Planning for floating cities

A Dutch architect is taking inspiration from designing houseboats and thinking about cities built to float on the water:

Olthuis, who along with building partner Dutch Docklands, designed a section of floating islands for Dubai’s man-made Palm Islands development project, has also created a patent which scales up the technology used for a houseboat to floating structures big enough to hold cars, roads and houses.

“Water is a workable building layer or a floating foundation and if you turn water into space, which is a dramatic change of mindset, there’s a whole new world of possibilities,” Olthuis told Reuters…

“It is just a floating foundation, mostly made of concrete and foam which is quite stable, heavy, and goes up and down with waves and up and down with the sea level,” he said.

The floating city of the future is still a dream, but Olthuis’s firm, WaterStudio, which he started a decade ago, designs buildings and floating structures which try to combat the challenges posed by rising sea levels.

Sounds interesting but I imagine it is a ways away from being used for large-scale development.

The article suggests it is currently being used in one setting and is envisioned for another key use: it is currently for the wealthy but could be used in the future to help combat the rise of the oceans due to global warming. I wonder if it might have more practical uses today: imagine new tourist, residential, and commercial destinations built in major cities like New York or Chicago that are out over the water (not just in the water or relatively close to shore). What about relieving overcrowding in some cities by building out over the water? What about being able to put essential infrastructure out on the water (power plants, water treatment facilities, etc.)? If cities weren’t as limited by land and could utilize the water surface as well, this would encourage new opportunities.

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