Oceanix's floating city of the future will be able to withstand floods, tsunamis and hurricanes
With the rise of natural disasters and the ever-growing threat of coastal cities being engulfed by rising sea levels, a group of builders, engineers, and architects have proposed a new concept for an affordable floating city which will be able to withstand floods, tsunamis, and category 5 hurricanes.
Last Wednesday, a United Nations roundtable took place and the concept for the futuristic utopian city was pitched. Unlike earlier attempts where such futuristic concepts have been met with a great deal of skepticism and doubt, the executive director of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), Maimunah Mohd Sharif, revealed that the UN would be looking to support and also guide the project into a workable model.
The Deputy executive director of UN-Habitat Victor Kisob shared with the roundtable, "I see this, in many ways, as our Apollo 10 dress rehearsal. This is essentially about exploration. It's going to serve as an amazing prototype experiment for some of the challenges you're going to face on Mars," as reported by Business Insider.
The company involved in the project, Oceanix, believes that a floating city house project would be addressing both housing shortages as well as threats from rising sea levels. These floating structures will be designed to withstand floods, tsunamis, as well as category 5 hurricanes. The concept has been titled 'Oceanix City' and was designed by Bjarke Ingels in collaboration with the company Oceanix. The project is yet to receive funding but let's hope it does as it could be the answer to a lot of problems.
The city would be designed in the form of a collection of hexagonal platforms which can hold around 300 residents each. By designing each of the platforms in the shape of a hexagon, the builders are hoping to be able to minimize and reduce their use of materials. The designers shared that a group of six platforms would be referred to as a "village" and the entire city would comprise a total of six villages and would house around 10,000 residents.
Ingels told Business Insider that designing an entire city gives him much more room to expand his vision. "At the city scale you can achieve more," Ingels shared. The "villages" would not allow the movement of high-emitting cars or trucks nor allow any garbage trucks. They would instead feature pneumatic trash tubes which would help to transport garbage to a sorting station where it could be identified, recycled, and reused.
The city could also experiment and work with new technologies such as drone deliveries instead of cars. The concept also looks at 'ocean farming' which involves growing food under the surface of the water via cages which would be able to harvest scallops, kelp, or other forms of seafood. Ocean farming would also feature aquaponic systems which would use waste from fish to fertilize plants, while vertical farms would help to generate year-round produce. These technologies would ensure that the city would remain self-sufficient during a natural disaster.
Even though it has been called the 'floating city', the community would be anchored to the ocean floor. Oceanix is looking at creating these "villages" within a mile of major coastal cities. In the event of a disaster, these platforms could also be towed to safer locations.
The platforms would be padded with Biorock, a material that is created by exposing underwater minerals to an electric current which results in the formation of a limestone coating, which is around three times harder than concrete but can still float. In time, the substance gets stronger and also has the ability to repair itself as long as it is exposed to the current. This allows the material to withstand extremely harsh weather conditions.
The city would also feature an aquifer system which would pull clean water out of the air. Engineer Bry Sarté shared with the UN on Wednesday, "Cities really start and fail by how well they manage water." In the case of a disaster, machine generators would pull air from the atmosphere, condense it into water, and filter it for impurities like metal or bacteria. In order to maintain a low center of gravity, the buildings would be between four and seven stories and would not have any highrise buildings. All buildings would be constructed from sustainable material like timber and bamboo.
The designers do recognize that most people may continue to live on land but those who cannot afford high rent in major cities or who want to live in a space less susceptible to natural disasters, would highly benefit from the project.