The waterfront residences will float on a flexible grid across a 200-hectare lagoon.
Such innovative developments could prove vital in helping atoll nations, such as the Maldives, fight the impact of climate change.
Dutch company is also testing the technology in the Netherlands.
The atoll nation of Maldives is creating an innovative floating city that mitigates the effects of climate change and stays on top of rising sea levels.
The Maldives Floating City is designed by Netherlands-based Dutch Docklands and will feature thousands of waterfront residences and services floating along a flexible, functional grid across a 200-hectare lagoon.
Such a development is particularly vital for countries such as Maldives – an archipelago of 25 low-lying coral atolls in the Indian Ocean that is also the lowest-lying nation in the world.
Developed with the Maldives government, the first-of-its kind “island city” will be based in a warm-water lagoon just 10 minutes by boat from the capital Male and its international airport.
Dutch Docklands worked with urban planning and architecture firm Waterstudio, which is developing floating social housing in the Netherlands, to create a water-based urban grid built to evolve with the changing needs of the country.
Maldives thrives on tourism and the same coral reefs that attract holiday makers also provide the inspiration for much of the development. The hexagon-shaped floating segments are, in part, modelled on the distinctive geometry of local coral.
These are connected to a ring of barrier islands, which act as breakers below the water, thereby lessening the impact of lagoon waves and stabilizing structures on the surface.
“The Maldives Floating City does not require any land reclamation, therefore has a minimal impact on the coral reefs,” says Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives, speaker of parliament and Climate Vulnerable Forum Ambassador for Ambition.
“What’s more, giant new reefs will be grown to act as water breakers. Our adaptation to climate change mustn’t destroy nature but work with it, as the Maldives Floating City proposes. In the Maldives, we cannot stop the waves, but we can rise with them.”
The islands’ seafaring past also influenced the design of the buildings, which will all be low-rise and face the sea.
A network of bridges, canals and docks will provide access across the various segments and connect shops, homes and services across the lagoon.
Construction is due to start in 2022 and the development will be completed in phases over the next five years – with a hospital and school eventually being built.
Renewable energy will power the city through a smart grid and homes will be priced from $250,000 in a bid to attract a wide range of buyers including local fishermen, who have called the area home for centuries.
Around 40% of the global population live within 100 kilometres of the coast.
WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said there was an “urgent need” to protect communities from coastal hazards, such as waves, storm surge and sea level rise via multi-hazard warning systems and forecasting.
Atoll nations are even more at risk than other island-based countries, with the Maldives one of just a handful – alongside Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific – that have built societies on the coral-and-sand rims of sunken volcanoes.
The World Economic Forum, Friends of Ocean Action and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean will explore how to take bold action for a healthy, resilient and thriving seas during the Virtual Ocean Dialogues 2021 on 25-27 May.
The online event will focus on the vital importance of mainstreaming the ocean in global environment-focused forums and summits – from climate and biodiversity, to food and science.
Sales of watercraft have soared since the start of the pandemic as recreational boaters seek to escape home—and land. Here are the trending toys to inspire your next seagoing adventure.
By Mark Ellwood
Blame James Bond. It was the sight of Roger Moore skidding a Wet Bike over the waves in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me that piqued yacht owners’ interest in keeping more than just a tender, or small ship-to-shore shuttle, on board. Moore’s gadget morphed into the Jet Ski, a must-have for every polyester-era playboy. The Jet Ski, in turn, raised cultural expectations for what we should be able to do on—or under, or over—the water.
Billionaires such as Jeff Bezos and his new 417-foot-long project Y721—a yacht so big it needs its own yacht—plus destinations like the Four Seasons Bora Bora keep spurring new innovations. As bigger superyachts became dominant in the late 1980s, complete with roomier onboard garages, the types of toys and tenders available multiplied. Invention is “driven by charter guests,” says Chris Clifford of the yacht industry bible Onboard. “Even if Grandpa and Grandma are paying for the boat, they’ll bring their children and grandchildren, and you’ve gotta keep them amused.” Indeed, charter specialist Burgess Yachts says 84% of its clients expressed interest in toys and water sports as crucial for their next rental.
But it’s not just the world’s wealthiest who are diving in since the coronavirus pandemic started. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, U.S. powerboat sales reached a 13-year high in 2020, when 310,000 new vessels were sold, a rise of 12% from the previous year. GetMyBoat, a marine rental platform, sent 60,500 renters out on the water in 2019, rising to 178,000 last year; it expects to hit more than 1 million for 2021. That’s a lot of people potentiality looking for their first boat or an addition to an existing collection.
It makes sense: Nothing says summer like a good, socially distanced splash. Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-maneuver three-cabin sailboat for your family, a two-seater Sea-Doo on steroids, or a double-decker party barge with a waterslide, here’s our roundup of the newest and hottest toys.
Four craft for the adrenaline junkie
PARAJET PARAMOTOR VOLUTION 3
You may have wondered about these flying whizbangs after spotting one soaring along a beach in the Hamptons or Miami. The love child of a paraglider and a fan boat from the Everglades, the Parajet was dreamed up by flying enthusiast Gilo Cardozo, who wanted to share his love of aviation. Strap one on—the Volution is the sturdiest of the range—and you can soar as high as 500 feet at speeds that reach 50 mph, weather willing. (Pro tip: The air is less bumpy at sunset and sunrise.) Just book a few lessons first. $8,395
SUBLUE WHITESHARK MIX PRO
Cousteau-inspired explorers keen to chart the depths of the oceans on film should pick up this double-propeller sea scooter. It can duck more than 130 feet below the surface, pulling a swimmer behind it at up to 6 feet per second. Better yet, fix a smartphone in the waterproof camera mount to record every moment. The scooter is designed to be used by anyone 8 or older—a detachable floater can keep kids from diving more than a few feet deep. $699
Former world champ Jet Ski racer Franky Zapata founded his company more than two decades ago to devise wacky water toys like the Flyride, a narrow Jet Ski-like device that can shoot into the air on plumes of water. There’s room for two, so a parent can hop on with an adventurous kid as young as 5. (They can also use the wireless remote to curb a teen’s crazier ambitions.) With 300 horsepower, it offers a top speed of 22 mph—and a button will initiate a barrel roll. From $9,285
Think of this fish-shaped, two-seater submersible as a Sea-Doo on steroids; the enclosed pod can leap into the air and duck under the surface at up to 50 mph. It was designed by New Zealand-born boat builder Rob Innes, who considers it more like an aircraft than a watercraft, because it’s able to operate on three axes of control. With a little practice, a pilot can even do 360-degree barrel rolls while skipping across the water. The styling of the chassis adds a witty touch: Take your pick from sharks, whales, or dolphins. The company custom-builds only about two dozen of the craft each year. From $85,000
For casual fun, try a drone, a kayak, or your own mini pool
Based on Germany’s Baltic Coast, Hanse was founded by Michael Schmidt, a former winner of the Admiral’s Cup regatta. The vessels from his company deftly combine top performance—a self-tacking jib is standard to maximize ease of handling—with smart layouts and design. It’s a combination that earned this craft the title as Cruising World’s best value sailboat two years ago. Pick between a two- and three-cabin version, and you’ll enjoy the great light and clean lines below deck. $170,800
A student project at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology led to this 5-year-old startup, which specializes in naval robotics. Its 7.6-pound Mito underwater drone streams footage to an app from as far away as 1,600 feet. The tethered 4K device has two 1,000-lumen headlights for visibility at depth, and four-thruster stabilization keeps the camera steady in rough currents. $1,999
TRENT PRESZLER CANOES
When Preszler inherited his father’s woodworking tools seven years ago, the avid outdoorsman spent 14 months teaching himself how to build a wooden canoe from scratch. Preszler, who’s based in Mattituck, N.Y., now juggles his day job running a winery and selling bespoke, handmade canoes to clients. Each boat, often using exotic woods such as red cedar and purpleheart, takes at least a year to complete. From $100,000
TARPON 120 FISHING KAYAK
Nimble but sturdy, this 12-foot-3-inch sit-on-top kayak with a short waterline is perfect for fishing in creeks. The American-made craft is packed with user-friendly details, including gear tracks to secure rods and accessories as well as a paddle holder on the bow to free up your hands. The self-bailing hull retains buoyancy even when waters are choppy; best of all, it’s dog-friendly. From $999
BEAU LAKE PADDLEBOARDS
With Club Monaco founder Joe Mimran among its advisers, it’s no surprise this Canadian company produces paddleboards that emphasize beauty as much as function. Made with epoxy resin and other performance materials, they’re finished with mahogany and Macassar ebony, among other options. Pair yours with the equally stylish paddles, which start at $350. From $2,950
YACHTBEACH LUXURY POOL
Avoid jellyfish stings using this pool, which has an ultrafine PVC mesh stretching almost 8 feet down into the water. The largest, superyacht-aimed option includes a 19-by-13-foot boardwalk with a comfy foam top that’s wide enough for sunbathers to linger near the swimmers. €6,799 ($8,270)
You don’t need a yacht to impress out on the water
The ultimate overwater bungalow, Arkup’s two-story glass-box-like villa can be permanently tethered to a dock or cruise at a leisurely 7 knots under its own power. The open-plan four-bedroom structure has 2,600 square feet of indoor living space that connects to a retractable 450-square-foot deck. Its eco-credentials are impressive: Solar panels on the roof supply power, and tanks collect and purify rainwater for drinking and bathroom use. Sadly, the prototype has already sold, but the company is building several custom projects riffing off the same design, as well as planning smaller, marginally more affordable models. From $5.5 million
PREMIER ESCALANTE PONTOON BOAT
There’s no better party venue than this 35-foot double-decker pontoon, with room for up to 20 people: A stairway turns into a slide from the upper deck straight into the water. Need we say more? The design incorporates more practical measures as well, including a hard-sided changing room/bathroom, plus a refrigerator, sink, and wine cooler. With 800 horsepower or more, the Escalante is packing as much power as some speedboats. Just make sure not to leave anyone behind. From $154,150
The aptly named ROM, which stands for Rebuild Ocean Motivation, will construct a boat your way at its shipyard in Aveiro, Portugal. Former technology consulting executive Jorge Martins founded the startup four years ago to bring superyacht customization to smaller craft, upgrading workaday designs in a sleeker, sportier style. When Martins unveiled this specific model in January, he promised only 20 of the eight-passenger 25-footers would be made; just 14 remain. From €230,000
BIGAIR YACHT BLOB
This classic lake toy was first developed in Texas from an army-surplus fuel bladder. Like a seesaw, when someone jumps onto a specific spot from a boat, the force will propel anyone sitting at the other end up to 30 feet in the air. Austin-based FunAir has reengineered the blob for use on the ocean, adding stabilizer outriggers to prevent it from turning over and an inflatable stand-off to stop anyone from bashing back into the hull after they jump. It takes only around 20 minutes to set up.$4,000
NAUTIBUOY FLOATING PLATFORMS
Countless companies produce platforms like this that can be jigsawed together to create a pontoon at the back of any vessel, be it speedboat or superyacht. The big differentiator for this British company’s offerings is the quality of construction, with drop-stitch cores and strong, durable PVC borders. NautiBuoy’s own ballast system keeps the platforms stable, and the teaklike finish is stylish and slip-resistant. Buy one to act as a parking slot for your Seabob or Jet Ski, and attach it to another for an impromptu, al fresco cocktail lounge.From €3,805
Anyone prepping to compete on Wipeout can finesse their dueling skills with a few sessions on this inflatable platform 5 feet above the water. The lightweight batons are easy enough for kids and adults to handle. Yacht Joust can be secured almost anywhere—in a small cove or close to a beach to drum up some cheers or jeers from spectators—and packs down to the size of a carry-on bag. $8,000
AQUAGLIDE RESIDENTIAL MINI PARK 4
Install this 38-foot-long inflatable obstacle course behind your boat or lakefront home. The main appeal is a 10-foot, high-velocity slide, complete with an interior mesh floor at the bottom for safer splashing. You can also loll on the water, safe from the sun, under the roof of the Ohana lounge platform. Small decks connect the two elements, making it a cinch to hop into the splash zone. And if you want to expand your water park, other Aquaglide inflatables attach easily. $8,600
Radical plans to develop an environmentally-friendly floating city in the Maldives have been announced by the Netherlands-based engineering firm Dutch Docklands.
Officially named Maldives Floating City (MFC), the development, which is being planned in cooperation with the government of the Maldives will be set in a lagoon location situated 10 minutes from the Maldivian capital, Malé
According to a Dutch Docklands press release, the ‘first-of-its-kind “island city”‘ will offer ‘ a revolutionary approach to modern sustainable living perched against a backdrop of the azure Indian Ocean… a futuristic dreamscape finally poised to become reality.’
The project has been in development for more than a decade and plans to feature thousands of waterfront residences floating along a flexible grid spread across the 200-hectare lagoon. MFC’s design will be ‘inspired by traditional Maldivian sea-faring culture’ and the homes will be eventually joined by hotels, restaurants, boutiques, and a ‘world-class’ marina.
MFC is a response to the existential threat of sea-level rise posed by climate change. As one of the lowest-lying countries in the world, much of it less than 2 metres above sea level, the Maldives is widely recognised as one of the countries in most danger of becoming uninhabitable in future years.
‘As a nation at the front lines of global warming, the Maldives is perfectly positioned to reimagine how humankind will survive — and, indeed, thrive — in the face of rising seas and coastal erosion,’ said a Dutch Docklands representative. ‘By leading in this effort, the Maldives not only lays the groundwork for combatting its own climate challenges, but provides a viable blueprint for other nations to follow.’
The developers are keen to play down the potential for environmental damage that the floating city might cause. The visible parts of the city above the surface are modelled on coral formations and will be connected to the barrier islands, which in turn serve as breakwaters for the lagoon. The company stress that, because the city is floating, damage to the reef will be minimal.
‘MFC does not require any land reclamation, therefore has a minimal impact on the coral reefs,’ said former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed. ‘Our adaption to climate change mustn’t destroy nature but work with it, as the MFC proposes. In the Maldives, we cannot stop the waves, but we can rise with them.;
Construction is expected to begin in 2022 and will be carried out in phases over the next five years. The first sea-front units are expected to be priced from $250,000, and will be available to foreign investors and Maldives residents alike.
‘With its unique location in a paradisiacal setting, next to President’s Island — and full support of the Government of Maldives — we are extremely proud to launch the first Floating City in the world,’ said Paul HTM van de Camp, CEO of Dutch Docklands. ‘This will be an amazing place where locals and foreigners can buy their dream property at affordable prices.’
Sulla nuova isola artificiale ci saranno migliaia di case (a partire da 250 mila dollari per 300 metri quadri), negozi, ristorante, un ospedale, una scuola e un edificio governativo. La progettazione è stata affidata a due società olandesi e i lavori di costruzione inizieranno nel 2022. La città avrà la forma di un corallo
Ecco perché il governo ha annunciato che le Maldive diventeranno una città galleggiante, soluzione adottata appunto per far fronte alla crisi ambientale. Il progetto in realtà è in via di sviluppo da un decennio (ne aveva scritto anche il Corriere, nell’aprile 2010, leggi qui, e all’epoca prevedeva anche un campo da golf galleggiante), ma è stato svelato solo ora. I lavori di costruzione inizieranno nel 2022 e il tutto sarà pronto nella seconda metà del decennio. La città sorgerà su un incrocio di reticoli flessibili e funzionali nella laguna di 200 ettari (pari a due milioni di metri quadri) a dieci minuti di barca dalla capitale Malé e dall’aeroporto internazionale. A progettarla sono state chiamate due società olandesi, Dutch Docklands, esperta in infrastrutture galleggianti, e Waterstudio, che si occupa di pianificazione urbana e architettura. Il risultato finale avrà la forma di un labirinto esagonale, così da assomgiliare a un corallo.
Previsti anche un ospedale e una scuola
Ci saranno migliaia di case di fronte al mare, ispirate alla cultura tradizionale marinara delle Maldive e costruite in modo ecosostenibile. Il prezzo partirà da 250 mila dollari per 300 metri quadri: difficile che le famiglie di pescatori se le potranno permettere, a meno che non riceveranno sovvenzioni dal governo. Alle abitazioni si aggiungeranno hotel, ristoranti, spazi commerciali, porticcioli, un ospedale, una scuola e un edificio governativo. Il sistema di strutture flottanti sarà fissato a un anello di isole, che faranno da base, e a un muro di rottura stabilizzante (come negli atolli). Attraverso un particolare sistema ingegneristico, le isole intorno alla laguna avranno il ruolo di barriere rispetto alla Maldives Floating City. «Questa ingegnosa configurazione riduce l’impatto delle onde della laguna, stabilizzando le strutture e i complessi in superficie», spiega un comunicato stampa. (continua a leggere dopo i link e la foto)
Un particolare delle vie della nuova città galleggiante nel rendering al computer
In armonia con la natura
«La MFC non richiede alcuna bonifica del territorio, quindi ha un impatto minimo sulle barriere coralline», ha detto Mohamed Nasheed, presidente delle Maldive tra il 2008 e il 2012. «Inoltre, verranno coltivate delle nuove, gigantesche barriere coralline che serviranno da frangiflutti. Dobbiamo adattarci al cambiamento climatico senza distruggere la natura, ma collaborando con essa, come propone la nostra città. Alle Maldive non possiamo fermare le onde, ma possiamo innalzarci con loro». Il progetto farà da apripista per altre isole che presto dovranno organizzarsi per salvaguardare il loro territorio e la loro cultura dalla crisi ambientale.
Un particolare di uno degli approdi interni della nuova città galleggiante in progetto alle Maldive, tratto dal rendering al computer
The Maldives is poised to set a world first with the inauguration of its Floating City, which will offer thousands of waterfront residences floating alongside a functional gridwork within a 200-hectare lagoon.
In collaboration with Netherlands-based Dutch Docklands, the warm-water lagoon 10 minutes by boat from the Maldivian capital and Male International Airport has been in the making for more than a decade.
The Maldives Floating City (MFC) is envisioned as a development that would mitigate the effects of climate change and rising sea levels, featuring traditional Maldivian architecture and eco-friendly construction.
Urban-planning and architecture firm Waterstudio is responsible for creating the on-water urban grid. Which is flexible enough to evolve along with its changing inhabitants and global visitors. Buildings will be low-rise flanked by palm-lined streets, with shops, services and homes linked by a network of bridges, canals and docks.
Also joining the MFC homes are hotels, F&B, retail, a marina, hospital, school and government buildings.
“MFC does not require any land reclamation, therefore has a minimal impact on the coral reefs.” Said Mohamed Nasheed, who served as president of the Maldives from 2008- 2012, and is also speaker of parliament and CVF ambassador of Ambition.
“What’s more, giant, new reefs will be grown to act as water breakers. Our adaption to climate change mustn’t destroy nature but work with it, as the MFC proposes. In the Maldives we cannot stop the waves, but we can rise with them.”
Already in the tail end of planning stages, construction for MFC will begin in 2022 and will be completed in phases over the next half decade.
Building a “floating city” of 20,000 houses next to Male, capital of the Maldives, may be the answer for the tiny nation’s agony of finding a new homeland for its populace as some of its coral reef islands face an imminent threat from the rising sea level.
Although Dutch Docklands, a Netherland-based sustainable floating architecture specialists, has already signed up with the government of Maldives to build a “commercial” floating development, comprising a golf course, convention centre, private islands, valued at $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion), it has proposed the idea to build “affordable” housing for the locals.
The company will soon unveil the first floating island with six to eight affordable houses that people can see, feel and walk.
“It is not only about reinforcement of tourism, but also reinforcement of society. It is about giving and taking. We want to share our know how, gained from commercial projects, with the less fortunate and provide them with affordable floating housing,” Paul van de Camp, Chief Executive Officer, Dutch Docklands, told Emirates 24/7.
Over 80 per cent of their 1,190 islands are no more than a meter above sea level, with Male being one of the most densely populated islands in the world. The government had previously thought of buying land from other countries and moving its people there. Maldives is also in need of over 20,000 houses between now and 2022 and they have no more land to build those.
“We are working on the master plan, which we have already partly presented to the government and the President of the Maldives, in which we make affordable floating islands. We can provide them with a whole ‘floating city’ of 20,000 houses next to Male, where the locals can live in floating houses.”
Golf course designer competition in Dubai
Dutch Dockland will also be announcing of the name of the designer’s for their $500-million 18-hole floating golf course soon after this year’s Dubai World Championship.
“We have selected already six top golf course designers, who will each, just after the Dubai World Championship, give a full presentation how they think they can assist us by making not only the first floating course, but also the most environmentally friendly golf course in the world. Soon after this we will then announce the winner,” van de Camp informed.
The course, which will be connected through underwater tunnels, is due for completion in 2015 at the latest. It will be located around 15 minutes by boat from the airport to attract all residents and visitors.
The designers from Waterstudio also look to the future for this house. Architect Koen Olthuis, the author of the project, signed a photo of this building on his Instagram with the words: “Grow your dinner on the roof”.
Undoubtedly, it is possible thanks to a house on water with a greenhouse created on the roof of the building.
This possibility is emphasized by the perverse name of the project, i.e. Hortusboatanicus, which was taken from Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, founded in 1638. Replacing the word “botanicus” with “boatanicus” aptly reflects the character of this unique house. Enjoy your meal!