Fast Company

Should We Build Floating Cities to Adapt to Climate Change?

floating city

Leave it to the Dutch, denizens of a low-lying, flood-prone region, to concoct a scheme for floating cities that adapt to the rising sea levels caused by climate change. The floating city idea, proposed by Delft-based DeltaSync, consists of buildings that rise with the water.

Buildings float with help from polystyrene foam blocks connected by a strong concrete frame. Each building is connected with a floating pedestrian bridge, and indoor heating comes from surface water stored in the ground under the city or onshore.

The floating city is more than just a pipe dream--water parcels in Delft are already for sale, and DeltaSync is in the process of building six prototype sustainable waterhomes in the area. A floating pavilion based on the DeltaSync design is also being built in Rotterdam's Stadshavensgebied area. But is this a good idea?

One hundred houses already float on a lake in Amsterdam's Ijburg neighborhood, with 70 more scheduled to be built. The lake could potentially hold thousands more homes, if not for one small problem: too many houses crowd out the sunlight, making it impossible for fish and other water life to get the nutrients they need. This is a problem that extends to all floating house developments, and one that makes a vision of massive floating cities all but impossible if we don't want to kill off everything in the water. By solving one issue, we create another.

It's never a bad idea to prepare for the worst case scenario--and let's be honest, if it came down to it our governments would probably choose floating cities over sea life--but perhaps we should focus more of our energies on stopping climate change before it gets worse.

[Via Green Inc.]

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