(CNN) — Floating homes, luxury living and smart home technology aren’t necessarily things that tend to go hand in hand.
But Ocean Builders, a Panama-based company that specializes in innovative marine technology, has just unveiled a fleet of “revolutionary living pods” that manage to bring all three together.
Described as the “world’s first eco-restorative homes,” the pods, which range from around $295,000 to $1.5 million in price, are currently under construction in the Linton Bay Marina on the north coast of Panama.
Designed by Dutch architect Koen Olthuis and his team at Waterstudio, the three models available include flagship model the SeaPod, built for aquatic living, the GreenPod, devised for land use, and the EcoPod, an ecologically and economically friendly option.
A rendering of the Seapod, one of three upcoming pod models from Panama-based company Ocean Builders.
The Seapod was conceptualized by Rüdiger Koch, Head of Engineering at Ocean Builders, along with Chief Executive Officer Grant Romundt, as a solution to the lack of space in popular beach destinations.
The elevated structure provides 833 square feet (73 square meters) of living space, including a master bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom, spread across three and a half levels.
With room for two people, the unit utilizes over 1,688 cubic feet of air-filled steel tubes to float 7.5 feet (2.2 meters) over the waves, and features 575 square feet of panoramic windows and 360-degree ocean views.
Romundt hopes the design will challenge perceptions of homes and travel, as well as allow residents to live on the water without having to make sacrifices when it comes to the “luxuries of modern living.”
“Normally when you live on the water, it’s on a boat, which has a living situation that is unacceptable to most people,” Romundt tells CNN Travel.
“So we’ve designed a home that floats on the water that gives you an experience of living on land, but even more.”
The pods are to be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, along with customizable applications that tailor the design and functionality to suit those inside.
The elevated structure was designed by Dutch architect Koen Olthuis and the Waterstudio team.
Meanwhile, special “smart rings” worn by residents will enable them to unlock doors and switch their music on at the wave of a hand.
“If [technology company] Apple had built a home, I think you would end up with the SeaPod, or the GreenPod, or the EcoPod,” says Romundt. “There’s a lot of technology built into the homes.
“I like to think of it as, instead of having a phone as a digital assistant, your home actually becomes your assistant, and you can use it to optimize your life.”
The pods will initially be located in an area close to the Linton Bay Marina. However, the Ocean Builders team hope to be able to distribute them internationally once they’re confident the technology can be supported elsewhere.
A long-time advocate for oceanfront living, Romundt previously lived in a floating home in Toronto, and says it’s a lifestyle that’s hard to match.
“There’s just something really magical about being able to get up in the morning, walk downstairs, jump on a paddleboard and go for a paddle,” he explains.
The units are currently under construction in Panama, with sales due to launch online later this year.
“It’s very peaceful and beautiful. Most people spend all year dreaming of their two-week vacation where they go to a tropical island, hang out, relax, regenerate and restore themselves.
“So why not just live like that all year round? It’s so easy to be able to work remotely now.”
While those who opt to live in one of these particular units will likely need to have a sense of adventure, as well as a fondness for water, Romundt says the team don’t necessarily have a specific type of customer in mind.
In fact, he’s confident that the majority of those who get to experience the Seapod for just a few minutes will jump at the chance of owning one.
“When I lived in my floating house in Toronto, every single person that came over to visit fell in love with the place,” he says.
“So all I need to do is to get people to step on board a Seapod for five minutes. The experience will just blow your mind. It’s really incredible.”
But what about practicalities such as buying groceries, as well as traveling back and forth from the pod to the mainland?
According to Romundt, customized aerial delivery drones are to be used to deliver items such as food and medicine, as well as “everyday smaller items.”
For larger deliveries, there’s a separate autonomous vessel, which will also function as an ocean recycling vessel, collecting garbage and debris in order to keep the surrounding area clean.
The pods are to be “built and managed in harmony with the surrounding area.”
Residents and visitors can be transported to and from the SeaPod via dinghy boats, jet skis, local water taxis, and/or their own boats or vessels.
And although they certainly seem to be geared towards those with a more minimalist approach, there’s a storage area measuring 1,250 square feet inside.
With a focus on sustainability, the pods have been devised “to benefit the surrounding environment” and provide “a natural habitat for ocean life to occupy and thrive.”
“We’re trying to build and design a home that is good for the environment, and doesn’t harm the environment,” explains Romundt.
“And we’re always trying to innovate and to find ways to do that in an even better way. We’re not perfect right now, but we’re trying to get better and better all the time.”
The first completed pods are to be revealed online in late September, and potential buyers will be able to go and view them for themselves soon after.
“People have been trying to buy them for years,” Romundt says, explaining that the Ocean Builders team decided not to take deposits until buyers could actually see the pods in real life.
Een pod boven zee, daar hebben we toch wat vragen over.
Jachten zijn zó 2021, trendsetters denken al druk na over nieuwe interactie met de zee. Een van hen is de Nederlandse architect Koen Olthuis die voor Ocean Builders SeaPods ontwierp als ‘s werelds eerste ‘eco-restorative floating homes’. Wat heerlijke vaagtaal is voor: ‘Hoe dan?!’
Olthuis ontwierp drie pods: de SeaPod voor leven op het water, de GreenPod voor op het land en de EcoPod als milieuvriendelijk alternatief. Bij die laatste twee kun je je vast wel iets voorstellen, de SeaPod moet iets doen aan de groeiende vraag naar huizen aan de kust #oceanfrontliving
Elke pod, volmaakt voor zelfisolatie in tijden van pandemieën, is zo’n elf meter hoog, bevindt zich zo’n 2,5 meter boven de waterspiegel en is goed beschouwd een enorme dobber.
Hij biedt zo’n 44 vierkante meter woonruimte op drie halve etages, dit is de ‘water patio’. Verder heb je een slaapkamer, een woonkamer…
… een keuken, een badkamer (wc-papier behoort tot het verleden, je spoelt je schoon, de grote boodschap wordt verbrandt en met die warmte wordt weer water verwarmd – alles is op duurzaamheid gericht) en een opslagruimte.
De eigenaar krijgt een smartring om de high techy-tech mee te bedienen, drones leveren boodschappen af.
In de douche (het is meer een compacte, complete spa) zit een klimwand om mee op het dak te komen, je dient dus wel behoorlijk fit te zijn om je boodschappen op te pikken.
De ontwerpers noemen dit ‘a fun and unique way to get to the roof’. Misschien dat de drone ook op het plateau beneden kan landen, voor wie niet klautervaardig is? Plus: hoe kom je met die doos beneden als je je handen nodig hebt op die klimwand? Zo. Veel. Vragen!
Hoewel de pods op de meeste tekeningen in zee liggen, zie je op andere schetsen onderaan toch een klein plateau om op te kunnen stappen voor je de trap naar boven neemt door de schacht. Hoe je er komt is ook niet duidelijk, vermoedelijk met een e-tender, al dan niet zelfvarend.
De onderkant biedt ‘een natuurlijke habitat voor het zeeleven’. De pods – ze worden gebouwd in Panama – zijn vanaf september te koop vanaf 295.000 dollar tot 1,5 miljoen dollar.
Het is een prachtig concept, maar niet duidelijk is hoe de megadobber zich houdt in zwaar weer. De stabiliteit wordt aangeprezen, maar je kunt je voorstellen dat de champagne uit je glas klotst bij een flinke storm. Plus: moet ie niet op een of andere manier geankerd worden, om te voorkomen die ie wegdrijft? En werkt het systeem ook nog als de onderkant onder de algen, kokkels en mosselen zit?
Ook niet helemaal duidelijk is wie dit soort dingen voor de kust zou willen hebben: mensen steigeren al over windparken op zee die amper te zien zijn vanaf de wal – wil je echt het collectieve uitzicht over zee verbreken met een paar bewoonde dobbers? Hoe dan ook: binnenkort vast te bewonderen, voor een rijke enclave ergens ter wereld. En kudos voor Koen, voor deze nieuwe Nederlandse kijk op leven met/op het water!
The SeaPods come with a luxe three-story interior that can be controlled by a smart ring.
These Floating Homes Are a Luxe Eco-Friendly Residence on the Sea
The life aquatic is now looking even more appealing thanks to Ocean Builders.
The Panama-based company, which specializes in innovative marine technology, has just unveiled a new fleet of pods homes designed for life on the ocean. The singular abodes pair quality craftsmanship with the latest green tech to ensure you can live both comfortably and sustainably on the seas.
The range includes three models that were each penned by Dutch architect Koen Olthius. The SeaPod is built for aquatic living, the GreenPod is engineered for the land and the EcoPod is the environmentally friendly option. Billed as the world’s first eco-restorative floating home, the SeaPod was designed to address the lack of space in desirable seaside destinations.
The interior of the EcoPod.
“Every day thousands of people all over the world move closer to the top 15 major metropolitan cities which are within 50 miles of a coastline—a trend that will continue to grow,” Ocean Builders CEO Grant Romundt said in a statement.
Essentially, the elevated offshore structures give travelers and residents alike a chance to live on the water in the lap of luxury. Each pod sits nearly eight feet above the waves and offers 830 square feet of living space. The interior, which is spread across three levels, comprises a primary bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and a large storage space. Each home is also equipped with 575 square feet of panoramic windows and a patio for unobstructed ocean views.
These are smart pods, too. Special software allows residents to control everything from the lighting and temperature to shower heat and water pressure. Each pod also comes with a wearable smart ring for the owner. With a simple wave of the hand, you can unlock doors, turn on music and more.
If that’s not futuristic enough, a fleet of drones will be used to drop food, medicine and everyday items to the pods, while larger autonomous vessels will carry out bigger deliveries like furniture and luggage. There will also be another self-sailing vessel to collect trash and clean up the area.
A drone dropping a delivery to an EcoPod. Ocean Builders
As for the eco-restorative part, Ocean Builders says it has developed a way to create a natural habitat for ocean life underneath each home. In turn, this will help create thriving underwater ecosystems.
“We’ve been motivated by the opportunity to change and challenge the traditional real estate and tourism models and create first-in-class living experiences that can give back to our ocean environment,” Romundt adds.
The pods are currently manufactured in Panama and will be located there for the first year. Eventually, the pods will be shipped elsewhere. Available to order from September, the floating homes start at roughly $295,000 and can go up to $1.5 million based on upgrades and customization. Ocean Builders claims it will have the first 100 custom pods either in production or delivered by the end of 2023. It also says the second rollout of 1,000 pods will begin in 2024.
Bring on the life aquatic.
Click here to see all the photos of the SeaPod and EcoPod.
With world’s population continuing to increase and climate change drastically affecting our environment, many metropolises are struggling to grow, develop and even support citizens within current and traditional urban designs.
Governments, entrepreneurs and technology companies are employing some of the world’s leading architects and designers to rethink the idea of cities, how people can interact and how to live within them.
From reclaimed land, groundbreaking skyscrapers in the desert and cities rising in the metaverse, here are 12 incredible futuristic cities redefining the urban spaces we live in.
The Mirror Line, Saudi Arabia
Designers: Morphosis Architects
Location: Saudi Arabia
The $500 billion Neom project in Saudi Arabia is set to be home to a record-setting 170-kilometre-long skyscraper called the Mirror Line.
It will be the world’s largest structure, comprising of two buildings up to 490 metres tall, running parallel to each other. The structures will be connected by walkways and a high-speed transport system, which will connect one end of the city to the other in 20 minutes.
Designed by the US-based Morphosis Architects, The Mirror Line promises to be walkable city, with no cars and zero carbon emissions.
Designers: Bjarke Ingels Group
Location: Penang Island, Malaysia
BiodiverCity is a planned sustainable city made of three artificial islands built off the shore of Penang Island in Malaysia.
A city where people and nature co-exist, each of BiodiverCity’s lily pad-shaped islands will be home to between 15,000 and 18,000 residents. Structures in the city will be built using natural materials such as timber, bamboo and concrete created from recycled materials.
The city is also planned to be a global travel destination with 4.6km of public beaches and 600 acres of parks along with a 25km waterfront. BiodiverCity will also be a car-free environment, where pedestrians can use the planned autonomous water, air and land public transportation network.
Chengdu Future City, China
China’s planned Chengdu Future City is challenging conventions of urban planning by proposing a master plan not based on traditional, car-oriented road networks.
The six distinct zones of the city will be connected though a smart mobility network using automated vehicles. The zones will also be pedestrian-friendly and within a 10-minute walk of each other.
The 4.6-square-kilometre site also includes an international education park where buildings, including a university, will have landscaped terraces, designed to be an extension of the natural formed landscape.
Akon City, Senegal
Designers: Bakri & Associates Development Consultants
Akon City is a planned 2,000-acre futuristic city that will be located along the Atlantic coast, in south of Dakar, Senegal.
Conceived and launched by singer and entrepreneur Akon, the smart city will be eco-friendly and powered by renewable energy. Described by Akon as a “real-life Wakanda”, a reference to the film Black Panther that inspired him, Akon City is set to have large skyscrapers, shopping malls, parks, universities, a stadium and a technology hub.
Akon City’s goal is to stimulate the local economy and create jobs while using the latest technologies of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Telosa, the US
Designers: Bjarke Ingels
Location: The US
Announced in September 2021, Telosa is a proposed city conceived by billionaire Marc Lore, to be built somewhere in the US western desert.
With a planned population of five million people by 2050, Telosa will be a “15-minute city” where all amenities from schools, workplaces and goods and services will be a 15-minute commute from residents’ homes.
Lore hopes Telosa will be the most sustainable city in the world where no vehicles powered by fossil fuels will be permitted. His vision also includes a reformed version of capitalism where wealth is created in a fair way, keeping residents’ quality of life as a priority.
Woven City, Japan
Designers: Bjarke Ingels Group
Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has already started construction on a 175-acre smart city at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan.
Woven City will be one of the world’s first smart cities: a fully autonomous community designed to test new technologies such as automated driving, robotics and artificial intelligence in a real-world environment.
The city will be fully sustainable, powered by hydrogen fuel cells where pedestrian streets will intersect with those dedicated to self-driving cars. Wood will be the primary material for building to reduce carbon footprint and rooftops will be covered in photo-voltaic panels to generate solar power.
Over the next five years, there will be a starting population of 360 residents with plans to grow the number of residents over the coming years. Initially they will be inventors, senior citizens and young families who will test and develop smart technologies.
New Administrative Capital, Egypt
Designers: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Capital City is part of a larger initiative for Egypt’s 2030 Vision. The yet-to-be-named new capital city, located 45 kilometres east of Cairo, will be home to up to seven million people.
The privately funded project will cover 700 square kilometres and include 21 residential districts and 25 dedicated districts, 1,250 mosques and churches, solar energy farms and one of the world’s largest urban parks.
The Cairo Light Rail Transit, inaugurated last month, will connect Cairo to the New Administrative Capital. One of the main drivers for the construction was to ease congestion in Cairo, which has a population of more than 10 million people and is continuing to grow.
Liberland, the metaverse
Designers: Zaha Hadid
Location: The metaverse
As the metaverse continues to inform how we could interact and occupy the digital realm, it’s also challenging how we view the idea of cities and nations.
British architecture firm Zaha Hadid, in collaboration with the micronation of Liberland and ArchAgenda, is creating a “cyber-urban” city in the metaverse named Liberland Metaverse.
The completely virtual city is based on the Free Republic of Liberland — a micronation claimed by Czech politician Vit Jedlicka, which exists in the disputed land between Croatia and Serbia.
Liberland Metaverse will act as a virtual industry synergy and networking hub for crypto projects, crypto companies and crypto events. People will be able to buy plots of land with cryptocurrency and enter digital buildings as avatars.
Floating City, Maldives
Maldives Floating City will be a car-free zone.
One of the first floating cities in the world is being built in the Maldives in response to rising sea levels. With climate change threatening to change many cities around the world, 80 per cent of the Maldives is expected to be uninhabitable by 2050.
Maldives Floating City is currently being designed to home 20,000 people as soon as 2024.
The project is being designed to be climate resistant and work with the rising sea levels. The eco-friendly development will include 5,000 low-rise floating homes built on hexagonal structures that rise with the sea.
Designers: Foster + Partners
The city of Amaravati will be the new administrative capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in south-eastern India.
Situated on the banks of the River Krishna, Amaravati’s structure will be defined by a strong urban grid inspired by Lutyens’ Delhi and Central Park in New York.
Greenery and water will make up at least 60 per cent of the city with the aim of making Amaravati one of the most sustainable cities in the world, complete with the latest technologies such as conversion of light into electricity through the use of photovoltaics.
The transportation will include electric vehicles, water taxis and dedicated cycle routes with numerous pedestrian-friendly routes such as shaded streets and squares.
Designers: Urban + practice
Indonesia plans to move its capital Jakarta to East Kalimantan, between North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara on the Indonesian part of Borneo island.
Nusantara, the new capital, is planned to be a sustainable city where high-rise structures will utilise 100 per cent eco-friendly construction and use entirely renewable energy. However, environmental groups have been vocal about how Nusantara’s construction could cause damage to one of the world’s oldest rainforests.
The cost of moving the capital is estimated to cost $35 billion and is seen as a necessary step for Indonesia’s future. Building Nusantara will help with the economic growth of Indonesia and ease pressures on Jakarta, which suffers from continuous traffic jams and issues with pollution owing to a population of more than 10 million people.
Net City, China
Designers: NBBJ Design Firm
China’s answer to Google, technology firm Tencent is building a city. The 22-million-square-foot urban development named Net City will be built on reclaimed land and will be designed to accommodate a population of 80,000 people.
The planned layout of Net City is designed to reduce traffic by including roads for buses, bikes and automated vehicles.
Net City is planned to be sustainable with rooftop solar panels and advanced technological systems for reusing wastewater.
The Saudi Arabian government this week unveiled visuals for a 170-kilometre-long, 500-metre-tall linear city planned as part of the Neom mega-development.
Despite its length and expected population of nine million, The Line will be just 200 metres wide with a transport system promised to connect the two ends within 20 minutes.
The city was designed as an alternative to the traditional circular urban layout, with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman touting it as “a model for nature preservation and enhanced human livability”.
Set on the banks of the River Krishna, the city of Amaravati will act as the new capital for the Andhra Pradesh state in India.
It will be arranged around a needle-topped government building and see more than 60 per cent of its central district occupied by greenery or water.
“The design brings together our decades-long research into sustainable cities, incorporating the latest technologies that are currently being developed in India,” said Foster + Partners, which is also master planning large neighbourhoods in Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok.
Italian architect Stefano Boeri is working on plans for a forested smart city near Cancun that will contain 7.5 million carbon-absorbing plants and trees across its 557 hectares.
It will be designed to house 130,000 people in affordable, plant-covered homes and aims to pioneer a more sustainable way of city living.
“Smart Forest City Cancun is a botanical garden within a contemporary city, based on Mayan heritage and in its relationship with the natural and sacred world,” said Boeri’s studio. “An urban ecosystem where nature and city are intertwined and act as one organism.”
The Orbit is another planned smart city, intended to transform a Canadian farming town through extensive use of fibre optics, drones and autonomous vehicles, with development decisions based on big data.
Toronto firm Partisans has described its design as a modern version of the garden city movement that emerged in the UK in the early 20th century.
It aims to balance new technologies with the existing agrarian setting while growing the town from 30,000 to 150,000 residents.
Rising sea levels due to climate change mean much of The Maldives is expected to be uninhabitable by 2050. In response, the country’s government has partnered with architecture practice Waterstudio to design a floating city that will house 20,000 people in a lagoon near its capital as soon as 2024.
Billed by the architects as “the world’s first true floating island city”, it will include 5,000 low-rise floating homes and be built on a series of hexagonal structures that rise with the sea.
Dutch architecture firm OMA has produced a car-free masterplan for the capital of China’s Sichuan province that it claims challenges conventional urban planning models that are driven by road networks or maximising gross floor area.
Set to occupy a 4.6 square kilometre site, Chengdu Future City will instead focus on the land’s rolling topography, with six distinct zones designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape.
All buildings within each zone will be accessible by foot within 10 minutes, while a “smart mobility network” utilising automated vehicles will connect the city to the rest of Chengdu.
Cryptocurrency magnate Jeffrey Berns plans to develop part of Nevada‘s desert into a smart city powered by blockchain technology.
With the help of architecture studios Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects and Tom Wiscombe Architecture, he intends to transform the 27,113-hectare plot into a community where people can bank, vote and store data without involvement from governments or third parties.
This design was in line with the concept of living with nature and learning to improve and respect natural coral. Furthermore, Maldives is the global center for coral protection.
Therefore, the housing are “scarless developments” because of their attempt to not damage the environment on which they are built. Sustainability of the new community is also a top priority, with the developers finding new methods to “interact in a durable way with our surroundings.”
In specific focus here is how to increase sustainability using water. Maldives Floating City is a development of Dutch Docklands in partnership with the Government of Maldives. Masterplan architect for the project was Waterstudio from the Netherlands. The location: a lagoon close to the capital Male and the International Airport at over 500 acres in size.
Additionally, the city is mixed use, with residential, hotels, shopping and restaurants located within the grid. Sales will start soon, and expressions of interest can be made on the city’s website. Most importantly, this is the first floating city with thousands of houses with full governmental support that allows for legal title deeds for owners. The floating city also offers the possibility to obtain a residence permit with the purchase of a house, which means internationals can live here semi permanently in Maldives.
On the other hand, the design of the homes was inspired by the history of this seafaring nation in the tropics. The city is designed as a boating community, using canals as the main infrastructure for shipping and travel. Land-based travel is restricted to walking, biking and noise-free electric scoots, with no cars allowed.
The Maldives Floating City also has green technology, including a smart grid that responds to dynamic demand, weather and climate change. Sustainable development technologies protect the marine ecosystem.
All in all, the city aims to create new habitat for the marine ecosystem it is built on rather than destroying it. New artificial coral banks will be attached to the underside of the city, which can help coral attach and grow naturally. The coral reefs of the lagoon, in turn, act as a natural wave breaker to protect against storm damage.
A city is rising from the waters of the Indian Ocean. In a turquoise lagoon, just 10 minutes by boat from Male, the Maldivian capital, a floating city, big enough to house 20,000 people, is being constructed. — CNN
Called the Maldives Floating City, the first-of-its-kind development is a joint venture between property developer Dutch Docklands and the Government of the Maldives. Netherlands-based architecture firm Waterstudio, which focuses on large-scale, sustainable floating projects, is the architecture firm behind the project’s design. Taking the shape of a brain coral, the city is structured as a traditional boating community, with a network of canals that will serve as the main infrastructure for logistics and gateways. It will consist of 5,000 floating units, along with houses, restaurants, shops, and schools.
The city was conceived as a practical solution to sea-level rise in one of the world’s most vulnerable nations to climate change. Its modular units are constructed in a local shipyard and towed to the city when complete. They are then attached to a large underwater concrete hull, which is screwed to the seabed on telescopic steel stilts. In addition, artificial coral banks made from glass foam will be connected to the underside of the city in order to stimulate natural coral growth. Solar power, local sewage treatment and repurposing, and deep water sea cooling are among the sustainable features that will allow the city to be self-sufficient. The first units at Maldives Floating City will be unveiled this month, with residents set to arrive in early 2024. The entire city is due to be completed by 2027.
By Jonathan Ore & Morgan Passi
Venture between Maldivian government and a Dutch firm hopes to provide floating homes for 20K people
The Maldives are building a floating city to address rising sea levels and population
The Maldives is in the early stages of building an elaborately designed floating city in an effort to ensure future livable spaces, as sea levels continue to rise, and provide new affordable spaces for the densely populated island nation.
The city, currently dubbed “Maldives Floating City,” is a joint project between the government of the Maldives and property developer Dutch Docklands.
“A floating city should look exactly the same like normal cities. So with sandy roads, beautiful, colourful houses. But then if you look under the city, it’s floating,” said Koen Olthuis, architect and founder of Waterstudio, the architectural firm that designed the city.
“That means that the whole city can move up and down with [tides] and with extreme floods and with sea level rise. But it won’t be different than a normal city,” he told As It Happens guest host Tom Harrington.
The city will include a mix of affordable housing as well as higher-end homes, in addition to restaurants, hotels and shops. Prices for the homes will range from $150,000 US ($194,000 Cdn) for a studio apartment to $250,000 ($323,000 Cdn) for family homes.
A total of 5,000 living units are planned, with a capacity of housing 20,000 people once construction is completed some time in 2027. The Maldives and Dutch Docklands are set to unveil its first completed units in the coming weeks, with people starting to move in by 2024.
Abdulla Mausoom, the Maldives’ minister of tourism, said the city “will compliment futuristic, sustainable tourism and living” in a tweet on Wednesday.
Rising sea levels, accelerated by climate change, pose a particularly dire threat to the Maldives, which is made up of over 1,100 islands, many of them barely a metre above sea level.
As Olthuis explains, much of the Maldives are surrounded by coral reefs, some of which should help protect the 200-hectare floating city from the worst storms and other extreme weather the Indian Ocean might offer.
The Maldivian capital Malé itself is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with a population of over 200,000 people packed on an island about eight square kilometres across.
Olthuis said you might consider the floating city an extension of Malé itself because of its close proximity, allowing residents access to already-existing infrastructure such as schools and health-care.
Possible living solutions for around the world
This isn’t the only time a floating city has been proposed as a direct answer to rising sea levels. The South Korean city of Busan announced in December that it was working on a prototype for Oceanix, a similar city that would expand off the coast of the shipping city of Busan.
The Busan government announced it was a joint project with UN-Habitat, the United Nation’s agency for urban and sustainable development.
Olthuis said the Maldives project has been in the works for nearly 10 years, and that the planning and design work that has so far gone into the Maldives city could be applied to similar projects in other coastal communities around the world threatened by rising sea levels.
“If you look at Miami, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, they all have the same problems: lack of space, threat of sea level,” he said.
“They have to make the move from fighting against the water, to living with water.”
Het Nederlandse architectenbureau Waterstudio heeft een ontwerp gemaakt voor een drijvende stad in de Malediven, een eilandengroep in de Indische Oceaan.
De Floating City van de Malediven, zoals het ontwerp heet, is een uitgestrekte groep van modulaire drijvende platforms in het patroon van hersenkoraal.
Koen Olthuis, de oprichter van Waterstudio, vertelt aan Insider dat het project een samenwerking is tussen de Dutch Docklands, een lokale projectontwikkelaar en de plaatselijke overheid in Male. Een van de doelen is om meer ruimte vrij te maken voor woningbouw.
Olthuis vertelt dat de bouw van de drijvende stad ook een oplossing kan bieden voor de dreigende stijging van zeespiegel waar komende generaties mee te maken krijgen.
“Het wordt een begaanbare stad met drijvende straten. Er worden boten ingezet voor het vervoer van goederen en mensen binnen de stad en naar de hoofdstad Male”, aldus Olthuis.
Hij geeft aan dat de kosten van levensonderhoud in de stad zelf vergelijkbaar zouden zijn met die op het land in de Malediven. “In 2027 zouden er 20.000 mensen moeten wonen in 5.000 huizen,” schat Olthuis.
Volgens CNN zal de stad zijn eerste woningen deze maand nog openstellen voor bezichtiging. De prijzen starten bij omgerekend 142.500 euro voor een studio-appartement, en lopen op tot 237.500 euro voor een eengezinswoning. De ontwikkelaars verwachten dat de bewoners begin 2024 hun intrek zullen nemen op het eiland. De hele stad moet in 2027 klaar zal zijn.
Volgens het persbericht van de projectontwikkelaar zal de stad bestaan uit modulaire, zeshoekige segmenten die verbonden zijn met een buitenste ring van barrière-eilanden. Het onderste deel van de stad wordt bevestigd aan stabilisatoren die bescherming bieden tegen de golven en stroming.
Het idee voor de drijvende stad op de Malediven is vergelijkbaar met dat van Oceanix, een concept voor een drijvende stad die bestaat uit onderling verbonden platforms. Busan, een havenstad in Zuid-Korea, gaf toestemming voor het door de VN gesteunde project, dat plaats zal bieden aan ongeveer 12.000 mensen.
Patrick Verkooijen, CEO van de klimaatdenktank Global Center on Adaptation, vertelde CNN dat hij het idee van een drijvende stad een goede oplossing vindt voor de stijgende zeespiegel.
“De kosten van het niet aanpassen aan deze overstromingsrisico’s zijn buitengewoon hoog”, aldus Verkooijen tegen CNN. “We hebben een keuze te maken: of we stellen uit en betalen de prijs, of we plannen en groeien. Drijvende kantoren en drijvende gebouwen maken deel uit van deze planning voor het klimaat van de toekomst.”
A Dutch architectural firm is poised to build an innovative floating city in the Maldives, a Southern Asia nation of islands located in the Indian Ocean.
The city, designed by Dutch firm Waterstudio, is slated to house 20,000 people in a web of 5,000 floating buildings, all of which will include homes, shops and even schools, according to the official website for Maldives Floating City. They’ll all be interspersed as a mass of modular floating platforms in the pattern of a brain coral.
The floating city will be located just 10 minutes by boat from Male, the capital of the Maldives. The project is headed by Waterstudio in collaboration with developer Dutch Docklands and the local government in Male. Koen Olthuis told CNN the city will feature studio apartments for $150,000 and family units for $250,000.
“With its unique location in a paradisiacal setting, we are extremely proud to launch the first Floating City in the world,” said Paul HTM van de Camp, CEO of Dutch Docklands, in a news release. “This will be an amazing place where locals and foreigners can buy their dream property at affordable prices”
The designs of the floating city are aimed to offer a solution to the threat of rising sea levels for generations ahead, Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed said in a news release.
“This Maldives Floating City does not require any land reclamation, therefore has a minimal impact on the coral reefs. 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 Maldives Floating City proposes. In the Maldives we cannot stop the waves, but we can rise with them.”
Below is a look at some of the epic images, provided to USA TODAY by Waterstudio.
An exterior look of the floating water city slated to be built in Maldives.
WATERSTUDIO/DUTCH DOCKLANDS MALDIVES
An interior look at designs for the floating water city in Maldives.
WATERSTUDIO/DUTCH DOCKLANDS (MALDIVES)
A look at the town of a floating water city in Maldives.