Sea level rises: time to build floating cities

The sea level, apparently, should not riseless than 26 inches due to climate change before the end of this century, so to say that we have a problem will be an understatement. By the end of the next century, many major cities in the world will be flooded, and in some cases entire island states will be under water. People who live there will have to move. But where?

Can people live on water?

Just the other day under the UN Habitat program,conducted by the UN, the first round table was held at which they discussed the possibility of creating floating cities that could solve this problem. Even the place where all this happened, the headquarters in New York on the banks of the East River, can be under water for a century. The specific proposal that dozens of scientists, engineers, artists and investors gathered to discuss was Oceanix City: a scalable platform for tomorrow’s maritime civilizations.

Oceanix City got its name fromthe company that develops it, and represents the latest development in the "maritime field" Mark Collins, former Minister of Tourism of French Polynesia, a veteran of floating cities. In 2017, he also co-founded Blue Frontiers, which aims to build houseboats, offices and hotels off the coast of his home country. However, unlike Blue Frontiers, Collins says that Oceanix City was created with a more egalitarian spirit. "No one is going to create a luxury product for the rich," says Collins. "This is not in the plans." Instead, an attempt will be made to create floating cities that meet the needs of people living near the coastline and at risk of being flooded.

Oceanix City was designed by the famous Danisharchitect Bjarke Ingels and dozens of experts from institutions such as the United Nations and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. According to Ingels, who himself lives in a floating house, residents of the floating city will use 100% renewable energy, eat only plant food, produce zero waste and provide housing for everyone, not just the rich. Although many cities are trying to achieve this, Ingels and Collins were confident that they could cope with this in a complex ocean environment.

The center of Oceanix City is hexagonal.4.5 acre floating platform for 300 people. Such platforms are modular, that is, they can be interconnected to form larger communities spreading over the entire surface of the ocean. Each platform can be fixed at the bottom of the ocean with the help of bio-breed, a material that is stronger than concrete and can be grown from minerals in the ocean, which will make the anchor more reliable with time. Such anchors can also serve as primordia for artificial reefs to rejuvenate aquatic ecosystems around a floating city.

The exact design of each platform will be determinedcommunity needs and location of the city, says Ingels. Some, for example, may act as barriers to limit the effects of waves, while others will be devoted to agriculture. But each platform will play a role in maintaining the stability of the floating city: placing houses in aerial plant homes, submerged gardens for growing scallops and other seafood or desalination equipment that will run on clean energy. Although all platforms are designed to withstand the 5th category storm, Collins says that they will initially be placed in places that are usually protected from extreme weather events.

Many technologies needed to translateThis vision on paper into reality is still in its infancy, such as passive desalination and highly efficient wave energy generators. Therefore, Collins and Ingels also use the floating city as a kind of incubator for the sustainable technologies of the future. Any technologies that will be developed along this path can also be used by communities on land, in case this whole project with floating cities does not burn out.

Political obstacles also stand in the wayespecially when it comes to exactly who will be responsible for these floating cities. According to the plan, the first Oceanix City will be moored about a kilometer from the coast of a large city. If it is parked near New York, the floating community will have to be seen as a new neighborhood or as a separate city under the state’s jurisdiction. According to Victor Kisoba, Deputy Executive Director of UN Habitat, all these questions are crucial for the project.

The idea of ​​living on the surface of the ocean is far fromnew Various cultures around the world have lived on water for centuries, and many, for example, people in Peru with their reed islands or the Bachau tribe in Southeast Asia, who live on houseboats, continue to this day. In recent years, the prospect of living at sea has also captured the imagination of Silicon Valley venture capitalists, who see this as a way to protect themselves from rising tides and annoying oversight by the government.

Revival is an age old idea intechno-libertarian circles are in no small part connected with the efforts of Peter Thiel. In 2008, Patri Friedman, a libertarian theorist and grandson of the famous economist Milton Friedman, founded the Seasteding Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of an autonomous floating city. With funds donated by Thiel in the amount of $ 1.7 million, the Seasteading Institute began to make plans to create a colony off the coast of French Polynesia.

In 2011, Thiel left the board of the institute,explaining this decision by saying that the plan “is not entirely realizable from an engineering point of view”. However, the Seasteading Institute continues its mission, and in 2017 its president Joe Quirk co-founded Blue Frontiers with Collins. In the same year, Blue Frontiers and the Seasteading Institute signed a “research memorandum of understanding” with the Government of French Polynesia to develop the concept of a floating city, which will form the basis of a new country near the island.

In 2018, the government of French Polynesiaabandoned her agreement after criticizing the locals. Blue Frontiers website notes that the company is still in talks with French Polynesia and is discussing its plans with other countries, but Collins, who no longer works for the organization, says the government is silent. In November, Collins left the company and founded Oceanix to give floating cities another chance.

"The approach has undergone radical changes, herewhy we do it with the UN, ”Collins says. “The approach is that now the focus on countries is what they need, what are the needs, and not on philosophy, they say, we will build a floating infrastructure, because we want.”

Since the surface of the earth is more thanhalf consists of oceans, which gradually seize the land, we need to rethink where and how we live. Do you agree? Tell us in our chat in Telegram.