South Korean city of Busan signed historic agreement with UN-HABITAT, the United Nations Human Settlements program focused on ecological sustainability, and the private company Oceanix to build the world’s first prototype of a self-sufficient floating city.
The idea of building a city of this type, which could house 10,000 people, is not new and was revealed at a UN roundtable in April 2019 along with the aforementioned entities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Explorers Club.
The main objective of the project is cope with climate change and create a safe environment that would not be affected by rising sea levels, a real threat that many coastal cities currently face.
What would the new city be like?
The new city will consist of floating platforms of two hectares with a capacity for 300 people that would be of mixed use and they would serve both to live and to work. According to the project, all the structures built will not be able to rise above seven stories to maintain a low center of gravity and be able to resist the wind, while the roofs will have solar panels to meet energy needs.
The city will also grow its own produce, will allow it to adhere to zero waste systems and accelerate the regeneration of its ecosystem thanks to the marine life under the platforms.
The platforms will be connected to each other to form clusters around a protected central dock. Thus, the 12-hectare hexagon-shaped villages will be able to house up to 1,650 residents, while six villages of this type will already be able to form an entire city of 10,000 inhabitants. All communities will prioritize locally sourced materials for building construction, such as bamboo, which is fast growing and highly resistant.
Oceanix also highlights that they would be affordable homes due to reduced construction costs.
“Live in harmony with water”
Faced with a situation in which two out of every five people in the world live within a distance of 100 kilometers from the coast and 90% of megacities are vulnerable to rising sea levels, the executive director of UN-HABITAT, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, stressed that cities have no choice but to lose or win the battle to achieve the sustainable development goals and that floating cities are one of the possible strategies to adapt to climate change.
Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon highlighted the need to facilitate the creation of an urban space “where the coexistence of people, nature and technology is possible”, holding that the city he governs is suitable for that, as published RT.