Black Rock Ministry of Urban Planning,

My intense apologies for this late entry. You see, I was running a crowdfunding campaign and the entire cycle lasted an entire year (much longer than anticipated). In any case, it wasn't until this concluded that I had time to focus on this project. I hope that it is not too late for you to add it to your pool of possibilities.

I came up with this design over 10 years ago, when it was becoming clear that the distances to walk from one part of the city to another on foot were becoming untenable. In addition, the city was beginning to lose a cohesive feel. Neighbors were no longer talking to each other, thefts were becoming more common shielded as they were by anonymity, and the sheer numbers of people were making the city start to feel less like a village and more like, well, a city.

Borrowing from nature, I thought that maybe breaking the big city up into villages (fractal-style) would restore a sense of intimacy that is now lacking in the big city of Black Rock. The villages would become more walkable in scale, with art cars and bikes serving as transport between one village and the next. Playa art would now increasingly shift to the massive open area now serving all 3 communities, with the man still at the center. The temple could be placed out towards the northerly direction of the physical black rock itself, or there could now be 3 temples, one for each village, placed halfway between the Man and the village. Each village would have their own plaza and symbolic tower or reference point at the center. Each village would have their own coffeehouse and center circle. The village coffeehouse would be at most a 15min walk from anywhere in that village, thusly restoring a sense of accessibility on foot that is currently absent in BRC's current design. Keyholes and secondary plazas could still dot the landscape of each village as desired, along with DPW depots and other infrastructure as needed.

Note that the front streets would be 40' wide, but that the back streets could be 20' wide, designed more for walking and less for driving large vehicles. While I've designed the block depth to match existing block depth in black rock city, remote blocks could also be reduced in depth if desired. One entry road could split into three, OR 3 separate entries would lead to 3 different villages. 3 mile, 8 mile and Jungo road to Trego entry for the vehicles that can clear that railroad crossing? This would not permanently assign a camper to a specific village (they could still drive to the next village along a specified corridor), but instead since many campers are already intending to camp with a placed theme camp, would generally help to reduce congestion at arrival and departure.

More walk-in camping area could be created by shifting the 3 villages in towards the center point (Man location) if so desired, or by increasing the overall circumference of the event area, which at the moment is designed to match the outer dimensions of the 2015 pentagon that enclosed Black Rock City in 2015. Alternately, walk in camping could just be positioned at the 2 back sides of each village semi-circle. Art installations created by the less forward amongst us can be discreetly positioned similarly between or behind the villages rather than in front and center. The design permits room to expand easily by adding back roads to the 3 villages in order to accomodate growing populations.

The City could be renamed, "Black Rock Community" or "Black Rock County" or "Collective" or simply, the Black Rock Cities. Streets of each village could be named by committed village occupants. The names of the villages could be changed yearly to reflect the overarching theme. I've named them Alpha, Pi, and Omega Village for the purposes of conceptualization. Villages could also be called "towns" instead, calling up images of the Wild West with names like "Dinkytown," "Whiskeytown," "Jankytown" and such.

The new layout would increase the potential capacity of the event without necessarily expanding the footprint in any significant fashion. Using the Black Rock City 2015 map from your website and attached scale, I calculated 52.7 million square feet for the 2015 Black Rock City which welcomed a population of approximately 70,000 people. Under this new fractal design, the same area could include 80.4 million square feet of defined camping area, which could welcome nearly 107,000 people at the same density levels of 2015. This would be increased by adding radial roads to the rear of each city. At the village sizes as mapped out in the scanned drawing, the 3 villages could accomodate a total of 70,000 people at 2015 density levels, however, back streets become more desirable than they are at present, owing to the fact that the smaller roadways discourage large vehicle traffic, and the distance from the rear corner of one village to the next is equivalent to what people currently traverse just to get across the main plaza of The City.

So, by using the fractal nature of our world as a guide, one is able to both make the occupied areas more walkable and intimate, yet at the same time increase the capacity of the defined total area. The circles are opened towards each other, welcoming an odd number of villages arranged around the central Man which could grow in village numbers to 5 and then 7 over time without losing the essential intimacy and walkability of each village. The avoidance of even numbers of villages defies the confrontational nature of polarities and encourages a sort of creative spin or evolutionary momentum (though 6 might also work with staggered distances from centerpoint). In a sense, the new trifoil design could symbolize the 'blossoming' of the Black Rock City experiment, mirroring the rapid multiplying of regional events around the globe.

The villages are still unified by a shared architecture and arrangement around the center point of the Man and the massive open area which is shared collectively between them. People would still travel to other villages and would still roam the inviting space between. The view gaps in 3 directions would serve to reconnect attendees with a sense of place, that is, of being physically located in the unique and magical Black Rock Desert, with a more omni and less directional focus.

I hope that this City Plan serves to inspire!


(née 'Widow'--every beginning starts with an ending)