Water Miner: PCWCP 5.0

Project City

Johannesburg, South Africa

Student Name

Fangyuan Sheng

Mingyang Sun

By 2025, frequent extreme weather and air pollution have rendered Johannesburg no longer suitable for human habitation on the ground. As a result, the residents of Johannesburg established an underground city by expanding old abandoned gold mines for survival. However, the worsening water crisis has made people realize that only by giving back to nature and restoring the ecological environment can they obtain stable and sustainable water resources capable of supporting habitation.

 

The people of Johannesburg have united to initiate the Plant Cultivation and Water Conservation Project (PCWCP), hoping to improve soil health and restore groundwater levels through technologically enabled plant cultivation. Through the efforts of several generations, the turning point came in 2050 brought on by PCWCP 5.0.

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Goldmine and water infrastructure
Goldmine and water infrastructure

Johannesburg grew on the edge of the Witwatersrand Main Reef because of gold resources. But it locates in between two river catchments, and aside from a few small streams and artificial lakes, Johannesburg lacks water.

Goldmine and water infrastructure
Goldmine and water infrastructure

Johannesburg grew on the edge of the Witwatersrand Main Reef because of gold resources. But it locates in between two river catchments, and aside from a few small streams and artificial lakes, Johannesburg lacks water.

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Racial Segregation
Racial Segregation

Through the contrast of accommodation conditions between the CBD and Soweto, the township, it is clear that racial segregation had a huge impact on city planning. In 1994, the system of racial segregation ended.

Racial Segregation
Racial Segregation

Through the contrast of accommodation conditions between the CBD and Soweto, the township, it is clear that racial segregation had a huge impact on city planning. In 1994, the system of racial segregation ended.

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Economic equality
Economic equality

In the time of post-apartheid, the divide of wealth and the inequality challenges persist in Johannesburg.

Economic equality
Economic equality

In the time of post-apartheid, the divide of wealth and the inequality challenges persist in Johannesburg.

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Pollution
Pollution

This drawing elaborates the gold mines, and the abandoned ones are poisoning the environment due to dust pollution, radiation, and contaminated water.

Pollution
Pollution

This drawing elaborates the gold mines, and the abandoned ones are poisoning the environment due to dust pollution, radiation, and contaminated water.

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Biome
Biome

Temperate Grassland

Risks
Risks

Urban flood + Drought + Water security

Risks due to predicted climate changes
Risks due to predicted climate changes

Risk of increased precipitation+ Risk of increased temperature

Biome
Biome

Temperate Grassland

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Site Context

The gold mine and the processes of socio-spatial transformations in Johannesburg

More information about Johannesburg

Narrative

By 2025, frequent extreme weather and air pollution have made Johannesburg no longer suitable for human habitation on the ground. As a result, the residents of Johannesburg used advanced engineering technology to develop the underground structure of the former gold mining belt into a new underground refuge. Through 10 years of development, the new underground city has been developed through the optimization of a smart city management system that includes an environmental simulation system; an energy cycle system; a high-speed transportation system; and a mature disaster warning system. As a result, the underground city is able to meet the long-term residential needs of all Johannesburg residents.

 

Here, each resident has been allocated optimized living facilities including a smart living space; a 3D food printer; uniforms for collecting evaporated water; and protective clothing used to enter and exit the city above the ground. However, due to the lack of water resources, the government had to assign limited water to each resident. Despite all efforts to reuse water, the allocated share has continued to decrease each year.

 

People quickly realized that the escalating water crisis was hindering the prosperity of the underground city. From 2035, people had tried to construct above ground infrastructures that collected precipitation in order to expand water resources. However, the huge demand for water adds to the burden on nature which was adversely impacted by these infrastructures. At the same time, extreme weather has led to unstable precipitation, coupled with the further decline of the groundwater level. Residents realized that only by restoring the ecological environment on the ground above can they obtain sustainable water resources to support life below. As a result, since 2035, more and more people have returned to the ground above to engage in research on green infrastructure and the optimization of water resources.

 

As part of this work, a large amount of former Township lands has been converted into experimental fields for ecological restoration. Only the commercial core of Johannesburg retained high-rise buildings as research centers, water monitoring labs, memorial towers, and entrances to the underground city. To achieve the common goal of "water prosperity", the boundaries and prejudices of race, class, and gender disappeared for the first time in Johannesburg.

2025

Establishment of underground city

2035

Precipitation collection

Start of PCWCP

2050

PCWCP 5.0

Of all the plans to solve the water crisis, the Plant Cultivation and Water Conservation Project (PCWCP) is the most ambitious plan. Its goal is to hybridize and cultivate new water-retaining plants under extreme weather conditions such as high temperature, water shortage, and occasional floods, and ultimately improve the soil environment and restore the groundwater level. With the implementation of plant cultivation in the PCWCP 1.0-4.0 programs, new man-made and diversified planting landscapes and ecosystems have been formed on the ground throughout Johannesburg. However, plants were still vulnerable to extreme weather and the water circulation system was very fragile. The turning point occurred in 2050, when the successful planting of plants from PCWCP 5.0 promoted the gradual restoration of the groundwater level, raising hopes for the integrated development of Johannesburg's above ground and underground cities.

Our story begins with the launch of Plant Cultivation and Water Conservation Project 5.0…

 

Storyboard

Intro

2020 Overview
2020 Overview

2025 Overview
2025 Overview

The township around Johannesburg was converted into production land.

2035 Overview
2035 Overview

A mechanical bird flies over the dry, cracked ground into the entrance to the underground city.

2020 Overview
2020 Overview

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Underground City

Fly into Underground City
Fly into Underground City

The underground city is built on top of an existing gold mine tunnel, with residential units surrounding a central water storage tower.

Underground City
Underground City

Underground City Public Space
Underground City Public Space

The underground city is full of PCWCP ads.

Fly into Underground City
Fly into Underground City

The underground city is built on top of an existing gold mine tunnel, with residential units surrounding a central water storage tower.

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PCWCP Lab

Lab
Lab

Laboratory. Seed view. Water Miner-0010 is looking out from the petri dish.

Lab
Lab

The alarm sounds and researchers gather in front of the screen. The screen shows real-time monitoring of the world on the ground. The flood is slowly collected by the water storage facility, the water level gradually drops, and the alarm sound stops slowly. But after the flood, most of the plants in the test field are washed away.

Back to Earth
Back to Earth

The researcher No.24 flies to the ground with the Water Miner-0010 seeds.

Lab
Lab

Laboratory. Seed view. Water Miner-0010 is looking out from the petri dish.

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Above Ground

2035 Overview
2035 Overview

The entrance of the underground city is distributed on the part of the ground that was originally a gold mine belt, and there are many scattered reservoirs, rainwater collection devices and underground water intake devices around. A large number of township land on the ground has been converted into experimental fields for ecological restoration. Only the central city retained high-rise buildings as research centers, water monitoring labs, memorial towers, and entrances to the underground city.

2035 Cityscape
2035 Cityscape

Plant Water Miner-0010 seed
Plant Water Miner-0010 seed

The researcher planted the Water Miner-0010.

2035 Overview
2035 Overview

The entrance of the underground city is distributed on the part of the ground that was originally a gold mine belt, and there are many scattered reservoirs, rainwater collection devices and underground water intake devices around. A large number of township land on the ground has been converted into experimental fields for ecological restoration. Only the central city retained high-rise buildings as research centers, water monitoring labs, memorial towers, and entrances to the underground city.

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Growing Process

Seed Growing
Seed Growing

Seeds are growing.

Seed Growing
Seed Growing

Seeds are growing.

Seed Growing-Flooding
Seed Growing-Flooding

However, the alarm sounds again during its growth. Dark clouds sweep over the city, and precipitation quickly piles up washing over the dry land, completely submerging it.

Seed Growing
Seed Growing

Seeds are growing.

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Back to Ground

Back to Plant
Back to Plant

After the flood, the alarm goes off and the researcher no.24 returns to the field. She is happy to see that Water Miner-0010 has survived the disaster and grew rapidly after it. Looking up at the top of the plant, a real bird flies over.

2050 Cityscape
2050 Cityscape

2050 Overview
2050 Overview

There is a green scene on the ground, with various test fields and green water storage facilities. The original CBD has also begun to be rebuilt into a new technology city for memorial, research, and working. For the time being, people have found a mode of living harmony with nature: living space underground, public space above ground. The above-ground public space is concentrated and occupies less land, and large areas of land return to nature.

Back to Plant
Back to Plant

After the flood, the alarm goes off and the researcher no.24 returns to the field. She is happy to see that Water Miner-0010 has survived the disaster and grew rapidly after it. Looking up at the top of the plant, a real bird flies over.

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Gallery

2020 overview
2025 overview
2035 overview
Underground city
Underground city
Underground city
Living unit
Water info
Lab
Lab
Lab
Lab
Lab
Back to earth
2035 overview
2035 cityscape
Plant
Soil
Growing
Growing
Growing
Back to plant
2050 cityscape
2050 overview
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Reference