Construction on the world’s first floating city begins in two years
In yet another example that we are already living in the future, we may see construction on the world’s first floating city begin within two years. The concept comes from the California-based Seasteading Institute, and the first floating city would be an experiment in several ways – and not just in terms of construction, but the way the community itself is run.
The goal is to create several similar floating communities, but the initial project is eyeing the Pacific island-nation of French Polynesia to host the first floating community. The city would be constructed in shallow territorial waters, answering to the laws of French Polynesia. The nation, in turn, would see a huge boost in jobs, as well as a potential solution to the massive, catastrophic problem of rising sea levels. French Polynesia is made up of over 100 islands, many of which may be gone in a few decades, or even years.
In order to begin construction, French Polynesia has two simple, but ironclad requests: the city must benefit the local economy, and it must prove environmentally friendly. Assuming it passes these requirements, the government will enact the necessary laws that allow construction to begin in 2019.
The city would be designed to be flexible, with floating platforms built on concrete able to move around as needed. Each platform would be capable of holding a three-story building that could be anything from an office to a hospital to an apartment building as needed. The platforms are designed to last 100 years, so they need to be adaptable.
The city is said to cost $167 million, but that is just an estimate. Once it is up and running, it will begin recruiting citizens. The goal is to bring in between 250 and 300 residents. Seasteading hasn’t released the costs of living in the city, but it won’t be cheap, and space will be at an absolute premium. You can also assume that supplies many of us take for granted – things like fresh water – will also be pricey.
To handle the problems that will inevitably pop up (as they do in all communities), the city will also experiment with its government. There could be several different types of government, with new methods being introduced frequently. The communities would be deliberately kept small, so there would be the chance that everyone has a voice in the way the city operates.
“What we’re interested in is societal choice and having a location where we can try things that haven’t been tried before,” said Seasteading executive director Randolph Hencken. He went on to say, “I don’t think it will be that dramatically radical in the first renditions.”
Assuming the project finds all the funding it needs and actually succeeds in getting built, the French Polynesian floating city would be the first of many. It will need to prove itself, however, including things like the ability to survive storms and become at least partly self-sustaining. If so, it could be an answer to the threat to island nations everywhere as the sea levels around the world continue to rise.