ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

6 of the World’s Weirdest Man-Made Islands

Updated on April 4, 2012

From the crannogs of Scotland to the geo-engineered shores of Tenochtitlan, people have been raising land from the water for thousands of years. While historically these artificial islands were built for defensive purposes or to create fertile space for farming, today they exist for any number of reasons. Airports, luxury accommodation, flamingo breeding habitats—you name it, there’s an island for it.

Spiral Islands

Can’t afford to buy your own tropical island? Build your own! That’s exactly what British artist Richart "Rishi" Sowa did back in 1998 when he used 250,000 bottles to construct a floating island paradise that measured 66 feet (20 m) by 54 feet (16 m). Spiral Island, anchored near Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, featured a two-story house, a solar oven, a self-composting toilet, three beaches and even mangroves. Sadly, the island was destroyed by Hurricane Emily in 2005

Spiral Island’s successor, Spiral Island II, was built in 2008 in the waters of Isla Mujeres.
The new island has a house, two ponds, three beaches, a wave-powered washing machine and a solar-powered waterfall and river.

Thilafushi, the Garbage Island

Thilafushi, once a 7 kilometre long lagoon, is now a landfill for the island of Malé, the fourth most densely populated island in the world. The islanders dug gigantic pits and used the excavated sand to build up the perimeter, then filled the pits with garbage, dug more pits and so on. Today, the island covers 50 hectares (124 acres) and is home to industrial plants, warehouses, boat manufacturers and methane bottlers.

Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport was built in 1994 to relieve overcrowding at Osaka International Airport, which, due to the surrounding dense residential population, had restricted operating hours and no room to expand.

To get around the lack of available real estate, engineers created an island in the middle of Osaka Bay that was 2.5 miles long and 1.6 miles wide—so large that it's visible from space. Engineers had to account for earthquakes, cyclones, an unstable seabed and sabotage attempts from protesters, and even then the rate of sinking after construction was so severe that the airport was considered to be a geotechnical engineering disaster. But thankfully, the sink rate has since fallen from 50 cm (20 in) during 1994 to 7 cm (2.8 in) in 2008.

U Thant Island

In the 1890s, William Steinway constructed trolley tunnels under the East River to link Manhattan to the town now known as Astoria, Queens. As part of that project, he dug a shaft through the existing granite outcrop known as Man-o-War Reef. That shaft produced excess landfill that built up on the reef and created a small island.

Technically, the island is called Belmont Island after the financier who finished the tunnel project in 1907. But it became known as U Thant Island in 1977, when a religious group adopted it and named it after a former UN secretary general. They even erected a metal “oneness arch” that stores some of Thant ‘s personal belongings. Today the Island is a protected bird sanctuary managed by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, but the arch is still there. It’s good for perching.

Dubai's Palm Islands

The Palm Islands are an artificial archipelago in Dubai, UAE. Constructed entirely of sand dredged from the bottom of the Persian Gulf, the islands are one of the most ambitious real estate developments on Earth. They’re also quite controversial—construction of the islands has resulted in coastal erosion, changes in ocean currents and irreversible damage to marine environments.

Palm Jumeirah was the first island completed, followed by Palm Jebel Ali. The third, Palm Deira, is still under development. All together, the three islands will add 520 km of beaches to the city of Dubai.

Kamfers Dam Island

Up Close...

This bizarre s-shaped island, located in Kamfers Dam near Kimberley, South Africa, is an artificial breeding island for flamingos.

As one of the Northern Cape’s few wetlands, Kamfers Dam supports over 180 species of waterbirds, including both Lesser and Greater flamingos. The island was purpose-built as a bird sanctuary, with 2 flamingo-friendly bays, over 1000 artificial nests and 4 ponds fed by a solar-powered electric water pump. It took 26,000 tons of material to create the island. In 1997, a year after the island was built, there were about 1,000 flamingos present, most of which bred successfully. Today, there are upwards of 20,000 flamingos migrating to and from the island.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • travelholidays profile image

      travelholidays 

      5 years ago from India

      Kansai International Airport - on the middle of Osaka Bay simply marvelous engineering :) .Very new information about 'S Island' it is an artificial breeding island for flamingos . Thanks for this rare and interesting article voted up :)

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 

      6 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Interesting hub on man made islands. I'd heard of some of them, but others were completely new to me. Especially liked the flamingo island in the dam.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)