A Way To Live

Solving a problem
Many years ago I started thinking what could be done about the problem of global warming and thinking about "Green Issues". When I looked into it there was one thing that struck me above all else we could actually do something about. And that was our energy consumption. If we could cut down on none essential fossil fuel use it would go some way to ease the strain on the planet. Of course since then a lot of things have happened which has made lots of Governments around the world take notice of green issues. Nevertheless fuel consumption is not going down, despite green taxes. The main problem being that many green solutions to the problem put forward are painful to enact on the public. Often they involve giving up some kind of lifestyle. Thus many governments and green activists have suggested alternative ways of keeping the lifestyles most of us enjoy, by using energy which doesn't come from the burning of oil or gas. And all though some energy is now developed in these ways it seems that most is just meeting the increased demand for energy in a cheaper way. Yet even these forms of energy have created their own green issues. The wind farm especially has now opponents to its use.
In the end we are not reducing the need for energy, because we haven't changed the need for it. But how do we do that and keep the lights on?
Most green people seem to have the idea we can live in some kind of 'green' house go to work in a electric car or live in some kind sustainable society a bit like the Good family in the popular TV show of the 70's. In reality only a few could live like that. The vast majority of us live in housing stock that is old, badly designed and falling to bits in some cases. It would be hard to convert to a green property and probably use more energy to do so.
How do we do it then? Well the answer that I came up years ago doesn't involve a radical change to our lifestyle. In fact it's simple! We walk.

A Vision of Shops
Walking! I can hear you laughing now!! In essence we have already found a way that we can do precisely that and in a way that most enjoy. Admittedly we have to get to the place that many enjoy this walking, but nobody objects to doing it. And it's walking that is 99% safe. More than that it's comfortable walking which doesn't require special shoes and you don't need outdoor clothing. For it's in a climate that is perfectly controlled. There's no bad paving, no rubbish on the ground not even dog pooh! Walking in this place is generally not stress full, well not in the way that crossing a road can be! You can even stop to rest on a comfortable seat. There are public toilets open all the time, which are generally clean to a high level. You can even stop to get food and drink.
Where is this? Take a look:


 Yes it's the good old shopping mall or centre!
At the moment these places actual contribute to the energy demand because most of us drive to these places at fixed times, increasing congestion on the road network. However this need not be so. Of course they are not a solution to the problem of reducing the need for fuel, but they are where I came up with the idea that will.
First we must look at the real cause of the demand for fuel. And it's simple we move people about in one of these things:

The car! Growing in numbers every day and consuming petrol, which it then.... well you know how much we pay for it and what it does. Needless to say I'll look into that at a later date.
So how do we get people moved around to places if we don't use the car? Not the public transport argument I hear you saying? No of course not. The answer is we don't move people around at all, well not in the large numbers we do now!
I Need Space
People say they need space to live and breath, but it's the car that really needs it. It's hard to imagine how much space it does need. But if you take one of the most famous cities in the World Los Angeles, you might be surprise to learn that 70% of it is mealy for the car!
This picture really shows how much space a road in Los Angeles takes up! You can actually see in the bottom right hand corner a house which is the same size of the road to the left.
So if you get rid of the roads you could easily walk around Los Angeles as it would reduce down by a dramatic effect!
So back to the shopping mall, that has done away with the road and reduced most of the shops of a large city into a much smaller area. All those years ago I got to thinking instead of just the shops, what about people's homes in the shopping mall! However it's not as simple as just building a massive complex with shops included. For a start people have to travel to work, so unless you work in the shops inside it, you need to get out of the complex and that means travel. At the present shopping malls have large spaces outside them for the cars of customers. Of course the idea of the complex is to do away with the need for cars to travel, so building a car park outside is out of the question. What we need to do is look at the work related needs of our complex people. Firstly we can take out those people who relate to care of the people in the centre: education, training and medical. These sorts of things can be incorporated into the complex itself. This leaves the manufactured products and other industrial sector. Occupations such as finance, banking and personal services can be incorporated in the complex too. Making use of teleworking and home office. The industrial sector is more problematic.
Let's Work Together
In order to understand why the industrial side is a problem to the complex idea we need to look at the way it has developed.

Big plants such as this have been built in areas away from most housing, so many of the workers need to drive (as can be seen by the car park) to the site. More importantly goods and supplies to and from the plant have now been switched to motor transport. Indeed such plants are often built away from rail connections and no consideration is even given to the idea of moving goods by rail. 
In practise land is made available to any company which is offering to build a new factory and factors such as the creation of jobs being more important than transport. New roads however might be built to encourage a site to be used by industry as probably in this case:



















But in many cases the construction of a new road with good motorway connections has caused the unused land at the sides of it to encourage the growth of new industrial units. As the side of a major road is not a great place to build a houses due to the noise! No-one tends to object to these now road dependent factories etc. You can see this in this view of Sheffield Parkway.




















However a great deal of industry is in smaller buildings and some in older ones, located in small districts, especially in the UK. A lot don't have the need to move large bulky loads of the type moved by railways, so they just use small trucks or vans. Examples of these types of business can be seen here:




















In some places railway lines run at side of factories and industrial units and yet they have no link to them at all. In older factories the rail links are either derelict or removed. This is an unused resource for these companies that is either due to cost or a lack of will.... Plus the stopping effect of the motor transport obsession we have. The car, van and truck can do the job so why bother?
High Flying Train
However if we take out the motor transport factor, we can do something about all these issues.
So we can restore the rail links. Railways are much better and quicker at moving goods from place to place and are safer. If we can't get the railway to the factory, then we move the factory to the railway.
The next problem is the movement of workers to these industrial sites from where the live in the complex. This is much easier, since work is timed. So what I'm suggesting is that we have a transport system in each complex to take people from and too work and elsewhere which is fast and safe. 
The answer is the monorail.

















There are two types of monorail this one above is the type that runs on a track. They tend to be used though today for entertainment or theme parks, but they are fast and more important they can't knock anyone down! My main concern with the above type would be some silly fool trying to walk on the track. But this could be investigated in the ones that operate now.
The alternative is the "carriage" suspend under the track shown here:



















Monorails could link up the centres very easily and transport workers to industrial sites. But they can do more than just move people. There's no reason why they can't carry goods and supplies to and from each complex and industrial areas. 
The reason why I prefer the monorail to two rail forms of transport for traffic between centres is simple. They don't run on the ground. For any two rail system, such as the tram, can knock people down when in the same area as them. Railways however tend to avoid populated areas and when they do come into contact with them can at least be shielded from them. So they are better for long distance travel, doing away with the cars for long distance travel.
Of course your saying that moving people about in monorails still consumes power. However a monorail holding 200 people consumes less energy than 200 cars needed to transport people to work and they don't get stuck in traffic jams!

Food Glorious Food
Getting rid of cars and the need to travel, though it would reduce the energy costs considerable, is not the only solution to the problem. At the moment our food is packed and transported to us at great cost to us all. For one thing we have to deal with the packing and then having to fetch the food, plus then prepair it. This often requires energy to heat the food and make it it and to then clean up the plates and utensils after we have eaten it.  The advantage to us in doing this is that we have a choice of what to eat and when we eat. However there are far more disadvantages to this way of life, apart from the added costs already mentioned. Though some of us enjoy cooking many don't, plus many don't know how to cook properly. It's also a bit dangerous at times. With hot fat, chip pan fires and fluids that scold people, especially when young children are around. Many don't cook food properly so that people get ill, but the biggest problem is that the average kitchen would not pass a food inspection if it was treated the same way as a commercial enterprise! Actually that isn't the biggest problem at least in the Western part of the world. What we are eating is!! 
Most of us are well aware of the health issues around the eating of junk food, but it's really is very hard to move away from bad food. For one thing healthy food is often expensive or time consuming to prepair and when those who have little training in food preparation or even want to spend time cooking it, it's so easy to microwave some ready made meal, or order a pizza.
Those on a limited budget will also save money on their food bills, by buying cheap mass produced material. But even those not on a limited budget are not eating the right diet. As a result many of us are FAT and getting bigger everyday.
However a great deal of food goes to waste, be it on the side of our plate, or trying to store it in our homes. How many loaves of bread did you chuck away last year? Yet that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wasted food. The supermarket chucks loads of food away, due to it not looking good - to sell to the customers. We are a very picky lot when it comes to product damage. Added to that the stuff with limited shelf life, or damaged in transit, even by customers and staff of the outlet.
And who pays for the waste? You do when you buy the food, perhaps as much as 10% of the purchase price.
In order for all this to happen food production is intensive and consumes fuel and large areas of land. Many argue destroying the enviorment and countryside that many city dwellers try to escape to from time to time.
The operation of giving us our daily bread no longer involves small fields being tilled by the plough. As you can see it means large fields with machinery that costs a fortune to make and is not cheap to run. Crops are grown that are not natural in origin, being man made and looking at that field you wont see any wildlife to keep the nasty bugs from eating the crop. So it's down to a chemical war which posions the water supply and damages the land. These fields are also well drained and so when it rains it flows off quickly into the rivers and causes flash flooding downstream.  Not only that these areas are never used by people for recreation purposes and not very nice to look at either.
Meat production is no better and seeing animals kept like this puts people off from eating meat.










































Many of us are so applaud with the way our food is produced that with have taken to more direct action such as below

Indeed so much so that when the UK Government wanted to have GM Foods the public were so angry they contacted the local supermarket and without waiting for the government to act, the supermarkets removed any GM Foods from the shelf. However the supermarket is still a big problem to the farmer, even those that want to do it the right way. And they take more of the purchase price than what a local farmer will get.
The other side of it is that this diet is killing us and making us ill. Since our bodies were not designed to eat in the quantities we do of the things which should be treats, but are now so common, such as sugar and salt etc. Plus large amounts of fat.

Bye Bye Kitchen!
So how does putting people in a centre solve this issue? The answer is you get rid of the kitchen in people's homes. The main reason to get rid of the kitchen is the appliances in it, such as fridges etc, which even though many are are using less power, still consume it. The other factor was safety. Many UK homes cook with gas. But gas is very prone to leaking and blowing things up. In a centre a very dangerous thing. So there would be no gas in the centre. In fact gas could be used outside the centre to heat hot water or produce energy for it. In a safe way.
Getting rid of the kitchen does solve some of the issues, but our residents still need to eat. Plus they need comfort and don't want to eat when someone says they should.
The solution to this is what I've called a "Food Court". These would be scattered throughout the centre in large numbers. What are they? Places to eat for you. I reckon these places would be more like your home than some form of restaurant. You wouldn't have to cue to get in, though Christmas might see them full! Nor would you be bothered about the other people eating around you. So how would it work. Well they would be a mixture of self-service and food preparation going on. All food would be cooked there. Where you eat it would depend on you. If needs be you could take it home, but I think most people will eat there in the end. Since all food is prepared at each food court the supermarket would be a thing of the past. Instead makers and suppliers would deal with the food court operators. How these are organised would be up to the centre people. Since food is prepared in bulk than it would be dispatched in bulk without the need for packing individual products. And since paying for things to be consumed in the Food Court would be pointless and waste time and resources. So food would be FREE! Actually you would pay for the running of the Food Court in the amounts you pay for living in the centre. But Food Courts would be on a budget. So what most of us eat now would be on the menu. If you wanted Lobster, you might still have to go to a proper restaurant for these more expensive meals! And Pay!!
Each Food Court would however monitor what you are eating. And there would be trained people to advise you on a diet. Even though Food Courts are on a budget the verity of meals that an average person has now would not alter. So you won't be on Pizza everyday! Each Food Court would cater for those in the area they are. They could also reflect the diet of those people. So special meals for religious groups etc, could easily be accommodated. Lastly if you like to cook, never fear you would be allowed to help out in the Food Court, even if you didn't want to work there!
Apart from solving problems of farming, the side effect is that people have a proper diet and are fed. Plus they would interact more with there neighbours than they do. It would be a less lonely world for many of us.

Life In A Complex
In our centre so far we have shops, people's homes and Food Courts. They would also need a training and education facilities. At the present these are done at schools, colleges and universities. Due to the scattering of the population now over a wide area these have been duplicated and thus cost a great deal to run. With all the people living much closer to each other in our complex, all of these can be combined into one structure, within the complex. 
There would also be the need for kind of specific building in the complex to deal with the issues around housing. Including dealing with problems and repairs, plus who lives where. It would also deal with the payments of your home. Once you have selected where you want to live in the Complex it would be your home. Thus you can't be removed unless it became absolutely essential you vacated the property. But of course you might want to change as with the ups and down of your finical life or the size your family needs. However NO-ONE would be homeless!
Other Requirements
 I also think something like a Library and Information building would be needed. This would provide a great deal of support to those working from the homes inside the Complex and other issues in the Complex. Another would be a History Centre, which would deal with all sorts of historical records and incorporates any museum materials that would need to be displayed.
A Research Building would be needed to, incorporating things done in universities. But also things done by government departments like testing. 
Also incorporated into the Complex would be a Regulation and Control Unit. This would house trade an industry bodies, the control of prices and Incomes, plus the health and safety people.
The working of the Complex would also need a specific building. This would deal with power, heat, water and lights, repairs, plus any work needed to be done outside the Complex.
Probably connected with the above, another Unit, dealing with waste material.
I also see the need for a building that deals withe the needs of the very young, offering day care etc.
Down with Westminster
As each Complex would have a decent population and largely be self-contained, it would be stupid to have the Complex controlled by an outside body such as that lot in Westminster! So there would also be what I have called the Area Democracy Unit in each Complex, where the local population of the Complex decide what is best for them. I can't really say how this would work or how each Complex would work with one another, as it would be up to the public to decide how best to do it. 
Leisure Industries
That sort of deals with the stuff that is needed for the operation of the Complex that is not connected with profit making. However more is needed, but these can be charged for to individuals. For example Sport Provision, which incorporates all things of a physical nature.
Movie, Music and Theatre centre, which incorporates the performance arts. Leisure Centre, a sort of general entertainment theme. Clubs, Drinks, Restaurants etc.
Most of these things will be around already in most cities, but instead of people travelling to them they would be rebuilt inside the Complex. And of course you will pay for all these things with cash or cards!
A Healthy Way To Live
The best while last. At the present you probably don't live close to a hospital, your doctor isn't around 24/7 and other medical care is often not available or you have to wait. But the Complex does away with all that. Since the Complex will have it's own Medical Centre. Incorporating it's own fully equipped hospital.  Since all the doctors and nurses and other medical people (such as dentists) that were scattered over a large area in many districts, would be all in the same building in the Complex, waiting times and appointments would be a thing of the past. You could walk into the Medical Centre with a pain, be dealt with, see a doctor, the doctor could have tests done and you could be treated, back at home or at work within a much shorter time than at the present. For accidents / emergencies inside the Complex, needing transport to the Medical Centre, a small electric powered transport could be sent out. With the Complex having special lights and security cameras to clear the area to allow fast transport of the patient to the Centre.
Outside the Complex medical transport could be done by air ambulances, landing on the roof of the Medical building. Or by Monorail.
The cost of the Medical Centre would be much reduced as the resources currently scattered around would be in one place. But since road and traffic accidents would be a thing of the past cost would be reduced down anyway. 

How Big is a Complex
Not as big as you would think. I envisaged them as 3 stories high at the most for living areas. Then much higher for functional buildings, but no higher than 10. Again this would depend on the architectural design of the structure. They however wouldn't start with living or other structures (used by the people) on ground level. Instead there would be raised up leaving a large area for service and pipes etc to flow around the Complex and for the workers to operate without disrupting the lives of the people in the Complex. 
To give you an idea of many might be needed. I worked out that 3 Complexes would easily absorb all the population of Sheffield, England, plus leave homes still available for future growth. And you could walk from one end to another in under 25 minutes at normal walking speed.
You might be thinking that I wouldn't be wanting to hang around all those strangers. However they don't have to be people you don't know. For the people around you would most likely be all your relations. Or your friends. That would be the idea to get people into the Complex, but there would be a rule that if you worked in the complex (don't mean homeworking) you would have to live there. So all the doctors in the Complex would live there etc.

Centre Life
Even if one of these Complexes was built now, people who go to live there would need special training in how to function there. For one thing new laws would have to be introduced and these would have to come about from those living in the Complex. Most of them would be adopted or changed from those laws that govern us now, plus they would need to fit in with those not yet living in complexes as these spread around the countries that adopt the idea.
But the main thing though each "family" lives in a separate house in the complex a lot of things in the centre require social interaction. The big issue would be food, since you need to go to a food court to have any proper meal. However I don't envisage people being told how to use a knife and fork to function in the food court. Nothing as silly as that! In most cases it would be an assessment to how well you interact with others having their meals and how good your social and interpersonal skills are at dealing with other members of the public. For example you wouldn't be able to say to somebody "you're in my spot".  In most cases the skills you will need to function in the centre will come about in the course of time. And of course future generations will need little training to understand the complex having grown up inside one.
However for many such a centre will be a godsend. They won't be living on their own, isolated scared and fearful of the street outside. The elderly and children (who currently live in care homes) will have people to talk too and look after them and social units will form as people mix and bond with one another whether they are related or not.
Lack of work
At the moment a great deal of emphasis is placed on paid work, while other forms of work don't have the importance attached to them. In a complex while it's clear that paid workers would be the norm, many others would be needed where it wouldn't be possible to pay them in the same way. The way I think this could be overcome is to have a "Guaranteed Basic Income" for everyone. The level of this would be set by the complex people. It would meet the cost of a person needed to function and live in the complex at a "Basic" level. It would apply to every resident person in the Complex, regardless of what they did. It would be paid to you direct. It would have different levels up to age of say 16.  So everyone would have something to live on. If you got a job the employer would pay you a bonus, so you would still get your GBI. In fact employers would have to pay the complex a fee for employing a person from the complex. This fee going to cost of the GBI.   

Next time I will say more about the day to day running of the Complex.

OK more about this soon and why we should do it. Plus more hidden benefits of doing it.....

I am currently constructing a partial model in 4mm scale of one of the centres. I will be shortly uploading pictures of it under construction and it will help you understand the features better.
 
Model Monorail
I decided to make the monorail a suspended system with the carriage hanging down. My first idea was to use a model train or a diesel multiple unit (DMU) trailer made by Triang & Hornby. I would have gone for a better looking or a foreign design then the old model that I selected, but model railway trains are very expensive and costs did not allow it. Besides that I needed to do some drastic cutting of the model to turn it into a monorail. Anyway it was purchased and the first thing to do was remove both the roof and the under-carriage or the wheels. I had the idea of running the monorail on steel rails - railway track with the middle section remove. The two bogies of the DMU would actually form the units drive wheels, only instead of running on the rails, they would still run on the rails, but upside down! A piece of plastic tube was used to attach to the new flat top roof of the DMU. Actually the roof had a more plastic bits added, to give it a technical look. There was also some copper coils to indicate the it was electric powered. The bottom of the unit had a new base made out of half black plastic film cans. Covered in insulation tape and painted black. One end of the DMU was fine. But the other had a corridor connection, which needed to be cut off and a new square flat fronted with three windows constructed. This made the monorail unit look a bit odd, but at this stage it was the best that could be done. It was painted lime green with a yellow band on the top. At that time, in Sheffield, a bus company called Yorkshire Terrier were operating and so to give some connection with the present a logo of YT AutoRail was added to the model. I did not attend to make the model one that would be used for express travel. And so the destination boards and headcodes where given the name "Arbourthorne" for the Garden section. Basically this monorail car would be used to transport people to the massive garden area, where people who like to garden go. 
Getting the monorail to run was the next problem. The track in otherwords. One of the things was where would the power come from to power the wheels? I resolved it as being from a third rail located above the track. So the track became a box structure with open bottom. However I was not happy as a third rail could cause a drag factor. Nor was I happy with the monorail running on rails. As there was the danger of derailment. I also wasn't to clear how a point system would work for switching tracks. Indeed this is actual a concern for all monorails. Most get round the problem by simply running backwards and forwards or in a loop. Which was no good for the Centre idea. 
In the end I gave up on this prototype, but I have found an alternative to it. 
Hear are some photos or the Prototype Monorail anyway.
 
 
 
      
It was while looking around for a suitable alternative to the track idea monorail that I actually came across all the solutions to the problems of the monorail. Plus something that is already functioning as a working system, that needed no design changes to it. It turns out that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd had two working systems already constructed. They had solved the problem of switching and how it was powered. And it didn't run on rails! 
Theses Shonan Monorail pictures demonstrate it pretty well. First the track and the support column. 
As you can see the track is encased in an open at the bottom boxed section, a large support column forms an inverted L structure to support the box from above. The monorail itself is attached to a bogie that fits inside the box. But the box bottom has two shelves either side that the powered bogie sits on. The wheels are not train wheels but rubber tyre "car" wheels. The bogies take power from inside the box structure, it seems to be a similar power set up as Sheffield's Supertram. Because the wheels are rubber tyres, running on a perfectly smooth surface, that because it is enclosed doesn't have the problem of rain and snow on them also, makes for a much quieter running noise, then steel wheels on steel rails. 
The next picture shows how the station doesn't lead to passengers falling off the station platforms down to the ground below.
But you could make it much securer than that by enclosing the station and having the monorail doors open to sliding doors, which remain closed when no monorail train is present. This also keeps the stations and the monorail trains warmer. Since they are not open to the elements. The station warm air will go into the monorail vehicles, rather than the colder air of outside. More important perhaps in the UK with our weather. See image below
 
 
 Of course with these designs I was able to rethink the model monorail. 
The measurements for the box and pylons supports were found and they seem to be the same size of single electric trunking. What you put wires in! Since trunking has a top that opens, it was a simple enough to leave the top off and use the open section, once turned upside down. The small ledges can be accommodated by simply getting thin strips of plastic and sticking on to the bottom. I have also located a suitable monorail car which I have already. It's actually a model of a tram. Shown below.
 
This is much cheaper than most railway trains and I think will be easy to adapt. I have already started to do so. The first thing I did was remove four black screws from the bottom side. The upper body then comes away. To make it a bit more realistic I painted the seats and put some figures inside. I have removed the catenary thing on the top and placed some LED strip lights from E-Bay costing a few pounds inside to light it up. Most trams seem to have the lights on anyway, so I reckon the monorails would do the same. The wires come out from where the mast was, so no drilling was required. They will go into a plastic box and be fed up to the upper track section to pick up power. The under-carriages will be fitted to the to red boxes on the roof top. But I haven't worked out how that will come about yet. The wheels of the tram below can simply be boxed in. 
I didn't like the lettering on the side, so with a sharpe craft knife, I scrapped it off. It then needed to be painted over with some acrylic white paint. I later found out that the company are based in Derbyshire and do work for the railways, so I could have left it on! The doors don't open on the model, but the elasticated section does indeed bend so looks real. It's not intended to run on the track.
I think however you will agree that it looks more realistic than the old DMU convert.
New images
I have now completed the monorail section and mounted it on the layout.
The above shows the car suspended under the track. In this view it is on the far side track. The track is a piece of electric cable duct, with the top left off. The blue support posts are also made of that with the top on. They have replaced the narrow poles shown in the images further down the page. The wires hanging out of the back of the track are for lighting the unit. The lights are not yet connected. The monorail car does not move. 

The next image shows a close up of the unit front end. The unit has been numbered number 5. The metal objects coming down from the track and connecting to the top of the unit are small pieces of plasticard tubes. They are probably a bit longer than would be needed, but it's only a model. Some of them carry the cables for the lights. The unit carries the Mitsubishi logo.

   Looking down from above shows the space between the tracks would easily allow two monorail units to pass each other without catching.  The top of the picture shows the lower level. The floor is removed and you can see the white support pillars for the floor. The monorail unit access is on the next floor above the ground level floor. With the monorail in place. I can now build the 1st floor, as I know precisely where it should be now.
 

Construction phase of the model

 The first thing I constructed was a baseboard with two side supports so that it was lifted up higher, so that controls and wiring could be fitted under the board.
The above picture shows a view from above of the left hand side of the model. The white posts and pillars support the upper floor. I don't know if the posts etc would need to be this big or how many would be needed to fully support the other floors, but it gives you an idea of the structure. The mottled pattern floor represents the area where buildings will be on the upper structures. It was achieved by using Fablon or sticky back plastic. The dark grey would represent tarmac road or path, used by the workers who maintain the complex to travel around the area. Any structures or workshops they use will be incorporated into the mottled areas only. At the top right an exit way can be seen. The letters on the paths are section indications. It is possible that these would not be on the finished "real" thing. Near the A letter is some wording that has worn off, it says lift, and this is where a lift will come down from the upper levels. The wires are power cables for the model only. 
The A section in closer detail. This shows the Manor Top Exit, with sliding doors and a window for natural light. A workman is about to leave through the doors. Forklift trucks would operate a lot in the underside of the centre moving equipment, tools and goods around. Hence the warning sign on the floor.  The following image shows the other side of the exit.
The exit operates on two levels. The lower level would enable disabled and anyone else who cannot manage steps to go via the sliding doors. The large steps lead to the first floor directly. Another hand rail will be fitted in the middle of the steps. It can be seen loose on the balcony section above the doors. To the left are the frames that will form a canopy over the steps area joining on the door section of the walls of the complex, not yet constructed.
The following image gives you a side view of this structure.
Here we see the frames more clearly. The lamppost will illuminate the steps area in the dark. It is a working LED light. There is also a window to let some natural light into the lower level. But most of the lower level would need to have electric lighting. Two pieces of fence are also present. The path to the steps was made from a textured acrylic paint that was at one time sold at Wilko. But I don't think they do it now. The numbers on both images are measurement numbers, 30, 40 and 50cm. 
Moving along from the steps to the monorail gap, you can see the open air path between the two sections. As you can see the left hand section has the upper floor on. With pipes and cables coming through the floor. Buildings will of course hide these. The blue poles were intended for the monorail. However these might be replaced as the monorail supports are made. The base of the monorail section gap is made out of granite chippings, basalt for model railways. I don't envisage that the general public would use this area and so would be done like that to help keep weeds down and keep it clean. The following pictures shows some workmen attending to it.
The figures are from Preiser and where originally just white. The advantage of getting unpainted figures is that you can change the skin colour so you have a multicultural people on models. Most of the painted ones are "white". Though you can buy some very expensive figures of different races. Of course I have yet to see any female "workers", so that is why they are all men!
Even further along from the men the wall of the section can be seen. I chose that sandy colour for the brick work because it looks bright and clean. The ground is not grassed lawn, as I decided against it. Some large beach pebbles set the scene nicely. On the top section floor can be seen a fountain, which can be seen in the next picture.
The fountain is a Faller kit painted over to get rid of the plastic look of the original. The water was included, but I tinted the surface water with light blue water colour pant. The figure on top was some kind of religious figure, but on my model or on the real thing it would be a figure of Mary Queen of Scots. This section of the model would be called Queen Mary. Hence why it would be her. The fountain is not yet glued to the base, by the way. The floor cover is again Fablon as it gives it a realistic appearance and is easy to keep clean.  The outer walls at this point will be viewable so you will be able to outside the centre and the walls on both sides of the monorail will be the same. Though the monorail will be at a higher level. But you should be able to see the other side of the centre.  The next image shows what's below the fountain.
The fountain and water feeds are featured under the three supports. The open air entrance is shown in the distance. With a notice for fire! The other notices are to say the Forklifts trucks can't go through the entrance. It's not high enough for them! Cooper pipes can be seen on the roof for the water supplies the black pipe is drainage.
More black pipes can be seen in the next section along from the entrance. Signs tell people how to get to the Manor Top Exit. And the "street name" for Prince of Wales West tells you where you are.
Even further down now a lone workman walking down the path. Pipes for drainage, the mustard coloured thing is an old capacitor, but here it's a pump unit! The grey object which has a section hanging down is something to do with the air circulation system. Part of the edge of the baseboard can be seen too. The lime coloured paint was originally also on the other section. But it got very mucky looking, so I replaced it with mottled Fablon. However this section had it's floor already on, so I could not get to the lime sections to do it with Fablon. 
This is the floor of the open section. It was a few pieces of Balsa Wood stuck together. I had used a very thick grey cardboard on both sides of the sections. The smaller section still has it. But the other section began to warp and look messy. So I replaced it. I put some white Fablon on the underside rather than paint it, as it looks smoother. The rectangle hole is for the lift. The other holes are for pipes etc. The grey air vents are made from plastic shaving razors! The black pipes on this section are black drinking straws, which have those flexible bits that allow them to bend. The street names were printed out on a computer. They help the workman locate where they are. This floor section requires more work doing to it. A close up follows...
This shows the lift hole more closely. I used small pieces of plastic cut from sign board to straighten the edges. The pencil marks are just to let me know where the support posts are located. This stops me putting pipes in the way of them or street signs!

In this image more of the air vents and pipes have been added. The white blobs are actually LED lights. That will light the underside of the unit for the workers underneath. I suppose in real life they would be light stripes or tubes, but they don't make fluorescent tubes type in miniature so these will have to make do. You will notice the larger black pipes now have a junction box. I envisage this as some kind of pump. There are still some details to add to this underside and some electrical bits.   
More images and details soon.....
    




  




   
   
           

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