of these mid-century marvels of European architecture. All have been declared protected historic structures/monuments.

Marseille, France (1952) – Source: foundationlecorbusier.fr

Wading pool area atop Marseille Unite’ – Source: atlasobscura.com

Nantes-Reze, France (1955) – Source: https://dome.mit.edu

Briey-en-Foret, France (1961) – Source: http://corbusierhaus-berlin.org/en/unite/

Firminy-Vert,France (1967) – Source: pinterest.com

Artwork etched into concrete in Firminy-Vert – Source: corbusierhaus-berlin.org


Posted in architecture, art, Cities, culture, Europe, geography, historic preservation, history, Housing, humanity, land use, minimalism, placemaking, planning, skylines, spatial design, urban planning | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Brutalist architecture buildings seen/visited

Closes Memorial Hall (1963) – Source: aroundindy.wordpress.com

Brutalist Architecture often evokes strong reactions, both positive and negative, from the general public. While there are certainly some “less than stirring” examples, there are also quite lovely and inspiring ones too. One of my favorites is Clowes Memorial Hall on the campus of Butler University (see photo above).

Sadly, it’s their sometimes controversial appearance that can make these structures more susceptible to demolition, well before their usefulness has ended. While many mistakenly believe the name “brutalist” comes from their imposing, often stark fortress-like appearance, in reality it pertains to the exposed raw concrete, a.k.a. “beton brut” as noted by renown architect Le Corbusier.

Several websites including sosbrutalism.org and the Brutalist Buildings page on Facebook are attempting to rectify this situation by showing these buildings/structures a little love and showcasing the need for protection of outstanding examples of this modernist subcategory.

Below, is my running list of Brutalist buildings and structures that I recall seeing and/or visiting over the years. As I have the chance to see/visit others, this last will be updated. Enjoy!

Seen (S) – means drive past or seen from the roadway – usually from a distance
Visited (V) – entered, walked, or spent time on the property (inside or out)

The date provided is the date of completion, except in the case of the Metro Stations in DC, as those were variable dates depending on the station.

  • AT&T (former Michigan Bell) Exchange Building (1969) in Okemos, MI (V)
  • BT Tower (former Post Office Tower) (1964) in London, UK (S)
  • Cassell Coliseum (1964) at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA (V)
  • City Hall (1969) in Boston, MA (V)
  • City Hall (1965) in Toronto, ON, Canada (V)
  • Clowes Memorial Hall (1963) on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis, IN (V)
  • CN Tower (1976) in Toronto, ON, Canada (V)
  • College Park Pyramids (1972) in Indianapolis, IN (S) – nearly across the street from my high school.
  • Compass Bank branch (former Union Bank) (1972) in Tucson, AZ (V) – added 2/19/18
  • Core Professional Center (1972) in Traverse City, MI (V)
  • Corson Auditorium (1975) at Inter inlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, MI (V)
  • Disney Contemporary Resort (1971) near Orlando, FL (V)
  • Empire State Plaza (1976) in Albany, NY (S) – my favorite Brutalist skyscrapers (see below)

Empire State Plaza (1976) – Source: gettyimages.com

  • Engineering Center (1965) at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO (V)
  • FBI Headquarters (1964) in Washington, DC (S)
  • Federal Reserve Bank (1977) in Boston, MA (S)
  • Governmental Center (1979) in Traverse City, MI (V)
  • Government Service Center (1971) in Boston, MA (V)
  • Graduate Hotel (former Campus Inn ) (1970) in Ann Arbor, MI (S)
  • Hannah Administration Building on the MSU Campus in East Lansing, MI (V)
  • Hilton Hotel (former Blue Cross/Blue Shield Building) (1971) in Indianapolis, IN (S)
  • Huron Towers (1960) in Ann Arbor, MI (V) – see photo below

Huron Towers (1960) -Source: hurontowers.com

  • Indiana University Assembly Hall (1971) in Bloomington, IN (S)
  • Indiana University Stadium (1960) in Bloomington, IN (V)
  • John J. Barton Apartments (1968) in Indianapolis, IN (S)
  • Litchfield Towers (1963) in Pittsburgh, PA (S)
  • Main Library – University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ (V) – added 2/18/18
  • Manitoba Theatre Center (1972) in Winnipeg, MB (V)
  • Marina City Towers (1964) in Chicago, IL (S)
  • McNamara Federal Building (1976) in Detroit, MI (S)
  • Meinen Building (1970) on University of Arizona Campus in Tucson, AZ (V) – added 2/18/18
  • Metro Stations (1970s) in and around Washington, DC (V)
  • Michigan State Government Complex in Lansing, MI (S) – see photo below

Michigan State Government Complex in Lansing – photo by A. Klepetka

  • Minton-Capeheart Federal Building (1975) in Indianapolis, IN (V)
  • Montgomery County Circuit Court in Christiansburg, VA (S)
  • Munson Medical Center (Main Entrance/Area B) in Traverse City, MI (V)
  • Munson Medical Center (Area C) in Traverse City, MI (V)
  • National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO (S) – added 2/12/18
  • Ohio Historical Center (1966) in Columbus, OH (S)
  • Renaissance Center (1977) in Detroit, MI (V)
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (1968) in Rochester, NY (V)
  • School of Information Buildings(1963) in Ann Arbor, MI (V)
  • Sinclair Community College (various dates) in Dayton, OH (S)
  • Thirlby Field (1934/1995) in Traverse City, MI (V)
  • Tower of History (1968) in Sault Ste. Marie, MI (S) – see photo below

Tower of History (1968) – Source: saulthistoricsites.com

  • Tucson Cherrybell Post Office (1972) in Tucson, AZ (V) – added 2/20/18
  • Tucson Music Hall (1971) in Tucson, AZ (V) – added 2/17/18
  • Tucson Police Department Headquarters (1974) in Tucson, AZ (V) – added 2/18/18
  • Valley Family Church (former Cathedral Church of Christ the King) (1977) in Portage, MI (S)
  • 2929 Plymouth Office Building (1969) in Ann Arbor, MI (V)

Sources and background:


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Samples of Brutalist Architecture in Michigan

Huron Towers (1960) in Ann Arbor

Close-up of the East Tower at Huron Towers

Governmental Center (1979) in Traverse City

2929 Plymouth Office Building (1969) – Ann Arbor – designed by Alden Dow

Walkway between the Huron Towers

AT&T Exchange Building (former Michigan Bell) in Okemos

School of Information Building (1963) on U of M North Campus in Ann Arbor

The Graduate Hotel (1970) – former Campus Inn in Ann Arbor

Bell tower on campus of Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City

Exterior walkway at Governmental Center in Traverse City

New (1979) and old (1900), side-by-side in Traverse City

Posted in architecture, art, civics, Communications, futurism, geography, government, historic preservation, history, land use, planning, skylines, spatial design, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Airports with 360 degree orbital beltways

Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport- Source: mapbox and flightaviationmedia.com

As a follow-up to my last post, I thought it would be interesting to list off the airports around the globe that are ringed by limited access expressways. Such a design has several benefits – the expressway can serve as a clear demarcation between the airport and other uses and the expressway can serve is a bit of a noise buffer.

On the less positive side, expanding an airport hemmed in by expressways can be more expensive as tunnels or heavy-duty bridges are necessary. A quick trip around the southern end of Atlanta’s airport on I-285 demonstrates this issue.

Toronto-Pearson International Airport – Source: Tele-Atlas and destination360.com

In some cases the beltway around the airport largely defines the airport boundaries, as in the case of Chicago, O’Hare, while in others, some elbow room is left for future expansion and/or development. In the end, it was my job to discern what constituted an orbital beltway around an airport and what did not. Obviously, limited access was one factor, but distance away from the existing airport was another – too far away is hardly an airport beltway.

So, here’s my list…which over time will likely grow as other highways are built or airports expand or are replaced. Any additions, corrections, or thoughts are most welcome.

  • Abu Dhabi-International Airport: E11, E12, E29, and Airport Parkway
  • Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport: I-75, I-85, and I-285
  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport: I-97, I-295, I-695, and MD-100
  • Beijing-Capital International Airport: S32, G45, and Sixth Ring Road
  • Chicago-O’Hare International Airport: I-90, I-294, and I-490 (under construction)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport: Tx-114, TX-121, Tx-183, Loop 360, and Loop 161
  • Dubai-Al Maktoum International Airport: E75, E77, E311, and E611
  • Greensboro-Piedmont Triad International Airport: I-40, I-840, and Airport Parkway
  • Jeddah-King Abdulaziz International Airport: 5, 271, and 320
  • Kansas City International Airport: I-29, I-435, and MO-152
  • Lisbon-Portela International Airport: E1, A36, and IP7
  • Madrid-Barajas International Airport: M-12, M-13, M-14, M-50,and R-2
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport: I-494, MN-5, MN-62, and MN-77
  • Newark-Liberty International Airport: I-78, I-95, US 1, and NJ-81
  • Orlando International Airport: FL-417, FL-528, and The Florida Turnpike
  • Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport: I-10, AZ-51, AZ-143, and Loop-202
  • Seville-International Airport: A-4, A-92, and SE-40
  • St. Louis-Lambert International Airport: I-70, I-170, and I-270
  • Toronto-Pearson International Airport: 401, 407, 410, and 427
  • Valencia-International Airport: A-3, AP-7, and V-30
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360 Degree Orbital Beltway Cities

M-60 Motorway around Manchester – Source: tameside.gov.uk

The following list identifies those cities around the globe that are circled by a full orbital expressway system (a.k.a. beltway, ring road, perimeter highway, loop, beltline etc.) encircling the city 360 degrees. Inland cities have an advantage for being included over coastal ones because the coastline makes it difficult, if not impossible, to encircle the city with an expressway.

While in a number of cases a singularly numbered or named roadway completes the orbital trip around the city, in many cases identified below, it takes several different roads to complete the task. To be included, the orbital must be limited access and not pass through or close to the central business district. Also provided is the length of each orbital expressway, if it is known.

As always, any additional information, corrections, or revisions are most welcome to make this post as current as possible.

Existing/Soon to be completed full Orbitals

  • Abilene, TX: I-20, US 89/277, and Loop 322
  • Ahmadabad, India: Sardar Patel Ring Road = 47 miles

Ahmedabad Ring Road – Source: en.wikipedia.org

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands: A10 (Ring Amsterdam) = 20 miles
  • Ann Arbor, MI: I-94, US 23, and M14* = 24 miles
  • Ankara, Turkey: Otoyol 20 = 68 miles
  • Antwerp, Belgium: R1 (Ring Antwerpen)
  • Appleton, WI: I-41 and WI441 = 22 miles
  • Athens, GA: Loop 10 (Athens Perimeter Highway) = 19 miles
  • Atlanta, GA: I-485 (Perimeter Highway) = 64 miles
  • Augusta, GA: I-20 and I-520 (Bobby Jones Expressway) = 34 miles
  • Baltimore, MD: I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) = 51 miles
  • Bangalore, India: Outer Ring Road = 37 miles
  • Bangkok, Thailand: T9 (Kanchana Phisek Road – Outer Ring Road)
  • Beijing, China (5):
    1. Third Ring Road
    2. Fourth Ring Road = 40.6 miles
    3. CH550 (Fifth Ring Road) = 61 miles
    4. G4501 (Sixth Ring Road) = 140 miles
    5. G95 (Seventh Ring Road) = 584 miles
  • Berlin, Germany: A10 (Berliner Ring) = 122 miles

Berliner ring – Source: en.wikipedia.org

  • Bilbao, Spain: Autopista M-8, A-8, and N-637
  • Birmingham, England, UK: M5, M6, M40, and M42 (Box Orbital)
  • Bordeaux, France: A630/N230 (Rocade de Bordeaux)
  • Breda, Netherlands: A16, A27, and A59
  • Budapest, Hungary: M0 Motorway = 67 miles when completed
  • Burgos, Spain: Autopista 30 (Circumvalacion Burgos)
  • Cairo, Egypt: Ring Road = 45 miles
  • Calgary, AB, Canada: Alberta 201 (Stoney Trail/Ring Road) = 62 miles when completed in 2021
  • Campinas, Brazil: SP065, SP083, and SP348 (Rodoanel Dom Pedro)
  • Changchun, China: G1 and G0-102 (Changchunraocheng Expressway)
  • Changsha, China: G0401 (Changsharaocheng Expressway)
  • Charlotte, NC: I-485 = 67.6 miles
  • Charleroi, Belgium: R33
  • Chengdu, China (3):
    1. Third Ring Road
    2. G4201 (Chengduraocheng Expressway)
    3. G4202 (Chengdu #2 Raocheng Expressway)
  • Chifeng, China: G16 and G45
  • Chongqing, China (3):
    1. G50, G65, and G75
    2. G5001 (Chongqingraocheng Expressway)
    3. Third under development
  • Cincinnati, OH: I-275 (Circle Freeway) = 87 miles
  • Cologne, Germany: A1, A3, and A4 = 31 miles
  • Columbia, SC: I-20, I-26, and I-77 = 37 miles
  • Columbus, OH: I-270 (Outerloop or Jack Nicklaus Freeway)= 55 miles
  • Cordoba, Argentina: A019 (Ave. de Circunvalacion) = 33 miles when completed
  • Dallas, TX: I-20, I-635 (LBJ Freeway), I-35E, and Loop 12/408 = 63 miles or alternatively I-20, I-635, and TX161 = 68 miles
  • Datong, China: G55 and G5501 (Datongraocheng Expressway)
  • Denver, CO: I-25, I-70, I-76, I-225, I-270, and E470 = 58 miles
  • Des Moines, IA: I-35/80, US 65, and IA5 = 48 miles
  • Dongguan: Huancheng Road
  • Dortmund, Germany: E34, E37, and E41
  • Dusseldorf, Germany: E31, E35, A44, and A46
  • Eau Claire, WI: I-94, US 53, and WI29 = 43 miles
  • Edmonton, AB, Canada: Loop 216 (Henday Drive) = 48 miles

Alberta 216/Hendry Drive in Edmonton: Source: en.wikipedia.org

  • Fayetteville, NC: I-95 and I-295 (under construction) = 52 miles
  • Fort Wayne, IN: I-69 and I-469 = 50 miles
  • Fort Worth, TX: I-20 and I-820 = 48 miles
  • Foshan, China: S82 (Ring Line)
  • Frankfurt, Germany: A3, A5, and A661
  • Fuzhou, China: S1531 (Fuzhouraocheng Expressway) and Third Ring Expressway
  • Green Bay, WI: I-41, I-43, and WI172 = 24 miles
  • Greensboro, NC: I-840 (under construction), I-73, and I-85 (Urban Loop) = 44 miles when completed

Greensboro Urban Loop – Source: en.wikipedia.org

  • Guadalajara, Mexico: Anillo Perifirico, M90D, and M23
  • Guangzhou, China: G1501 (Second Ring Expressway)
  • Guilin, China: G72, G65, and G2201 (Guilinraocheng Expressway)
  • Guiyang, China: G6001 (Guiyangraocheng Expressway)
  • Hamilton, ON, Canada: 403, QEW, Lincoln Parkway, and Red Hill Valley Parkway
  • Hampton Roads, VA: I-64 and I-664 (Hampton Roads Beltway) = 56 miles
  • Handan, China: G22 (Handanraocheng Expressway)
  • Hangzhou, China: G2501 (Hangzhouraocheng Expressway)
  • Harbin, China: G1001 (Harbinraocheng Expressway)
  • Harrisburg, PA: I-76 (PA Turnpike), I-81, I-83, I-283 (Capital Beltway), and US 15 = 38 miles
  • Hohhot, China: G7 and G0601 (Hohhotraocheng Expressway)
  • Houston, TX (2):
    1. I-610 (Inner Loop) = 38 miles
    2. Beltway 8 (Sam Houston Tollway/Freeway) = 88 miles
    3. TX 99 (Grand Parkway) = 184 miles when completed

I-610 and TX-8 (Sam Houston Tollway) – Source: en.wikipedia.org

  • Huizhou, China: G25, S20, and S21
  • Hyderabad, India: Nehru Outer Ring Road = 98 miles
  • Indianapolis, IN: I-465 = 53 miles
  • Jacksonville, FL: I-295 = 61 miles
  • Jilin, China: G1201 (Jilinraocheng Expressway) and G12
  • Jinan, China: G2001 (Jinanraocheng Expressway)
  • Johannesburg, South Africa: N1, N3, and N12 (Bypass) = 50 miles
  • Kansas City, MO: I-435 = 83 miles
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: MRR2, KESAS, E1 and E6
  • Kunshan, China: Middle Ring Expressway
  • Lahore, Pakistan: Lahore Ring Road = 53 miles
  • Lakeland, FL: I-4 and FL570 = 38 miles
  • Lansing, MI: I-69, I-96, and US 127= 32 miles
  • Laval, QC, Canada: AR-13, AR-40, and AR-640
  • Lawrence, MA: I-495, I-93, and MA213 = 17 miles
  • Lehigh Valley, PA (Allentown-Bethlehem): I-78, US 22, and PA 33 = 36 miles
  • Leipzig, Germany: E49, E51, and A38
  • Lille, France: A25, A22, N227, and D652
  • Lisbon, Portugal: E1, IP7, A33, and A12
  • Little Rock, AR: I-30, I-40, I-430, and I-440 = 45 miles
  • Liuzhou, China: G72, G78, and S31
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia: A1, A2, and H3 (Ring Road) = 18 miles
  • London, England, UK: M25 (London Orbital Motorway) = 122 miles
  • Los Angeles, CA: I-5, I-210, I-405 (San Diego Freeway), and I-605 = 118 miles
  • Louisville, KY: I-64, I-71, I-264 Patterson Expressway), and I-265 (Snyder Freeway) = 63 miles
  • Lubbock, TX: Loop 289 = 26 miles
  • Macon, France: A6, A40, A406
  • Madrid, Spain (3):
    1. Autopsista M-30 (Circunvalacion) = 20 miles
    2. Autopista M-40 (Distributor) = 39.3 miles
    3. Autopsista M-2, Autopsista M-40, and Autopsist M-50 = 53 miles

M-30 and M-40 around Madrid – Source: en.wikipedia.org

  • Mainz, Germany: A60, A643, and A671
  • Manchester, England, UK: M60 (Ring Motorway) = 36 miles
  • Mannheim, Germany: A6 and A61
  • Mesa, Arizona: Loop 101 and Loop 202 = 48 miles
  • Milan, Italy: A50, A51, and A52
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN: I-494 and I-694 = 73.8 miles
  • Minsk, Belarus (2):
    1. Minsk Beltway = 35 miles
    2. M1 and M14
  • Montreal, QC, Canada: AR-20, AR-30, and AR-40
  • Moscow, Russia: Fourth Ring Road (MKAD) = 68 miles
  • Nagoya, Japan: 302 (Nagoya Beltway)
  • Nanchang, China: G6001 (Nanchangraocheng Expressway) and G60
  • Nanjing, China: G2501 (Nanjingraocheng Expressway)
  • Nanning, China: G5101 (Outer Ring Expressway), G80, and G7201 (Nanningraocheng Expressway)
  • Nanyang, China: G8311 (Nanyanberaocheng Expressway), G55 , and S83
  • Nashville, TN: I-24, I-40, I-440, and TN155 (Briley Parkway) = 32 miles
  • Newark, NJ: I-78, I-95, Garden State Parkway, and NJ3
  • New York City, NY-NJ: I-287, I-678, NY/NJ440, and Belt Parkway = 176 miles
  • Ningbo, China: G1501 (Ningboraocheng Expressway)
  • Oldenburg, Germany: A28, A29, and A293
  • Orlando, FL: I-4, FL-417 (Central Florida Greeneway), and FL-429 = 91 miles
  • Paris, France (2):
    1. Boulevard Peripherique = 22 miles
    2. A86 (Super Peripherique) = 49.8 miles
  • Philadephia, PA-NJ: I-95, I-276 (PA Turnpike), I-295, I-476, and US 322 = 120 miles
  • Phoenix, AZ: I-10, Loop 101 and Loop 202 = 92 miles
  • Pittsburgh, PA: I-70, I-76 (PA Turnpike), and I-79= 125 miles
  • Porto, Portugal: A1, A20, and A44 (Via Cintura Interna – CRIP) = 39 miles
  • Quad Cities, IL-IA: I-74, I-80, and I-280 = 54 miles
  • Quanzhou, China: G1502 (Quanzhouhuancheng Expressway) and G15
  • Raleigh, NC (2):
    1. I-40 and I-440 (Beltline) = 24 miles
    2. I-540/NC540 (Triangle Expressway) = 70.8 miles when completed
  • Rennes, France: N136 (Rocade) = 18.5 miles
  • Richmond, VA: I-64, I-295, I-895, and VA288 = 63 miles
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: SA-500 (Ring Road)
  • Rome, Italy: A90 (Circonvallazione) = 42.4 miles
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands: E19, E25, A4, and A15
  • San Antonio, TX (2):
  • I-410 (Loop 410/Connally Loop) = 49 miles
  • Loop 1604 = 94.4 miles when completed
  • Santiago, Chile: A70 (Américo Vespucio Expressway) = 40.1 miles when completed
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil: SP021 (Rodoanel Mario Covas) = 110 miles when completed

SP-021 around Sao Paulo – Source: en.wikipedia.org

  • Saskatoon, SK, Canada: Circle Drive = 17 miles
  • Sendai, Japan: Sendai Road and Tohoku Exxpressway
  • Seoul, South Korea: SK100 (Seouloegwaksunhwan Expressway) = 79.3 miles
  • Seville, Spain: Autovia SE-40 = 48.2 miles when completed
  • Shanghai, China (4):
    1. Inner Ring Road
    2. Middle Ring Road
    3. S-20 (Outer Ring Expressway)
    4. G1501/S-20 (Shanghairaochen Expressway)
  • Shenyang, China: G1501 (Shenyangraocheng Expressway)
  • Sioux Falls, SD: I-29, I-90, and I-229 = 23 miles
  • Songyuan, China: G45 and G1202 (Songyuanraocheng Expressway)
  • Springfield, MO: I-44, US 60, US 65, and MO360 = 36 miles
  • St. Louis, MO: I-270 and I-255 = 81.4 miles
  • St. Petersburg, Russia: A118 = 88 miles

A-118 around St. Petersburg – Source: en.wikipedia.org

  • Texarkana, AR/TX: I-30, I-49, and I-369 (The Loop) = 21.4 miles
  • Tokyo, Japan: C2 (Central Circular) and B (Bayshore) = 40 miles
  • Toulouse, France: A61, A62, and A620 (Perpherique) = 21.7 miles
  • Trenton, NJ: I-95 and I-295
  • Tyler, TX: TX-49 and I-20: approx. 60 miles when completed
  • Valladolid, Spain: Autopista 62 and Autovia VA-30 (Ronda Exterior)
  • Washington, DC: I-95 and I-495 (Capital Beltway) = 64 miles

Washington’s Capital Beltway – Source: en.wikipedia.org

  • Wenzhou, China: G10, G-15, and G1513
  • Wichita, KS: I-35, I-135, I-235, and KS96 = 39 miles
  • Winchester, VA: I-81 and VA37 = 15 miles
  • Winnipeg, MB, Canada: Perimeter Highway = 56 miles
  • Wuhan, China (2):
    1. Third Ring Line = 57 miles
    2. G50 and G70
  • Xi’an, China: G3001, (Xianraocheng Expressway)
  • Xingtai, China: G2516 and G-4
  • Xuzchou, China: G2513, G-3, and G-30
  • Yinchuan, China: G0601 (Yincuanraocheng Expressway) and G6
  • Zaragoza, Spain: Autovia Z-40 = 21.1 miles
  • Zhengzhou, China: G3001(Zhengzhouraocheng Expressway), G630, and G4

* Though surrounded by freeways, one cannot take westbound I-94 to eastbound M-14 and vice versa.

Planned full Orbitals – longer term to completion

  • Birmingham, AL: I-459, I-59, and future I-422 = 94.3 miles when completed by 2054
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX: Loop 9
  • Denver, CO: E470 Beltway
  • Lincoln, NE: I-80, US 77 and Lincoln Beltway = 43 miles
  • Prague, Czech Republic: D0 Motorway = 48 or 56 miles depending on route chosen
  • Sofia, Bulgaria: 18 (Ring Road) = 40 miles when completed
  • Tokyo, Japan: C3 (Tokyo Gaikan Expressway)
  • Warsaw, Poland: S2, S7, s8, and S17 (Express Ring Road)
  • Winston-Salem, NC: I-40, and I-274 = 45 miles when completed


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Favorite dystopian literature and films – update #2

Dystopian literature is my favorite genre of fiction and dystopian films are one of my top choices in cinema. Below, I have listed my favorite classic (25 years or older) and modern (less 25 years old) dystopian stories. They are followed by my favorite dystopian films. As time goes by, I will update and refresh these lists to represent my rankings at the time and add yet unseen or unread tales to the list.

These books, short stories, and films portray the darker aspects of humanity, whether it be misogyny, racism, fascism, nationalism, theocracy, oligarchy, ethnic cleansing, despair, totalitarianism, nuclear apocalypse, mind control, technological Armageddon, environmental degradation, ravages of war, alien invasion, and a myriad of other dreadful and desperate futures. Far too often one can read and see vivid examples from today represented in these works of art. A primary reason I am fascinated by the genre is the uncanny ability of these authors to highlight our human weaknesses and show us the frightful path our actions could lead us down if left unchecked.
Any suggested additions to my list are welcome, as I always enjoy a well written or produced dystopian story whether it is depicted in print, digitally, or on the big screen.

Favorite classic dystopian books read to date

  1. The Stone Raft (1986) by Jose Saramago
  2. On the Beach (1957) by Nevil Shute
  3. Fahrenheit 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood
  5. We (1921) by Yevgeny Zamyatin
  6. Frost and Fire (1946) a short story by Ray Bradbury
  7. Player Piano (1952) by Kurt Vonnegut – added on 11/2/17
  8. It Cant Happen Here (1935) by Sinclair Lewis
  9. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968) by Philp K. Dick – added on 10/27/17
  10. The Pedestrian (1951) a short story by Ray Bradbury
  11. The Minority Report (1956) – a short story by Philip K. Dick
  12. The City and the Stars (1956) by Sir Arthur Clarke – added on 12/22/17
  13. Harrison Bergeron (1961) – a short story by Kurt Vonnegut
  14. The Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London
  15. The New Utopia (1891) a short story by Jerome K. Jerome
  16. 1984 (1949) by George Orwell
  17. 2BR02B (1962) – a short story by Kurt Vonnegut
  18. Brave New World (1931) by Aldous Huxley
  19. Examination Day (1958) a short story by Henry Sleaser – added 10/18/17
  20. Repent Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman (1965) – a short story by Harlan Ellison
  21. Billennium (1962) a short story by J. G. Ballard
  22. The Lottery (1948) a short story by Shirley Jackson
  23. The Trial (1914) by Franz Kafka

Favorite modern dystopian literature

  1. Sea of Rust (2017) by C. Robert Cargill – added 11/5/17
  2. The Power (2017) by Naomi Alderman – added 1/11/18
  3. The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline – added 12/8/17
  4. The Perfect Match (2012) a short story by Ken Liu
  5. Just Do It (2006) a short story by Heather Lindsey
  6. Is This Your Day to Join the Revolution (2009) a short story by Genevieve Valentine
  7. Resistance (2008) a short story by Tobias S. Buckell
  8. Red Card (2013) a short story by S.L. Gilbow
  9. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas (1997) a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin
  10. Civilization (2007) a short story by Vylar Kaftan

Favorite dystopian movies seen to date

  1. Oblivion
  2. Blade Runner 2049
  3. Wall-E
  4. Interstellar
  5. Arrival
  6. Terminator 2, Judgment Day
  7. Mad Max: Fury Road
  8. War of the World’s (1953)
  9. Pleasantville
  10. The Day The Earth Stood Still
  11. The Minority Report
  12. The Lorax
  13. 12 Monkeys
  14. The Terminal
  15. Soylent Green
  16. Upside Down
  17. The Postman
  18. Metropolis – added 10/16/17
  19. Mad Max
  20. The Matrix
  21. Her
  22. The Day After
  23. Planet of the Apes
  24. Hunger Games, Catching Fire – added 11/5/17
  25. Independence Day
  26. The Hunger Games – added 11/17/17
  27. Downsizing – added 1/5/18
  28. 9 1/13/18
  29. Blade Runner – added 12/30/17
  30. On the Beach (1959) – added 10/15/17
  31. V is for Vendetta
  32. The Running Man
  33. Batman
  34. 1984
  35. Terminator
  36. Logan’s Run added 10/26/17
  37. Lord of the Flies
  38. Rise of Planet of the Apes
  39. Back to the Future II
  40. Westworld
  41. Cloud Atlas
  42. Divergent
  43. i Robot
  44. The Lego Movie
  45. Escape from NY
  46. Total Recall
  47. War of the Worlds (2005)
  48. The Day after Tomorrow
  49. World War Z
  50. Waterworld
  51. Ender’s Game
  52. Looper
  53. Americathon (the opening scene)
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Driving and striving to survive a broken ‘Merica

I will never, ever look at a recreational vehicle, van, motor home, or campground the same way again. Not since reading Jessica Bruder’s engrossing, informative, and heartbreaking new book entitled Nomadland. I have long imagined, envied, and eagerly anticipated my chance at plodding the highways and byways of North America in a recreational vehicle with no schedule, no deadlines, and no cares. But, her book has pulled the wool from my eyes to reveal what is truly happening to a significant segment of the population in our society.

Sure there are retired wanderers crisscrossing the nation, but in more recent years they have been joined along the byways by a growing nomadic tribe of less fortunate folks who are simply trying to eek out a living by “workamping” and “vandwelling” from place to place throughout the year. These economic migrants, often due to no fault of their own, see residing on the road as their last vestige of maintaining control and personal pride amidst an increasingly dystopian economic situation that rewards only the rich, the dishonest, and the damn lucky. To many of them, the so-called American dream is but a cruel hoax perpetrated on us all.

Nor will I ever feel the same excitement when a package (including this book) arrives from Amazon. For many of these same folks are working long, tiresome, backbreaking temporary labor in massive warehouses to assure our compulsive consumerism thrives for yet another quarterly report to shareholders.

In America, many millions are but one paycheck, one illness, one job loss, one missed payment, or one divorce away from becoming an unfortunate and potentially morbid statistic. While some are driven into homelessness, others, such as those documented in Ms. Bruder’s amazing book, turn to their motor vehicles for hope and economic salvation. Instead of becoming “homeless,” they chose to become “houseless,” by living in their car, van, RV, motor home, or similar vehicle.

I was impressed how the subjects of this book were able to maintain their sense humor through the despair. Aside from being a coping mechanism, it also led to some funny and ‘punny’ nicknames for the van dwellings described in Nomadland. Nicknames like “The Squeeze Inn,” “Van Go,” “Vanna White,” and “Van Halen” made me chuckle while riding the book.

Steibeck’s The Grapes of Wrath documented the hardships of the Depression-era through his eloquent fiction describing the Joad family legacy from Oklahoma to California. Today, Ms. Bruder has skillfully articulated the 21st Century financial distress and suffering facing a group of fellow citizens who live on the razor’s edge of basic survival.

Some may brag and boast about our nation like it’s a modern-day Utopia, when honest-to-goodness reality is that the United States has largely turned its back on the needy, including these unfortunate folks. The thing is, they don’t want our pity. All they want are the so-called opportunities that are constantly being preached at us via the propaganda machine in DC, the media, and elsewhere.

Perhaps Green Day summarizes the suffering best in their song, Boulevard of Broken Dreams

There are so many amazing stories and quotes in Nomadland that it would be impossible to list them here, but a few snippets are important to give you a mental image of the book.

“The last free places in America is a parking lot.” Page xiv

“This is a whole band of housing refugees.” Quote from vandweller Bob Apperley on Page 56

“This place is freaking crazy [Addicted to Deals]. It is like a college dorm room and an abandoned Kmart had a forbidden lovechild, painted it Pepto-Bismol pink, and gave it a phrase for a name.” Page 120

[Quartzsite, Arizona] “one of America’s most bizarre and seriously demented places.” Page 125

“I’ve encountered nothing in 15,000 miles of travel that disgusted and appalled me so much as this American addiction to make-believe.” Quote from author James Rorty on Page 164.

“For many nomads I met, missing teeth were the badge of poverty of which they were most ashamed. It’s sad but not surprising that teeth have become a status symbol in a country where more than one in three citizens lack dental coverage.” Page 174

“Is this the evolution of the former middle class? Are we seeing the emergence of a modern hunter-gatherer class?” Quote from vandweller Kat Valentino on Page 176

“The sharing economy — the step-on-the-back-of-the-little-people economy’s arrived.” Quote by vandweller Peter Fox on Page 217.

“After all, millions of Americans are wrestling with the impossibility of a traditional middle-class existence. In homes across the country, kitchen tables are strewn with unpaid bills…These indignities underscore a larger question. when do impossible choices start to tear people — a society — apart?” Pages 246-247

Better yet, I strongly and whole-heartedly recommend reading Nomadland. It is a watershed literary effort that will certainly stand the test of time and serve as a testament of whether Americans opened their eyes to reality or preferred to let the American dream remain nothing more than an empty platitude. Remember folks, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”


Here are some resources on workamping and vandwelling from the internet:

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