This question is pretty simple. In a world where about 7% of the population have functional wings, how would buildings (such as offices, schools and homes) differ? I'm looking for ways that would allow easy take-off and landing without alterations that would take up large amounts of space and money, such as large landing pads and runways.

The wings are:

  1. On average, 7ft each (for a 14ft wingspan)
  2. Hairless and featherless- the resemble bat wings in the colour of the person's skin, but they can be dyed or tattooed.

2 Answers 2


7% of the population isn't very much, but some places would probably try to accommodate them. You definitely wouldn't need a runway, but most likely buildings would need some sort of open-ish area to let them take off and land. A more accommodating skyscraper might have ledges every couple dozen floors, to let the flyers land close to their desired floor, instead of having to land on the ground and travel up. They would also provide a great way for flyers to take off. It would, however, not be very cheap. So I believe the most common change would be to merge a parking space or two, fill it will dirt, and reserve it as a landing zone for flyers.

If, however, the country this is in has a legal system similar to the USA's, then it might get more complicated. The landing zones might be very soft and squishy, to try to preclude anyone from getting hurt even if they land badly, the ledges might not exist, to preclude the possibility of someone landing poorly and falling off - and their family suing the building owners for not having made it safe enough. The legal aspect would also get interesting (no-fly zones, police searches in which the criminal could have simply flown away).

All buildings which need any sort of security would have to completely change how they operate; they can't just rely on a tall barbed wire fence, but now also have to deal with the possibility of invisible (radar-wise) aerial intrusions. Maybe a giant cage built over the building would be sufficient. It also would make being searched much more difficult - if people can hide things in their crotch and try to sneak past security, imagine everything someone could fit inside their folded-up wings.

I also imagine flying would take a good amount of exertion - if you're flying to work, and your job requires you to wear a suit, then you'd probably have to carry it with you and shower/change once you get there, and so buildings trying to accommodate flyers would need to make that possible.

A different idea for taking off might be a big slingshot, but that would probably only be cost-effective in places like big cities where parking space is a premium. Though again that probably would never happen if the building has to worry about civil lawsuits. Also, flying in big cities might not even be allowed, given how easy it'd be to crash and cause damage, or flap around next to a windowed building and spy on/bother the people inside.

Smaller places not in cities would probably have more roof access, from which a flyer could take off.

Also, unless their wings are really compact when not extended, you'd probably have to provide larger doorways, hallways, taller stairwells (more clearance space above their head), and completely differently designed toilets (there'd have to be room for their wings between the seat back of the seat and the wall/tank/piping)

If the people have similar reflexes when startled to other things with wings (i.e., they flap their wings to keep balance) then they might not even be allowed in the same public crowded spaces as everyone else - imagine one of them tripping in a crowd and shooting their wings out as a reflex. People would get hurt, it'd cause a huge disruption, people might get angry. Museums, jewelry stores, and similar places might not even let them in without some sort of clothing that prevents their wings from unfolding, to protect the items on display.


Something else to consider would be the cultural implications. Perhaps the winged humans are better suited to travel, and become more successful as a result, meaning that catering to them becomes a status symbol (the best restaurants and hotels are on the high floors of buildings with only access through the landing pad).

Or possibly they are well suited to construction work, making them sought after, but considered to be "lower" than those without wings. Might make catering specifically to them to be considered "uncouth".

Worth thinking about the extended ramifications of having physically different people integrated into society in a mature fashion.


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