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Documentary about Floating Cities – Creative Ideas to Combat Climate Change

“Exploring the Future: The Rise of Floating Cities” is a documentary that delves into the emergence of floating cities as a response to rising sea levels caused by climate change. The film highlights the visionary efforts of different experts, including Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio, who is constructing a sustainable floating city in the Maldives, utilizing seawater for cooling purposes. While showcasing the potential of floating cities, the documentary also explores the challenges and complexities involved, such as engineering requirements, socio-economic considerations, and potential impacts on ecosystems. Through captivating visuals and expert analysis, the film provides viewers with a comprehensive understanding of this cutting-edge architectural movement and its potential to reshape urban living in the face of the climate crisis.

Planet E – Floating Cities

Sea levels are rising due to climate change. Many coastal cities are at growing risk of flooding. Architects are trying to react to this development with new ideas, such as floating cities. Architect Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio is constructing a floating city in the Maldives, sustainably cooled with sea water.

Is This Floating Eco-Pod the Future of Overwater Bungalows?

By Terry Ward
Condé Nast Traveler

The sounds of the jungle catch me off guard on my first morning waking up in the SeaPod, a futuristic overwater bungalow off the Caribbean coast of Panama that is now open for overnight stays.

Hidden in the lush surrounding terrain, southern house wrens croon their scratchy wake-up call and whistling kiskadees compete with bellowing Howler monkeys. It’s quite the juxtaposition: my ultra-modern accommodation, complete with Starlink internet, touchscreen controls, and more than 100 sensors that measure everything from wind factor and lightning strikes to the SeaPod’s power and water consumption—and the primordial world at its doorstep.

The SeaPod, of which I’m among the first guests, is completely unlike the traditional thatched roof overwater bungalows I’ve visited elsewhere in French Polynesia and Jamaica—not least because it operates almost entirely on solar power, and harvests rain water on its roof. But unlike typical bungalows that rest permanently atop pillars wedged into the sand or rock, it floats on the water’s surface, temporarily tethered to the seabed with anchors that leave a far smaller footprint on the ocean floor.

“You don’t need to destroy the environment to place them there, since they’re truly floating,” says Laura Fernandes de Barros Marangoni, a post-doctoral researcher with Panama’s Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. “Bungalows and standard coastal resorts do touch the seabed—and tend to be more damaging to the local ecosystems.”

It’s this distinguishing feature, in part, that allows it to act as an artificial reef—not only minimizing damage to its environs, but actually restoring it. The invention of the high-tech ocean-innovation company Ocean Builders, the 845-square-foot SeaPod—whose open, circular design accommodates a kitchen, a small living room, and a bedroom and bathroom—is supported by air-filled steel tubes that rest beneath the water’s surface. Using the solar power it collects, the SeaPod generates a mild electrical current that works to attract calcium carbonate—a substance that not only protects the structure from corrosion and rust, but that also happens to be the building block of another crucial material: coral.

Floating eco pods in the forest.

A rendering of the land-based GreenPod Eco and GreenPod Flagship, which Ocean Builders is also currently in the process of developing.

 Ocean Builders

“Calcium carbonate is the best possible substrate for new coral recruits to settle themselves,” says Ronald Osinga, Assistant Professor in Marine Animal Ecology at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, who advises Ocean Builders on reef restoration projects. “So in this way, natural development of coral biodiversity is enhanced. The SeaPod is likely to become a source of a large variety of coral materials for reef renewal.”

Ocean Builders’ founder, Grant Romundt, became convinced of that while testing a prototype for the SeaPod offshore from Phuket, Thailand, in 2019. Within two months of launching the bare-bones beta version, he was amazed to see coral colonizing the structure’s steel tubing.

“Everywhere you looked there were thousands of fish,” Romundt says. “I was really excited. I realized our houses can restore sea life in the ocean as opposed to a house on land, where you cut down nature to build it—then put a potted plant in the corner to replace what you cut down.”

Romundt, who is Canadian, also has Panamanian residency. (The country’s Panama Residence by Investment Program, also known as the Panama golden visa, offers residence to foreigners willing to make a substantial investment into the country.) He chose Panama to launch the project, he told me, not only for its “beautiful marine environment and attractiveness for on-the-water-living,” but because it lies below the hurricane belt, making it a good place to test the concept’s initial viability. (Down the road, he plans to build hurricane-proof SeaPods to put in places like Florida, where there’s been much interest in the project.)

Romundt had originally conceived of the SeaPod as a residential structure, to expand coastal living options in an eco-friendly way. But the idea to turn the SeaPod into a hospitality project came naturally, he says.

“Giving people an amazing experience of what living in a floating home is like is the best way of growing and expanding our vision globally,” he says. “The steps we are taking here in Panama will be the basis for the future expansion of floating resorts in other parts of the world.”

Here, a dedicated concierge can stock your kitchen with local pineapple and lobster, and arrange experiences like in-pod dining with a personal chef, or excursions with Ocean Builders’ partners to visit other eco-restorative projects.

One morning, on a scuba diving adventure into Portobelo National Park with Jean Carlos Blanco, Executive Director of Reef2Reef Restoration Foundation, I donned a scuba tank to dive within a coral nursery, where some 750 individual corals are growing as part of a project with Panama’s Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The goal, Blanco tells me, is to eventually outplant 5,000 corals within the national park. His organization is also testing 3D-printing with Ocean Builders to develop coral to add to the SeaPods’ submerged steel tubing, another potential generator of marine life.

During another excursion—a hike and kayak trip into Portobelo National Park—my guide, Jason Ashcroft of Portobelo Adventures, shuffles a patch of leaves to reveal a green poison dart frog, and guides me to an island abloom with wild orchids.

Beyond Panama, says Romundt, one of the places Ocean Builders has set its sights on is the Maldives, a destination known for overwater bungalows—although none as tech-forward and eco-restorative as the SeaPod, which is the only project of its kind.

The project, which has already been approved by local partners, will “take the over-the-water bungalow concept that is so popular in the region and build out a fully floating resort based on SeaPods,” Romundt says, adding that more details will be available later this year. Ocean Builders is also in talks with partners in Dubai for a project that will mix residential- and hospitality-oriented SeaPods. They’ve also had inquiries from major hospitality chains, he says, who are “interested in how this can change waterfront vacationing and living”—though he can’t currently specify which ones.

For now, this Panamanian SeaPod—accessed through the fishing village of Puerto Lindo, where a floating dock extends out from Linton Bay Marina—is the only one that guests can book, for two-night minimum stays. Others are under construction in the marina, including a deep-sea version that will have an underwater viewing room, as well as the SeaPod Flagship, crafted with a split-level design. The plan for the near future, permits pending, is to move them to a location deeper within the bay to make them feel more remote, says Romundt.

On the last night of my stay, I untie a stand up paddle board tethered to the SeaPod’s dock. Atop water as smooth as glass, I paddle out into the bay, past mangroves where night herons stalk minnows, to a small island covered with the busy silhouettes of ibises in courting mode.

“Living in a SeaPod is like having a glimpse of what life in the future will be like,” Romundt had told me. “Every week there are upgrades and improvements.”

Right here and now already feels pretty magical to me.

Nederlands bedrijf ontwerpt drijvende stad Malediven


De kans dat de aarde met meer dan 1,5 graad opwarmt, wordt steeds groter. Dat is een drama voor de Malediven, waar veel eilanden dan onder water dreigen te verdwijnen door de stijgende zeespiegel. Nederlandse bedrijven werken samen met de lokale overheid aan een drijvende stad, waar 20.000 mensen kunnen wonen. “De stad bestaat uit een netwerk van 5.000 drijvende gebouwen.”

Met sleepboten werd in februari een klein blok met daarop vier kleurrijke gebouwen van de haven in hoofdstad Male naar een plek op het water gesleept. Het is het eerste bouwblok van iets wat uiteindelijk een compleet eiland met winkels, woningen en scholen moet worden.

Zelfvoorzienende stad

“Verschillende wooneilandjes zijn verbonden via bruggen. Als je op het drijvende eiland woont, merk je eigenlijk niet dat het drijft. Er zijn zelfs zandwegen, zandstranden en bomen die in grote potten staan”, zegt architect Koen Olthuis van WaterstudioNL.

De stad komt in een lagune te liggen, met daaromheen op de ondiepe lagunerand kleine eilanden, die als golfbrekers fungeren en waar onder meer energievoorzieningen staan.

“De stad is zelfvoorzienend, met zonnepanelen. Van een paar kilometer verderop halen we op 700 meter diepte koud water uit de zee, dat gebruiken we voor koeling van de panden. Verder kunnen we de zeewind gebruiken voor ventilatie.”

Olthuis houdt zich al twintig jaar bezig met drijvende woningen. In 2007 stond hij op plek 122 in de lijst met meest invloedrijke personen van Time Magazine. In Nederland vind je verschillende drijvende woningen van zijn hand, onder meer in Dordrecht, Zeewolde en in Amsterdam.

Waterstudio kreeg de opdracht om een drijvende stad in de Malediven te ontwerpen van de eveneens Nederlandse projectontwikkelaar Dutch Docklands.

Fundering van piepschuim en beton

Olthuis: “Drijvende woningen bouwen is eigenlijk niet moeilijk. De fundering bestaat uit een enorm blok van piepschuim en beton. Dat blok is 2,5 meter dik en daar zitten zaken als elektra en riolering in weggewerkt.”

Onder een aantal pleintjes waar drie straten bij elkaar komen, zitten afmeerpalen die zorgen dat de stad niet wegdrijft.

Klimaatopwarming funest

De Malediven bestaat uit bijna 1200 eilandjes. Die zijn zo plat dat ze hooguit een meter boven de zeespiegel uitkomen. Klimaatwetenschappers vrezen dat aan het einde van de 21e eeuw het land verdwenen is, zonder ingrijpen.

Nu de Wereld Meteorologische Organisatie (WMO) gisteren bekend maakte dat de kans stijgt dat de aarde meer dan 1,5 graad opwarmt, is het alle hens aan dek. Het land vreest de klimaatverandering. Op de 26e VN-klimaatconferentie in 2021 zei de Malediviaanse president Ibrahim Mohammed Solih: “Het verschil tussen anderhalve graad Celsius en twee graden Celsius betekent een doodvonnis voor de Malediven.”

De Malediven bestaat grotendeels uit beschermd natuurgebied. Dat zorgde voor vertraging van het bouwproject, legt Olthuis uit. “We moesten aantonen dat we geen schade aanrichten. Zo’n project is ook compleet nieuw voor de lokale overheid.”

Kunstmatig opgespoten eiland

Diezelfde lokale overheid gaf rond de eeuwwisseling uit angst voor klimaatopwarming wel opdracht voor de bouw van het kunstmatige eiland Hulhumale, gecreëerd door miljoenen kubieke meters zand op te spuiten. Op het eiland ligt een internationaal vliegveld en inmiddels wonen er 92.000 mensen.

Olthuis: “Bij het opspuiten van zo’n eiland, creëer je veel meer schade. Je moet bijna 15 meter zand opspuiten om boven het water uit te komen. Bovendien is Hulhumale eigenlijk te laag opgespoten. Het is niet veel hoger dan de andere eilanden. Als de zeespiegel twee meter stijgt is het weer weg. Bij een drijvend eiland maakt het niet uit hoeveel het water stijgt. Het eiland stijgt gewoon mee. Zelfs een tsunami zou geen invloed moeten hebben.”

Vanaf 250.000 dollar

Op het drijvende eiland staan huurwoningen en koopwoningen, waarbij de prijs bij 250.000 dollar start. Over de bouwkosten kan Olthuis niets zeggen. “‘Maar de totale ontwikkelkosten zijn vergelijkbaar met ontwikkelkosten op land. Voor bouwen op water heb je duurdere drijvende funderingen nodig, maar bouwgrond op land kost meer. Het heft elkaar op.”

Olthuis verwacht dat er veel animo is om in de drijvende stad te gaan wonen. “In Male is eigenlijk geen plek meer. Hele gezinnen wonen daar in één kamer. En de bevolking van de Malediven groeit ook, zo keren er veel Maldivianen terug uit het naburige Sri Lanka.”

Project VN

Het idee van drijvende steden is niet nieuw. De Azteekse stad Tenochtitlan dreef al. Via een programma van de Verenigde Naties (VN) wordt aan een drijvende stad bij Zuid-Korea gewerkt. De drijvende stad is 75 hectare groot en biedt plaats aan 12.000 inwoners. De stad moet rond 2025 klaar zijn.

Oplossing voor Nederland

Van New York tot Shanghai, wereldwijd kampen steden kampen met dezelfde problemen. Overbevolking en angst voor overstromingen. Drijvende woningen zijn het antwoord op waterspiegelveranderingen, meent Olthuis.

Als het aan hem ligt, komen er in Nederland ook meer drijvende woningen. “We hebben nu een paar honderd drijvende woningen in ons land gebouwd. De markt is nog klein. Dat terwijl er weinig ruimte meer is om op land te bouwen en we ook hier last hebben van de stijging van de zeespiegel.”

‘Drijvende stad op het IJmeer’

Minister De Jonge wil vanaf 2024 100.000 woningen per jaar bouwen om de woningnood te bestrijden, zo staat in plannen die in maart 2022 gepresenteerd zijn. Maar zeker de Randstad is al bomvol.

Olthuis: “Waarom zou je geen drijvende wijk of stad bij het IJmeer tussen Amsterdam en Almere bouwen. Daar is genoeg plek en we hebben de technische kennis. De politiek moet vooruitstrevender denken. En zo’n drijvende stad kun je ook weer afbreken en naar een andere locatie slepen als het moet.”

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CNN – A floating city in the Maldives begins to take shape

Designed in a pattern similar to brain coral, the city will consist of 5,000 floating units including houses, restaurants, shops and schools, with canals running in between. The first units will be unveiled this month, with residents starting to move in early 2024, and the whole city is due to be completed by 2027.

First island of Maldives Floating City has arrived near Male

Exciting news, the first island of the Floating City in the Maldives has arrived near Male!

The first island of the Floating City in the Maldives near Male. Inspired by traditional Maldivian sea-faring culture and developed in close cooperation with Maldivian authorities. MFC homes will eventually be joined by hotels, restaurants, stylish boutiques and a world-class marina. Maldives Floating City is the first of its kind across the globe – developed to equally embrace sustainability and livability

12 futuristic cities being built around the world, from Saudi Arabia to China

By Maan Jalal
The National News

The Mirror Line, Chengdu Future City and Telosa are among the exciting projects in the pipeline

As the world changes, so must our cities.

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.

BiodiverCity, Malaysia

BiodiverCity, Malaysia. Photo: BIG

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

Chengdu Future City, China. Photo: OMA

Designers: OMA

Location: 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

Akon City, Senegal. Photo: Akon City

Designers: Bakri & Associates Development Consultants

Location: Senegal

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

Telosa, USA. Photo: Telosa

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

Woven City, Japan. Photo: Woven City

Designers: Bjarke Ingels Group

Location: Japan

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

A rendering of Iconic Tower. The Capital Business District (CBD) being built in Cairo’s New Administrative Capital. The 20 skyscrapers in the district include the 385-metre Iconic Tower, which will be the tallest building in Africa. Photo: Dar Al-Handasah

Designers: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Location: Egypt

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

Liberland Metaverse by Zaha Hadid. Photo: 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

Designers: Waterstudio

Location: Maldives

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.

Amaravati, India

A rendering of Amaravati, India. Photo: Foster + Partners

Designers: Foster + Partners

Location: India

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.

Nusantara, Indonesia

Nusantara, the new capital in Indonesia. Photo: Urbanplus

Designers: Urban + practice

Location: Indonesia

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

Net City, China. Photo: NBBJ

Designers: NBBJ Design Firm

Location: China

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.

Ten futuristic cities set to be built around the world

By Nat Barker

As a 170-kilometre-long mirrored megacity in the Saudi desert makes headlines, here is a roundup of 10 futuristic cities currently being planned across the globe.
Global issues such as the housing crisis and climate change are galvanising ambitions for a new generation of high-tech cities.The Line, a 500-metre-tall skyscraper that will house nine million people in northwestern Saudi Arabia, as shown in this video, is the most recent example but not the only one.

BIGFoster + Partners and OMA are among multiple architecture studios helping to masterplan futuristic urban centres, which often claim to be designed with a focus on sustainability.

Below are 10 ambitious cities set to be built in the coming decades:

The Line in Saudi Arabia
Image courtesy of Neom

The Line, Saudi Arabia

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”.


Telosa city
Image courtesy of BIG

Telosa, USA, designed by BIG

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and his studio BIG are master planning Telosa, a city for five million set to be built from scratch on an as-yet undisclosed site in the US desert.

The project is the idea of billionaire entrepreneur Marc Lore, who hopes it will become “the most sustainable city in the world”.

Part of Lore’s vision is that the land will be owned by a community endowment, meaning increases in value could fund the city’s development with resident welfare as the priority.

BiodiverCity masterplan by BIG for Penang Island
Image courtesy of BIG

BiodiverCity, Malaysia, designed by BIG

BIG is also master planning BiodiverCity, a 1,821-hectare development of three artificial islands built off the shore of Malaysia’s Penang Island for the state government.

Each lily-pad-like island is expected to house 15,000 to 18,000 residents and be connected by an autonomous transport network with no cars.

Buildings will be mainly constructed using a combination of bamboo, timber and concrete produced from recycled materials, with an ecological buffer around each district to support biodiversity.

Capital Cairo by SOM
Image courtesy of SOM

New Administrative Capital, Egypt, designed by SOM

Egypt is building an entirely new capital city for up to seven million people in order to relieve congestion in rapidly growing Cairo, its current capital.

Architecture firm SOM produced a masterplan for the privately funded project, which will cover 700 square kilometres and feature one of the world’s largest urban parks.

Indonesia’s government has also announced major plans to build a new capital city on the island of Borneo. Its existing capital Jakarta is the world’s fastest-sinking city, having sunk by 2.5 metres in the 10 years to 2019.

Foster + Partners Amaravati Masterplan
Image courtesy of Foster + Partners

Amaravati, India, designed by Foster + Partners

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.

Smart Forest City in Mexico by Stefano Boeri
Image courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti

Smart Forest City, Mexico, designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti

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 by Partisans
Image is by Norm Li

The Orbit, Canada, designed by Partisans

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.

Maldives Floating City render from above
Image courtesy of Waterstudio/Dutch Docklands Maldives

Maldives Floating City, Maldives, designed by Waterstudio

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.

Another prototype climate-resilient floating city is being designed by Danish studio BIG together with Samoo and tech company Oceanix for the seas off Busan in South Korea.

Find out more about Maldives Floating City ›

A cluster of green-roofed buildings within a masterplan by OMA
Image courtesy of OMA

Chengdu Future City, China, designed by OMA

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.

Innovation Park by Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects and Tom Wiscombe Architecture 
Image courtesy of Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects and Tom Wiscombe Architecture

Innovation Park, USA, designed by Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects and Tom Wiscombe Architecture

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.

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Maldives Floating City reinvents living in a water world

By Laura Cowan
A circular area filled with a floating city within

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.

A rendering of seating area amidst palm trees

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.

Boats docks at a harbor

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.

Colorful houses in a neighborhood rendering

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.

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Schwimmende Stadt nimmt Form an: Entsteht hier die Zukunft des Wohnens?

By Hannah Klaiber

Der Meeresspiegel steigt. Für manche Regionen heißt das für die Zukunft, dass sie teilweise unter Wasser stehen oder ganz von der Landkarte verschwinden werden. Eine Möglichkeit, Städte vor diesem Schicksal zu bewahren, wird jetzt auf den Malediven getestet.

Von Hannah Klaiber
 • 2 Min. Lesezeit
Ein erstaunliches Architekturprojekt auf den Malediven bringt eine Stadt zum Schwimmen. (Grafik: Waterstudio / Dutch Docklands Maldives)

Auf dem Inselstaat im Indischen Ozean wird aktuell eine Stadt gebaut, für die der steigende Meeresspiegel keine Bedrohung darstellt: die Maldives Floating City. Sie schwimmt, wie der Name bereits andeutet, auf dem Wasser. Steigt das Wasser, steigt sie einfach mit.

Das bietet die schwimmende Stadt ihren Bewohnern

Weltweit gibt es weitere Pläne für derartige Städte, etwa in Südkorea. Die Niederlande sind ein Zentrum dieser Idee: Hier gibt es bereits schwimmende Parks und ein schwimmendes Bürogebäude.

Wie auf der Homepage der Maldives Floating City zu lesen ist, sollen die Bauarbeiten 2022 beginnen und im Laufe der nächsten fünf Jahre vollendet werden. Dann soll die Stadt Platz für 20.000 Menschen bieten. Jedes der farbenfrohen Häuser soll dann direkt am Meer liegen. Statt Klimaanlagen sollen die Menschen Abkühlung durch die Nutzung von Tiefseewasser erhalten. Die Objekte sollen für ein breites Klientel erschwinglich sein, die günstigste Option liege bei etwa 142.000 Euro für eine Atelierwohnung.

Schadet das Projekt der Umwelt?

Die Stadt ist ausgestattet mit allem, was man braucht, beispielsweise Restaurants, Geschäfte und Schulen. Bei den Fortbewegungsmitteln müssen die Bewohner hingegen Abstriche machen, Autos sind nämlich verboten. Dafür könnten sie Boote oder Räder nutzen.

Um die Stadt angelegte Korallenriffe sollen als Wellenbrecher dienen und die Stadt so stabilisieren, dass niemand seekrank wird. Natürlich gab es auch Umweltbedenken bei diesem Projekt. Koen Olthuis ist der Gründer von Waterstudio, der Architekturfirma, die die Stadt designt hat. Er sagte gegenüber CNN, dass Korallenexperten alles streng geprüft hätten. Zudem würden an der Unterseite der Stadt künstliche Korallenbänke angebracht, die das natürliche Wachstum von Korallen stimulieren sollen.

„Von Klima-Flüchtlingen zu Klima-Innovatoren“

Dass die Malediven besonderes Interesse an dem Projekt haben, sollte nicht überraschen. 80 Prozent der Landfläche liegen hier weniger als einen Meter über dem Meeresspiegel. Wenn die „Maldive Floating City“ ein Erfolg wird, wäre das ein riesiger Schritt für die bedroht Nation, wie Koen Olthuis erklärt. „Die Bewohner der Malediven würden damit von Klima-Flüchtlingen zu Klima-Innovatoren werden.“

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