Architecture

Seasteading Institute aims to build floating city by 2020

The Seasteading Institute says the development of floating cities is the first step in fulfilling what it calls the "8 Great Moral Imperatives"
The Seasteading Institute says the development of floating cities is the first step in fulfilling what it calls the "8 Great Moral Imperatives"
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The Seasteading Institute says the development of floating cities is the first step in fulfilling what it calls the "8 Great Moral Imperatives"
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The Seasteading Institute says the development of floating cities is the first step in fulfilling what it calls the "8 Great Moral Imperatives"
The Seasteading Institute argues that floating city-states could create more innovative start-up governments
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The Seasteading Institute argues that floating city-states could create more innovative start-up governments
A "Swimming City" design contest winner
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A "Swimming City" design contest winner
A semi-submersible shipping container design
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A semi-submersible shipping container design

An organization in which Paypal founder Peter Thiel is an investor is aiming to build a floating city-state by 2020. The Seasteading Institute says semi-independent floating cities would provide an opportunity to try out new modes of government and could also tackle a number of other problems.

The Seasteading Institute says the development of floating cities is the first step in fulfilling what it calls the "8 Great Moral Imperatives," which include feeding the hungry, enriching the poor, curing the sick, cleaning the atmosphere, restoring the oceans, living in balance with nature, powering civilization sustainably and and putting an end to fighting.

The Institute believes that, in order to achieve these ambitions, humanity must harness the oceans. It cites their potential for providing space to accommodate a growing global population, for providing a source of food, and for being used to generate sustainable energy.

Not only would floating cities with some degree of independence lend themselves to these ideals, but the Seasteading Institute argues that they could create more innovative start-up governments unlike what it calls the "monopolies" of today. Now, it argues, individuals are born arbitrarily into states created by past wars and cannot change the government to which they are affiliated without leaving their home. Floating city-states, however, would allow individuals to sail their home to a new colony if they disagreed with the way a government was operating.

The Seasteading Institute argues that this would force governments to compete to attract citizens in a way that they currently do not. The city-states would be like floating jigsaws that could be shifted and reassembled at will, with popular and effective governments attracting more inhabitants. Indeed, governments could only form if people chose to attach to each other.

The Seasteading Institute argues that floating city-states could create more innovative start-up governments
The Seasteading Institute argues that floating city-states could create more innovative start-up governments

Since Gizmag last featured the Seasteading Institute, the group has had a feasibility report published by Dutch design firm Deltasync, crowdfunded a floating city design and explored other floating city designs. The Institute believes that there is a market for the concept, that it could be developed to a price-point suitable for the market, and that it can find a nation willing to host a residential seastead with significant autonomy.

Deltasync's initial design took the form of modular platforms that could slot together. The platforms would either be 50 x 50 m (164 x 164 ft) reinforced concrete squares or pentagons with 50-m (164-ft) sides and could support three-story buildings. Apartments, terraced housing, office space and hotels were all factored into the design. The initial concept is based on 11 modules that together could host 225-300 full-time residents and would cost an estimated US$167 million.

The Seasteading Institute says that its work surveying potential customers is ongoing, and that it is in negotiations with coastal nations to develop the first floating city with substantial political independence.

The video below is a short talk given by Seasteading Institute spokesperson Joe Quirk and provides an overview of the concept and plans.

Source: Seasteading Institute

Atlantis Rising: Why Floating Cities are the Next Frontier (Joe Quirk)

18 comments
zr2s10
I see weather being a big factor in these floating cities. A couple big waves could really make a mess of things, on many levels. Where are they going to find perfectly still water?
zevulon
if you want to start your own isolated new country you do 1 of 3 things-----------------you start a religion in a city. or you leave for a rural or far away place to start your own commune as cheaply as possible for as many people as possible. finally, the third thing is a corporate town. but that presumes you already have an anchor business with which to create export profits to fund the community. this sea steading crap is a non-executeable immitation of the offshore islands created by the emirati or the chinese government or offshore platforms created by oil companies. only--------there is no major source of profit or sustainable goal for these platforms. the saudis waste money on rich people. in 50 years the islands will be decrepit. off shor oil platofrms start deteriorating extremely fast even with all the money to maintain them from the oil profits. building things in the ocean is generally stupid, even when you get oil , or get a naval foothold or you have rich people willing to foot the bill. we are terestrial because terra firma gives an exponential advantage to all efforts of species. land species dominate ocean species for this very reason. with the ocean only making up in quantity and volume what land species cannot. humanity will never conquer the oceans with 21st century technology , seasteading cannot happen without transcendent technologies enabling seafaring LIFE. such as EFFECTIVE solar/wind power and other technologies. we need another 100 years of development for anything resembling effective sea fairing cities to work. consider that ALMOST ALL METAL RUSTS. titanium perhaps not, but we are no where near capable of producing the amounts of titanium cheaply enough to create a city made of it let alone knowing how to 'work' and form it simply enough. do you ever here of titanium solder to weld on titanium metal. no. . same goes for carbon fibre. our current state of the art is basically rubbish when put to the task of building floating cities, let alone floating cruise ships. we are so far far from these and other capabilities it is entirely STUPID to chase these dreams. using current state of the art in the most ambitious manners to achieve succesful startup communities is hard enough. making up stupid fantasies to suck in rich idiot investors will accomplish nothing but the movement of money from one set of hands to another. and possibly the construction of some doomed project which will last very very shortly until the deterioration overwhelms the inability to maintain the project.
Scion
It would be amazing to see what would develop if people could freely (more or less) choose which sovereign state they belonged to. I'm not sure how the bureaucracy would work with regards to taxation, debts or criminal investigation / status but the idea is fascinating. If you were unhappy with how your state was going you could go to another one. Would that result in great big stagnant "group think" states or vibrant innovative ones trying to draw in the best and brightest? It would be fascinating to see.
Womp
It always amazes me to see these "poor" Billionaires trying desperately to escape the "tyranny" of the very system of government that allowed them to become Billionaires in the first place. I have to wonder how they managed to never meet an orphan, single parent, or person with disabilities; because they can't have met any such people to consider themselves, as Billionaires, to be so persecuted as to need an new form of Government, a new form of Government that offers Billionaires even more privileges than our current system does.
maak
"feeding the hungry, enriching the poor, curing the sick, cleaning the atmosphere, restoring the oceans, living in balance with nature, powering civilization sustainably and and putting an end to fighting." Laudable goals but there will always be hungry people as almost all hunger is not caused by a lack of food worldwide but by bad governments, There will always be poor, lazy people, do you really want to enrich those who refuse to do for themselves? That just makes more poor, lazy people. You really can't cure those who through gluttony and poor health habits get sick. Unless you plan on getting rid of the majority of people (as some have actually suggested) I doubt we can "live in balance with nature". End fighting??? Only when you can breed greed and ego out of people. Is that your plan selectively breeding people to fit your plans? There's already competition between forms of government and it's obvious which ones are best; just look at the ones people are fleeing and the ones people will do almost anything to get into. The Soviet Union fenced their land to keep people IN while we need to fence ours to control people from coming in like the man who shot the lady in S.F.. Seven felonies, deported five times and in police custody before the killing just to be released instead of imprisoned because S.F is a "sanctuary city". Really this is just another attempt to make socialism work (every goal here is pushed by the socialist agenda); it fails everywhere it's attempted but there's those who will keep trying. They say "we'll do it right, others just didn't get it right".
felix
zevulon - this is the start of a long journey. If you don't take that first step you will never get anywhere.
owlbeyou
>feeding the hungry, enriching the poor, curing the sick, cleaning the atmosphere, restoring the oceans, living in balance with nature, powering civilization sustainably and and putting an end to fighting. Lofty goals , but more like pie-in-the-sky pretension. Let's face it, this is for rich people who don't want to mingle with the plebes. It's like the ultimate gated community... that floats. It keeps out the undesirables and goes where the residents vote to be, but the problem of a democratic autonomous government based on capitalism is doomed to much discord. Perhaps there will be two main types of floating centers; one for the wealthy and another for incarcerating undesirables...floating prisons.
Bruce H. Anderson
Moving from Austria to Australia would be a huge hassle, even shorter distances within the same country are, but it is at least do-able. Now you want to untether your pod from this floating city and go somewhere else across the ocean? Well, for a city that supports 300 residents at 2 per household at a cost of $167 million, that means a little north of $1 million per household. So while the "permanent" residents might be able to handle the purchase price, and maybe the price to move their barges up the coast when the government does not suit their tastes, not too many ordinary workers have that kind of capital. Are there plans to import the servant class, or keep them in dormitories? One might ask how this floating city might be anchored to the ocean floor. That is no small feat.
ezeflyer
Been done. Its called live aboard boats.
f8lee
It's like Elysium, but in the ocean rather than in orbit!
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