The Central Park International Airport may have been a hoax, but OceanWorksDevelopment's plan for an offshore airport in San Diego is very real. The proposed airport isn't a cry for publicity—San Diego just doesn't have enough space to build a new airport on land. And the city, which has a 675-acre airport and a metropolitan area of 3 million people, desperately needs one.
The 2000 acre, $20 billion OceanWorks International Airport would resemble a floating oil rig with hotels, restaurants and shops nestled underneath the actual airport. An onboard desalinization plant would supply the airport's needs and supply water to coastal cities, while a giant artificial reef would protect the surrounding wildlife. The airport would also act as a center of green power, harvesting energy from waves, wind, and ocean currents. OceanWorks' planned airport is so mindful of the environment that the Sierra Club has declared that it doesn't oppose the project.
So does this thing have a chance? OceanWorksDevelopment CEO Adum Englund has issued a gutsy "Notice of Claim" for 40,000 square miles of space off the coast, asserting the company's right to "its exclusive claim to develop, construct and operate permanently stationed airfields, together with all necessary and desirable access, appurtenances and uses, within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone from the northern parallel of the Southern California Bight to the Mexican border". The claim is, of course, completely bogus—there is no legal process for building an offshore airport, and the Interior Department already denied OceanWorks' paperwork. OceanWorks is undeterred, however, pressing ahead with a plan to sue in federal court since there is supposedly no legal basis for the denial.
Regardless of what happens, the OceanWorks development could represent a future where major developments are offshore. Because once we've used up all our viable land, where else can we expand?