Xiaoyu Li

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2016




architecture, global, railway, high-speed, transportation, society




Architectural Engineering | Architectural Technology | Construction Engineering | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


The railway has shown its unique character as a mode of transportation since its invention in Europe during the Industrial Revolution. In the beginning, its carrying capacity made it stand out, transforming human behavior, and stimulating economic productivity. During the 20th century, air travel, the railways, and long-distance road networks have shared the burden of human transportation - in many countries the car and plane have won out. In recent decade, however, new interest in the railway's potential has been generated as a result of the emergence of new technologies like high-speed rail and the maglev system. Greater speeds are making trains viable again.

Based on the high speed of these new trains, this thesis proposes that we not have the possibility to set up a global high-speed railway system. This concept can be described as a "great continental bridge" similar to the route that human beings traverse 200,000 years ago when our ancestors stepped out of the African Savannah.

This thesis focuses on the importance of effective transportation for society. Through observing nature one discovers that the metabolic systems of plants are efficient delivery systems for nourishment. These metabolic systems may provide a model for creating a more efficient global transportation system. Based on this concept, a train station - like the leaf of a tree - can work as both dispenser and collector. The land bridge acts as the trunk. The networks of countries play the role of branches, connecting new meg-regions and dispersed communities.


local input

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