The Clockwork City

The Clockwork City is an urban structure concept whereby entire districts move, thus negating the need for transport systems. Need to get to work? Wait 10 minutes until your work place moves into walking distance:

We really like the animation and communication of the concept by T0R0YD.  Modelling was carried out in 3D Max with rendering via Mental Ray.

Author Bio

Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.


  1. Anonymous - July 14, 2011

    Holy cow, what would the energy and maintenance requirements be for something like this?

  2. Anonymous - July 15, 2011

    The future is friendly bro

  3. Anonymous - July 15, 2011

    Only pedestrians, no cars? Good luck restocking supermarkets, delivering construction material, putting out fires, or calling an ambulance.

    Why would anyone pursue this idea? It is clear from the start that it is a total failure. So much time spent on something unusable.

  4. James Webster - July 17, 2011

    Judging by the shadow on the surrounding plain from the first overview shots… it appears that there would be some space underneath, therefore the possibility of ‘loading docks’ and service tunnels that can be used for delivery of heavy goods.

    Anyway, in a future where something like this is possible, I assume we have found a cheap source of energy, and probably invented exoskeleton suits that enable people to lift heavy construction materials.

    I love it! Looks like something out of a Final Fantasy game (or should have a FF or an anime series set within a context like this!)

  5. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    What did you smoke¿?

  6. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    Agree with last comment… it’s completely absurd. Too much free time.

  7. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    good luck powering this

  8. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    Lol… maybe you have heard of it, it is called NOISE.

    What about Energy Consumption?

    I’m sorry to say that this is the most stupid idea I have ever seen for a City Project.

    Since when “to be on time for work” is the most important thing in the world? Maybe it’s important in some sense, but a city should be designed for PEOPLE not workers so: No noises and no floor movement. Parks, big streets, bicycles and preferably no shops, no advertisements… just people.

  9. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    That reminds me the game Indiana Jones Fate of Atlantis 🙂

  10. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    ACtually you could have transport systems without having to relly on cars. Right now I´m living in Tokyo, and most people conmute to work on train, and most cars you see on the streets are long distance or heavy delivery, and it´s simply great. By doing this you take out lots of noise and polution, so I can see the benefits of having a “walking only” city.

    Question is ¿how much energy would be needed to run a system like that? I guess that too much, and actually we can get results quite close to this with a decent public transport system.
    Anyway it might be a good idea for a space station, as you could also use the movement to create gravity.
    Actually there´s a game that features that same idea, it´s called Anachronox.

    Anyway I loved the animation and the idea. Thanks for sharing it with everyone

  11. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    A possible modification to make it usable would be making rings underground beetween every part of the city and a system of elevators to go up to the surface. Thereby you can use cars, but only if it’s necessary.

  12. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    All that things you say can be done under the circles where ther is no problem for cars to ride.

  13. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    Want to get lost?

    Come to Clockwork City!

  14. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    It’s really interesting. I like the concept but has some flaws. Good 3D recreation.

  15. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    ¿energy needed to move buildings? ohpsss!!!!

  16. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    wouldn’t it be a lot more logical to have the city static but a lot of circular platforms constantly moving between the rings??

  17. Mario M. - July 17, 2011

    Anonymous 3 don’t be destructive 🙂 Think maybe in a radial subway system + elevators for delivers and an “only emergency” streets for ambulances and firemens.

    Read youtube comments of this video, they are very interesting.

  18. Anonymous - July 17, 2011

    very interesting concept 🙂

  19. Anonymous - July 18, 2011

    This is a very bad idea….

  20. Anonymous - July 18, 2011

    You can develope transport for emergencies and services

  21. Jon - July 18, 2011

    I’m not sure that I’ve got the maths right here, but leaving aside energy consumption, there’s a more basic problem:

    1. Assume it takes 15 minutes for each cycle of the residential ring (I’m basing this on the 10 minutes until your building is nearby bit)

    2. Assume that the outer edge of the residential ring is 2km from the central axis.

    3. Then I think you’re looking at 0.007 radians per second (2*Pi/900)

    4. And the circumference of the residential zone is 12,600m (Pi * 4km)

    5. Then aren’t you travelling at 14mps (i.e. 50kph), of which some significant component will be tangential?

    That will make stepping on and off the platform quite interesting, at the same time as you’ll find just about everything sliding towards the outer edge of whatever surface it on…

  22. Anonymous - July 18, 2011


  23. Anonymous - July 18, 2011

    It’s better the cristal tubes in Futurama, and more fun! Also, I think it would require less energy.

  24. Chris Kok - July 18, 2011

    I think we can file this one with flying cars and airports on top of sky scrapers. Good to know that people are still hard at work providing entertainment for future generations.

  25. Anonymous - July 23, 2011


  26. Anonymous - August 6, 2011

    What about the weight of the building structures, how much force and energy will be required to move the entire district? Maybe it is feasible on the moon where there will less gravity, so the whole structure can maybe float a bit and pushed a bit to go in circles. I have never experienced making love while the whole room with the bed is moving. I hope that will be fun for a while.

  27. Anonymous - August 17, 2011

    This is something come from an anxious mind, out of reality. Beyond the energy comsuption and mechanics maintenance where are the trees, the gardens, the streets and reference places where people get used to it? In this system everything moves all the time. Forget it. It does not contribute to the individual happiness.

  28. Anonymous - November 11, 2011

    if you build it like boats floating on water
    you can grow fish in between which eats some of the waste produced
    and it wouldnt be so costly rotating them
    might be possible

  29. Anonymous - December 13, 2011

    The Dizzy City

  30. Anonymous - February 18, 2012

    how about just a rotating sidewalk in between sections?

  31. Yoon Meng - February 28, 2012

    Although not fully resolved, this concept can be a quantum leap in urban sustainability. Not only does it maximise space utility by eliminating roads for cars, it also replaces thousands of engines with several running parts to service the basic function of mobility. I think we can easily dismiss criticism about the sense of place if we recognise that this is a city based on ritual and time (the essentials of place making). The main technical challenge here is to reduce friction and control the city’s buoyancy, a simplified problem.

    Just an opinion from an architecture graduate. Don’t agree with most pessimistic critiques. I think this idea if pulled through is a very practical one!

  32. Anonymous - June 11, 2012

    Well you have to agree that this is not very good idea for future city. Way too much different kind of problems and inconveniences. But still I liked the idea a lot! Very interesting approach and it gives me visions of my own.
    Do not shoot it down just because its too unrealistic and spent a little time to admire the nice modelling and idea.

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