Sea level rise, there will be dozens of floating cities like Hollywood movies

Sea levels are rising rapidly, and many coastal cities are at risk of being washed away in the next century. This will be a disaster for hu...


Sea levels are rising rapidly, and many coastal cities are at risk of being washed away in the next century. This will be a disaster for hundreds of millions of people living along the coast.

The paper is the view of writer Wade Shepard, Forbes.

"Coastal cities are the gateway between man and nature," said Marc Collins, a former tourism minister of the French Polynesia. Collins has a crazy dream: to build floating cities around the world.

I listened to Collins because I knew he might be right: for communities facing rising sea levels, the sea was the last frontier.

Sea levels are rising faster and faster
From past to present, people have always tended to come near the sea to build cities. Coastal cities today account for more than 50% of the world's population. According to UN Habitat, by 2035, 90% of all megacities - cities with more than ten million people - will be on the coast.



Perspective of Blue Frontiers project in Polynesia.

High-value assets and economic opportunities are concentrated here. Asian governments also promote economic development along the coast. They are even willing to encroach on the sea to create new lands.

Meanwhile, sea levels are rising rapidly, and many coastal cities are at risk of being washed away in the next century.

More and more data proves the abnormal rise of sea level. According to a 2018 study published in PNAS, the sea level has risen by 3 mm per year since 1993. NASA data shows that this rate is increasing, which is expected to reach 660 mm by year 2100.

This will be a disaster for more than 600 million coastal people around the world.

Many cities and states in the US are looking to fix this problem. Louisiana spent 25 billion USD for the coastal master plan, Texas invested 11.6 billion USD in storm protection system. New York launched a $ 3.7 billion coastal defense plan along with a $ 10 billion proposal to expand Manhattan surface area to keep the sea encroaching.

It is estimated that the United States will have to spend about $ 400 billion over the next two decades to control the damage caused by rising sea levels. Indonesia also announced a $ 34 billion plan to move the capital with 30 million people to higher ground.

Countries in the South Pacific are estimated to spend US $ 775 million annually, or 2.5% of GDP, against sea level rise. Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines are expected to spend 6.7% of GDP by 2100 on coastal flood and storm prevention plans.

The National Oceanographic Center (NOC) thinks global damage caused by rising sea levels could reach $ 14 trillion a year before 2100.

"Billions of people living along the coast will suffer from flooding. This will get worse and eventually they will have to leave, but where will they go? We will have to deal with climate change on a large scale." , or we will have to move to the sea, "said Tom Goreau, President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance.

Is the city at sea the solution?
At a UN Habitat round-table event earlier this year, the idea of human settlements in the ocean was gradually becoming reality. Floating cities are being proposed as a serious way to deal with climate change.

The floating city here is not the city in the middle of the ocean, but a series of connected works only a short distance from the shore.


Designing the floating city of architect Buckminster Fuller for 100,000 people in 1960. Photo: BFI.

Such floating settlements have been around for thousands of years. Southeast Asians are also familiar with riverside villages, appearing from Brunei, Indonesia, and Cambodia to Vietnam.

In rich countries, the idea of floating cities dates back to the mid-20th century. In 1967, a Japanese businessman asked famous architect Buckminster Fuller to build a floating city on Tokyo Bay. However, the project did not materialize when the Japanese businessman died.

The Baltimore city government also liked the idea, and invited Fuller to build a city for 100,000 people in the bay. However, this idea was not realized when the main supporters of the project lost their position.

"One problem with floating cities is that people who want to create them all have their own intentions, those that are dishonest," Mr Goreau explained.

Many coastal cities propose to build walls around the coast, raise the ground, or move the city elsewhere. However, all are too costly or half-hearted solutions.


The idea of a river city in London designed by Studio Egret West. Photo: AVR.

Indonesia is an example of how difficult it is to move cities. In April, the country announced a plan to move the capital to the city of Borneo, citing chronic flooding in Jakarta due to groundwater extraction and rising sea levels.

An estimated one third of the 118 islands in Polynesia may soon suffer the same fate, and will be submerged between 2040-2060.

The Blue Frontiers project, proposed by Marc Collins, creates floating special economic zones with different tax, customs, immigration and labor regimes from the rest of the country. To generate revenue, this project uses its own digital currency. This is like a paradise for those who have money and want to live freely. Of course, this project was not approved by the Polynesian government.

Collins continued to set up the Oceanix project and implemented a plan known as Oceanix City. Basically, this is a 10,000-person settlement made up of prefabricated frames in a factory, pulled out to sea, pieced together like Lego. The city is tied to a rocky seabed, a form of building material that will essentially turn the entire city into an artificial reef.

The main construction materials for constructions will be multi-layer bamboo beams. Fresh water is obtained by desalination in seawater and harvesting moisture in the air. Food will be grown in place, and all residents will encourage eating a diet rich in plants.


Design of floating city on the ocean of Oceanix.

Oceanix city design has many ideas from the way nature works. Like traditional houses on the island of Polynesia, no details are designed to be fixed. All materials can be easily replaced and recycled.

If the city needs to be moved, it can theoretically separate it into parts and pull it to another location. Collins said that this is a completely opposite vision compared to the skyscrapers in cities.

"These buildings will stay here forever. We realize that nature is invading our homes," he said.

In an age when a capital of 30 million people has been moved to higher ground, and cities spend tens of billions of dollars to stop the sea, dreams like Collins's are gradually becoming a reality.

"I still like to solve the most fundamental problems, reverse climate change. However, to do that, we have to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and go back to pre-industrial times. Governments won't do it.

If politicians don't get smart and start solving long-term problems, the only solution left is to move to floating cities, "said Tom Goreau.

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High Tech Brain: Sea level rise, there will be dozens of floating cities like Hollywood movies
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