Climate change is a reality that the world is having to deal with daily. More and more coastal cities are becoming exceedingly vulnerable to flood and typhoon damage.
It will cost billions to strengthen the infrastructure of these cities to deal with climate threats. A Tahitian entrepreneur has ‘floated’ an idea with the United Nations in New York that could be an alternative solution – sustainable floating cities.
The idea of these cities would be to anchor them to the seafloor with bio rock, set up self-sufficient, solar-powered islands with houses, and people would get access to drinking water via desalination and extracting humidity from the air.
The UN praised the concept and has it under further discussion, but climate-change developers and city planners have expressed levels of scepticism and concern.
“Oceanix City would sit a mile or so off the coast. Its near-self-sufficiency could be a source of resilience in some circumstances—for example, if there were a blackout on the mainland. But isolated, closed urban systems have their own weaknesses. What if, say, the energy storage failed and the desalination plant went down as a result? If the city could not bring in the technicians or new parts needed to fix the equipment, things could go downhill fast. Of course, engineers could design redundancy into the technology. But with all the unknowns of climate change, how much would be enough?”
The high cost involved in the project would make floating cities only achievable for those who can afford it can quickly become a social concern.
Rather than a solution for the many, floating cities will only serve the wealthy while the poor are land-bound and vulnerable to disasters.
Unless there is a way to make this solution more sustainable and attainable by all, then perhaps the money should be better spent upgrading land-based infrastructure to protect the world’s population from climate-related disasters.
Urban retreat and relocation into purpose-built, land-based eco-cities may be a much more long-term sustainable solution.