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Should We Build Floating Cities to Adapt to Climate Change?

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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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