Floating cities – a practical solution for countering climate change

Floating cities – a practical solution for countering climate change?

Floating cities are being developed in Polynesia as a sustainable place to live and a solution for rising sea levels, but they could also potentially help coral reefs recover and provide a habitat for marine life.

The construction of the first floating villa is planned for 2020. This would include around 15 islands 82 by 82 feet.

The goal is for the floating city, which will be placed a little over half a mile, from shore inside a protected lagoon, to be 100 percent renewable and 100 percent self-sufficient.

 Floating solar panels could help power the city and as water cools panels, they could generate 20 percent more energy than their landlocked cousins. 20 % of the floating city could be comprised of solar panels. Another goal is to not discharge any water into the lagoon – waste water is to be treated and recycled. Food could be cultivated in sea farming systems.

The floating city could be designed to look like a natural island, featuring green roofs and buildings constructed with locally-sourced materials – potentially bamboo, coconut fibre, or local wood like teak.

The buildings are designed to connect to nature and embrace the magnificent Tahitian views. Walls are to be louvred or openable whenever possible.

“We think of cities as being a blight on the land and polluting the oceans. Floating cities are so different because they could actually be environmentally restorative.” For example, an increase in ocean temperatures has caused much of coral bleaching, says Joe Quirk, Blue Frontiers co-founder.

“The corals could actually recover if we could just lower the temperature a little. Our engineers at Blue Frontiers have devised a plan to position the platforms to create some shadows to lower the temperatures. So as the sun moves about, you get enough light on the ocean floor to spark photosynthesis, but you lower the heat just enough to have a restorative effect.”

Solid floating structures can also increase the amount of sea life by serving as a habitat, according to Quirk. He said platform floors, that would be below water level, could be made of glass, creating an aquarium apartment or aquarium restaurant.

“The intent is for an architecture derived from nautical technology and sensibility, combined with a deep respect and willingness to learn from the culture and knowledge of the original seasteaders, the Polynesians.”

Quirk said the first floating city could be kind of like the first iPhone – rather bulky and expensive – but they aim to drive down the price with later iterations. Two to three years after 2020, they hope to double the amount of platforms – from around 15 to around 30 – and then triple the amount two to three years after that.

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