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California firm agrees to build 'floating city' in Pacific Ocean

Updated on January 18, 2017

'Floating City' would stay on top of Climate Change

California based Seasteading Institute has entered into an agreement to build a large ‘floating city’ in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that makes the landlocked city from the Wizard of Oz seem boring. The U.S. company plans to start construction in 2019, in plenty of time to save a few people from climate change. Though the influences of climate change may have little to do with it, French Polynesia, a collection of 118 islands in the southern Pacific, is at risk from rising sea levels and that government has contracted the firm to possibly bail them out, no pun intended.

City would be home to millions by 2050

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Seasteading studied project for five years

For their part, Seasteading has spent five years developing the project concept and engineering, and has performed testing on much of its oceangoing community’s parts. The Institute is located in the San Francisco area. The agreement opens the way to expanded studies over the economic, environmental impact of open water cities. There are also legal implications.

Further studies notwithstanding, Randolph Hencken, executive director of the institute, said: "What we're interested in is societal choice and having a location where we can try things that haven't been tried before. I don't think it will be that dramatically radical in the first renditions,” he added during a recent ABC television interview.

Firm says city not a radical concept

Perhaps not radical, but the concept of a seafaring city beckons various images like glass bottomed condos, basements with shark feeding cages and burglars breaking-and-entering through watertight escape hatches using reprogrammed garage door openers.

"If we can be behind a reef break, then we can design floating platforms that are sufficient for those waters at an affordable cost, says Henken. “We don't have to start from scratch as this is a pilot project.”

The goal is to have hundreds of residents aboard by 2020 and tens of millions of residents living in water cities by 2050 with a stated goal of trying different modes of government and energy production to solve pressing international problems.

Institute and Islands share same dream

Henken says other positives of the project are working with a government that has invited us into their environment, a municipality that the Institution respects, and vice versa. Nevertheless, building a city in the Pacific is a bold undertaking. As hurricane Katrina taught us, Mother Nature is infinitely powerful. It’s not hard to imagine a massive rogue wave topped only by Dramamine sales in its wake. As far tsunamis go, people living in Waterworld might be safer than area Islanders if their city block hangs 10; but that's an awfully big "if".

What could go wrong?

Mr Hencken is hopeful the government of French Polynesia will continue to support the project, adding, "We are confident there will be both a direct and an indirect benefit for them economically.

"They are a tourist-based economy and they're excited to bring us in because we are a technology-based idea." Legislation is set to be introduced next year and if it passes, construction will begin the next year.

Can you imagine urban shrimp farms and swimming pools the size of football fields protected by shark shields? Another advantage of a floating city comprised of huge sections is that people living in economically challenged communities might be able to move their entire neighborhood uptown to a more upscale, low-crime setting. What could go wrong, right?

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    • DougClifton profile image
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      Larry Douglas Clifton 10 months ago from Tampa Bay area

      Ha! You have an interesting sense of humor because it's rooted in truth and garnished with comedy. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 10 months ago

      The only place I know of where floating cities have survived is in Dubai---and they are extravagantly expensive! Everywhere else floating cities have been erected, the cities have failed---due to storms, fires and a variety of other reasons. And how this is supposed to fight alleged climate change is a mystery to me. Frankly, I sometimes wish The Republic of California would break off at it's highest point and float away to sea forever. The thought of it gives me a peaceful feeling---way better than thinking about floating clouds and pretty forests.

      Another interesting article.