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Converting a city street into a tropical island replica

Image credit: Cloud Forest dome, Singapore

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jul 28, 2021
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The idea is to find a boring local street or intersection, enclose it in a glass dome-like structure and convert it to a tropical island/forest surrounded by a beach-style swimming pool.


Winters in the northern hemisphere are long, cold, dark, and harsh. They take a toll on people's moods. Everyone I know sees it as a period where we just stay indoors and wait for the summer to return. I've had the chance to escape to a tropical place during wintertime. It felt as if weight was lifted off my shoulders. This island replica should serve as a step in the same direction. This would also work in dry desert areas.

Imagine being able to have a drink at a bar that looked like this, in your city during the dead of winter:

The plants

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is a good example of the kind of plants that would be used. However, the roof would have to be much higher. If the transparent roof is high enough and the entire place is wide enough people won't feel enclosed. This one is not high enough, but the flora is nice:
The roof height at Suntago Park of Poland is much better:

A suitable location and the roof

What if several entrepreneurs, bar/restaurant owners, landlords, etc. got together and made a plan to transform their boring street on the outskirts of a city into a cool place where everyone goes. If the project was made right their business would skyrocket. They could get all the land owners together and present the plan to the city council. They could finance it themselves.

The right kind of area would have buildings that are 3 to 5 floors in height. This is so that the glass dome roof could be mounted on top and not look too high or too low. The building would surround a suitable middle-ground. Maybe an abandoned playground or something that can be demolished and replaced by the tropical island.

An example of how a street could be enclosed:
In Germany, there is an old airship hangar that was converted to a tropical island resort. Here is a video tour of the place. My idea proposes something similar but less industrial-looking, built on smaller scale and replicated anywhere where people can get together and make it happen.

Bars and restaurants

The bars and restaurants (that financed the project) would have entries from both the tropical island side and the harsh/winter street side. The terraces of restaurants would be facing towards the inside of the "island" where people could sit "outside" and enjoy the nature all year long.

Artificial lighting, heating, ventilation and projections

Because days are short during winter there would be artificial lighting that comes off in the morning, dims when there is sufficient sunshine outside and stays on in the afternoon and evening.

Tripple glazed glass or some new, advanced material would conserve the temperature inside. The entire dome would have ventilation with heat recouperation and humidity control. All the businesses would share the heating bill based on square meters of owned real-estate.

In the summer some roof panels and side walls could open to create pleasant air circulation.

The walls could be supplemented by video projections in the tropical island themes.

Glazing material

Building multiple enclosures is an opportunity for engineers and material scientists to practice building domes for Mars. How inexpesnive, lightweight and durable can each be made? Maybe some of these builds could host a competition that chooses a team with currently best and most advanced option. The winning team gets to build a large-scale proof of concept.


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