During a UN Habitant event NYC based developer Lela Goren commented “I’m a real estate developer and this is a developer’s dream.” as she looked at a scale model of a floating city concept that could be deployed around the world. With many countries particularly in Asia creating vast amounts of artificial land for development floating cities seem to provide an answer.
Floating cities also tackle future issues such as rising sea levels whilst allowing developers and governments to create large amounts of space for profitable coastal developments.
What Exactly Are Floating Cities?
Floating cities, despite the name, do not actually float, they are platforms that are anchored to the seabed, this technology is not new as it is used for oil rigs and large docks. Floating cities are a substitute for land reclamation, the cities are both cheap and relatively simple to make with fewer environmental drawbacks as land reclamation.
Nathalie Mezza-Garcia, a complexity scientist commented
Floating is a lot better than land reclamation because it protects the marine environment. It can be easily be removed or expanded, whereas land reclamation usually takes a bunch of sand and dumps it over a place, killing everything that lives there.
The Need for Floating Cities
Coastal cities have been heavily inhabited by people all over the world for some time and every year more and more people move to coastal areas. According to reports, nearly three million people move from the countryside into cities every week with the majority moving to coastal cities, which now contain over half of the world’s population. UN-Habitat predicts that by 2035 90% of all mega-cities—metropolises with over 10 million people—will be on the coast.
The need for land in coastal areas is an ongoing issue with cities across Asia creating land themselves via land reclamation. From 2006 to 2010, China was creating an additional 700 square kilometres of new land each year. Cities such as Tokyo are 20% made up of artificial land and Singapore made up of 25%.
Kees-Jan Bandt, the CEO of Bandt Management & Consultancy explains
In some Asian countries it is sometimes easier, quicker, and, on the long-term, cheaper to reclaim land from the sea than develop on existing land because of land ownership.
From Vision to Reality
With a very clear need and demand for floating cities, dozens of models are being tested worldwide. A company in the Netherlands has already built small-scale floating buildings, including UNESCO-backed schools. Models are also being created in China and a French architectural firm developed a floating city concept that would house 50,000 people in an array of high-rise towers that look like lily pads.
With Floating Cities now becoming more than just a dream entrepreneurs and investors can see the potential for real estate and the next big trend.
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Image source by Lonely Planet