Noah's Ark

Floating cities: life on the water

When their homeland became submerged beneath the Indian Ocean, the Maldivians took to living on top of the water. Is this a lifestyle choice we should all explore?

With diminishing coastlines, rising sea-levels and tsunami-swept communities facing displacement every year, floating cities could become a viable solution for nations desperately attempting to reclaim lost land.

1 Taking inspiration from biblical story Noah's Ark, a city of the same name has been imagined by Serbian architects Aleksandar Joksimovic and Jelena Nikolic. The duo imagines it as a real-world solution to the housing of displaced tsunami survivors. Using solar, wind and tidal energy to power it, the floating city would be lined with a coral underbelly to encourage tropical sea-life.

2 Inspired by biomimicry, architect Vincent Callebaut created a city that relies on the buoyancy and movement of the humble lily pad to stay afloat. Harnessing the power of the surrounding elements, it is envisioned the city will use tidal, wind, solar and biomass to generate electricity.

3 The 7th Continent is a proposed solution to the burgeoning Texas-sized waste-island currently occupying the Pacific Ocean, made up of tonnes of plastic dumped into the sea. Each module consists of three components that can move freely in the water, connecting with others as they drift around the wasteland collecting garbage. Eventually these 'chains' can be centralised with soil and a city constructed on its surface.

4 hO2+ scraper has been influenced by a squid's balancing technique, using its long, bioluminescent tentacles as a supplement to ballast and balance tanks, allowing it to tread water and keep the island afloat in stormy weather. As well as steadying the island, the tentacles will also collect kinetic energy to help power the city.

5 The neon-streaked hexagons forming the building blocks of X SEAT TY resemble a colossal stackable beehive, with units that can be assembled to size specification. The buildings owe their green pigment to a covering of organic algae rooted into porous concrete, a potential producer of biofuel which will help to reduce pollution.

6 Derek Piorozzi's floating skyscraper provides a solution to planet Earth's primary ecological crisis; rebuilding the polar ice-caps. Polar Umbrella Buoyant has a thermal skin to help protect glaciers from heat and can freeze arctic water in harvest chambers. The tiny city will house research laboratories, a desalination plant, renewable power stations and dormitory-style housing units in the hope of becoming an eco-tourist attraction.

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