Busan, UN-Habitat and OCEANIX set to build the world’s first sustainable floating city prototype as sea levels rise

Source(s)
United Nations Human Settlements Programme - Headquarters
Row of floating houses in the Netherlands
Edwin Muller Photography/Shutterstock

Busan, Nairobi and New York -- The Busan Metropolitan City of the Republic of Korea, UN-Habitat and OCEANIX today signed a historic agreement to build the world’s first prototype sustainable floating city. On the heels of COP26, the partners seek to innovate breakthrough solutions for coastal cities threatened by sea level rise.

Coastal cities are on the frontlines of climate-related risks. Flooding is destroying billions of dollars worth of infrastructure and forcing millions of climate refugees to leave their homes. The challenge is huge: two out of every five people in the world live within 100 kilometres of the coast, and 90 percent of mega cities worldwide are vulnerable to rising sea levels. The floating city is envisaged as a flood-proof infrastructure that rises with the sea and produces its own food, energy and fresh water with fully integrated zero waste closed-loop systems.

“Sustainable floating cities are a part of the arsenal of climate adaptation strategies available to us. Instead of fighting with water, let us learn to live in harmony with it. We look forward to developing climate adaptation and nature-based solutions through the floating city concept, and Busan is the ideal choice to deploy the prototype,” said the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, stressing that the battle to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals would be won or lost in cities.

Coastal cities are facing unique demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges. With nowhere to expand, rapid urban population growth is pushing people closer to the water, driving housing costs to prohibitive levels, and squeezing the poorest families out.
“With the complex changes facing coastal cities, we need a new vision where it is possible for people, nature and technology to co-exist. There is no better place than Busan to take the first step towards sustainable human settlements on the ocean, proudly built by Korea for the world,” said Busan’s Mayor Park Heong-joon. Busan is also bidding for World Expo 2030.

“Sea level rise is a formidable threat, but sustainable floating infrastructure can help solve this looming catastrophe. We are excited to make history with Busan and UN-Habitat in ushering in humanity’s next frontier,” said OCEANIX Co-Founders, Itai Madamombe and Marc Collins Chen, adding that the prototype would be approached at a hyper-local level, taking into account the rich social, economic, political and cultural uniqueness of Korea as the host country.

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