The world’s first floating city prototype: Busan, South Korea

Artist performance with courtesy Oceanix, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

The United Nations, a floating urban architectural firm called Oceanix, and the South Korean city of Busan on Tuesday unveiled the prototype for a floating, sustainable version of the main shipping hub.

Floating cities could be a way to mitigate the effects of sea level rise caused by climate change. “Sea level rise poses an existential threat to some small islands and some low-lying coasts,” according to policy makers’ concluding remarks in the latest UN IPCC report in late February. Rising sea levels threaten coastal electricity and transport infrastructure, according to the report.

Since 1880, the average global sea level has risen between eight and nine inches, according to Climate.Gov, a portal for science and information on climate change operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

One third of this sea level rise has occurred within the last 25 years. In the United States, average sea level rise is projected to be between 10 and 12 inches by 2050, according to NOAA.

Busan is home to 3.4 million inhabitants and a critical port city. To adapt to rising seawater, Busan collaborated with the UN and Oceanix to develop a prototype of a floating city. Here are some photos shared by the company:

Artist performance with courtesy Oceanix, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

The prototype is made of interconnected platforms covering a total of 15.5 acres of surface area. Each modular piece of the city is designed for a specific use, such as living space, research facilities or accommodation. Bridges connect different platforms.

Artist performance with courtesy Oceanix, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

It envisions a community of 12,000 people with the capacity to expand to accommodate more than 100,000 people.

Artist performance with courtesy Oceanix, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

The floating city is also fully sustainable with solar panels and all water used in the floating city will be treated and recycled.

Three years ago, the UN officially began examining floating cities as an adaptation to climate change.

Artist performance with courtesy Oceanix, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

“We live in a time when we can not continue to build cities like New York or Nairobi were built,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed at the time. “We need to build cities knowing that they will be at the forefront of climate-related risks – from rising sea levels to storms. Floating cities can be part of our new arsenal of tools.”

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