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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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Oceanix City, the “natural disaster-proof” and self-sustainable floating city that the UN wants to make a reality

A floating city without cars or skyscrapers, with recycling systems and designed to have underwater farms; with a maximum capacity for 10,800 inhabitants and built to withstand natural disasters such as floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, as well as rising sea levels.

Yes, it might look like the synopsis of an upcoming science fiction movie but no, it’s called ‘Oceanix City’ and the United Nations wants to make it come true.

When fiction serves as an inspiration for reality


During a round table held this week at the United Nations headquarters, a group of architects, engineers, designers, builders and researchers from MIT presented the concept of ‘Oceanix City’, a floating city that was born as a solution to the housing shortage and the increasingly latent risk we have of facing a natural disaster.

The floating city idea is not new, in fact some projects have been presented in the past. However, these proposals have been aimed at billionaires who want to preserve their wealth through exclusive cities designed for the few. Hence the importance of this new UN project, as they claim that Oceanix City would be affordable and aimed at everyone.

Despite this change in approach, both the past proposals and this one coincide on one thing: skepticism, since on paper everything sounds incredible, but the reality is that today it is difficult to imagine that something like this could become reality.

Given this, the UN seeks to gain credibility by relying on renowned architects and urban planners, such as Marc Collins, CEO of Oceanix, a company that for some years has been dedicated to building floating structures, or the case of the famous architect Bjarke Ingels, who is the person responsible for having designed this concept.

It should be noted that Oceanix City is just a concept and so far it does not have any type of funding, but the UN seeks to support and promote this project so that it becomes a reality in the not too distant future, although they did not mention how. What is known is that Collins and Ingels are looking for investors, and they believe that having the backing of the UN will make it easier for them to get them.

The characteristics of a utopia

According to those responsible for this project, Oceanix City would be based on hexagonal platforms with a capacity of up to 300 inhabitants each. As they explain, hexagons are the most efficient architectural forms, so by deciding on this design they hope to reduce the use of materials.

The project contemplates building groups of six of these platforms, which would be called ‘villages’ and the entire city would have up to six villages. In other words, Oceanix City would have a maximum capacity to house up to 10,800 inhabitants, although the ideal number would be 10,000 people, since this would allow the city to have “full autonomy”.

Regarding this supposed autonomy, the city would be able to produce its own energy, water and heat, as well as its own food. For this, “aquatic farms” would be created under the platforms, where there would be cages that would serve to harvest various types of plants or vegetables, as well as to raise some type of animal species.

Oceanix City will not allow cars, trucks or any type of large vehicle, much less emit pollutant particles. In other words, no garbage collection trucks, since it would be disposed of through a system of pneumatic tubes that would collect the waste at a sorting station, where it would be identified and recycled.

In fact, the idea is that there are no large buildings either, the maximum that will be allowed is seven floors. And the goal is for Oceanix City to be proof against natural disasters, which is why those responsible ensure that it will be able to withstand from the impact of a category 5 hurricane to tsunamis.
To achieve this type of shielding, the creators of this floating city explain that all the platforms would be united and anchored to the bottom of the ocean, in order to create a kind of nucleus with greater strength. One of the supposed advantages of this nucleus is that it could be towed to relocate it to a new area in case of possible disasters. The idea is that these types of cities are built at a maximum distance of two kilometers from the main coastal cities, so they could be accessible to an average citizen.

Wood, bamboo and ‘biorock’ would be used to make the houses and structures of the city, a material that is born from the exposure of underwater minerals to the electric current, giving life to a limestone cladding that, they say, is three times more hard than concrete but able to float. They even claim that this material strengthens over time and can even be repaired while exposed to sea currents. Thanks to this, it would also allow to withstand extreme weather conditions.

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