Hierarchy and the Starship Enterprise

Hierarchy deals with the way things are organized to show their importance. The following structures are used to convey this in a visual sense: trees, nests, and stairs. While each structure is viable in its own right, we’re going to focus on nests and stairs, and their application upon the Starship Enterprise.

Gaze upon the scientific and design accomplishment that is the Starship Enterprise. Those crisp lines are a wonder to behold. But more design feats exist beyond the surface. Observe closely the saucer section, nestled inside it is the heart of the Enterprise and the lifeblood of the Federation.

Utilizing the nests structure, the Federation was able to create a compact and functional design. Starting at the center of the nests and working our way out we’re able to determine the importance of various sections of the ship. In the center, we have the bridge, where all decisions about the Enterprise and its missions are made and put into action. From there we have the Science centers, Science labs, and Science crew’s quarters. This allows us to determine that science, and the acquiring of further knowledge, was indeed the primary mission of the Enterprise. From there we move to the Officers' and additional crew quarters. The bottom nests, items of less importance, include recreational space and cargo.


While the saucer section makes use of the nests structure, the rest of the Enterprise utilizes the stairs structures. As we move away from the nests, we climb down into the second set of hierarchy on the Enterprise.  Here, the structural integrity of the vessel takes precedence followed by Medical, Botany, and additional crew living space. Rounding out the structure are additional cargo and recreational spaces. Once again showing that things and playtime ranked lower on the priority list for the Enterprise and its inhabitants while their pursuit of knowledge and well-being is classed higher.  


The use of hierarchy gives us insight into how Gene Roddenberry envisioned the future of humanity. With Science and camaraderie taking precedence over the pursuit of worldly possessions.  


What do you think of his hierarchy? Would you change it? And if so, how?