Floating city: UN’s new concept to fight climate change

Cities today need more options. Period. With the population growing massively, the sea levels rising to unprecedented levels, and housing becoming more expensive, an alternate mode of living is the need of the hour. With the current rate of rising in sea levels, we know that numerous cities will be submerged and millions of people will be displaced in the next few decades. Also, coastlines are shrinking and to reclaim them, seaside cities are pouring sand into the oceans, making sand a precious and scarce resource.

To tackle these problems, the United Nations has proposed an innovative concept of an affordable, self-sustainable floating city that can accommodate around 10,000 residents. This was unveiled at the First United Nations High-level Roundtable on Sustainable Floating Cities held at New York. Built in collaboration with Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and floating city builder, Oceanix, Oceanix City can withstand natural calamities such as tsunamis, floods, and Category 5 hurricanes. Residents of this city will, according to its architect, use 100 per cent renewable energy, produce zero waste, and eat only plant-based food.

Surprised that such a city can exist?

Read on to understand some aspects of the floating city:

This stunning vision of urban living will essentially be a collection of hexagonal platforms anchored to the seafloor using Biorock. This material can be grown using minerals found in oceans and is harder than concrete. A village would house six platforms and an entire city would contain six villages. These 4.5-acre platforms would be made of bamboo and wood and they can be moved in case of emergencies.

Further, these cities are being envisioned as zero-waste, energy positive, and self-sustaining. These cities will produce their own power, heat, and fresh water. Turbines that would be in the air above the platforms and the water below, along with solar panels, would provide energy. Freshwater would be provided by rain and desalination systems in the villages.

Rather than having garbage disposal trucks, these cities will experiment with pneumatic trash tubes, which will transport garbage to a sorting station, where they will be identified and repurposed.

And how about food? The cities would produce food using a new concept called ‘ocean farming,’ whereby food will be grown beneath the surface of the water.

To add to this, the amenities such as a communal library, a spiritual centre, and a cultural centre would all be present that residents can make use of.

The first of these floating communities are due to be established in Southeast Asia, where there are warm coasts.

While there have been many proposals for these kinds of futuristic floating cities, the director of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), Maimunah Mohammed Sharif said that the United Nations would support this initiative. However, many of the technologies that are to be used to make floating cities a reality are still in their nascent stage.

What do you think about this bold and innovative idea? Are these really cities going to be the future of affordable living? Do let us know your views in the comments section below.

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