Thursday, June 17, 2010

Floating Cities: Solution to Incontestable Environmental Concerns?

Our ability to create urban communities and designs for our cities is currently tangled up in an intricate web of environmental concerns; koala and other habitat retention, important remnant vegetation, the possibility of sea level rise and flooding, as well as steep sloping land with the potential of erosion just to name a few!
Bearing this in mind, should we be looking towards finding alternative solutions to land based development which exclude any potential environmental obstacles? Sounds simple... but how could this happen?

Japanese building company Shimizu Corporation may have found the answer.

Did you know that just over 70% of the Earth's surface is covered in water? Shimizu Corporation has embraced this fact and developed a alternative to developing on land.
From Inhabitat: Shimizu Corporation has unveiled plans for a completely self sufficient floating ecotopia that is covered in vegetation, generates its own power, grows food, manages waste, and provides clean water. This futuristic floating city seeks to provide a solution to many of our environmental problems, like rising sea levels, increasing temperatures and dwindling resources.

Shimizu Corporation has been hard at work coming up with some pretty crazy concepts lately, and Green Float, the Environmental Island is one of them. Designed for the equatorial pacific, presumably near Japan, Green Float is a concept for a series of floating islands with eco skyscraper cities, where people live, work and can easily get to gardens, open space, the beach and even “forests”. Islands are connected together to form modules and a number of modules grouped together form a “country” of roughly 1 million people.

A 1,000m tower in the center of the island acts as both a vertical farm as well as a skyscraper with residential, commercial and office space. The green space, the beach, and the water terminal on the flat plane of the island are all within walking distance. Energy for the islands would be generated from renewable sources like solar, wind, and ocean thermal, and they also propose to collect solar energy from space, presumably from their own crazy idea to install a solar belt on the moon.

So is this the future of city design? If we all want to prepare for a future which is sustainable and sensitive to our existing environment, are these self-sufficient floating cities the answer?

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