Plans Set for World's First Floating City

Construction to begin next year in Busan, South Korea
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2022 10:45 AM CDT
Plans Set for World's First Floating City
A mock-up of Busan's floating city.   (Oceanix/BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group)

South Korea's second-largest city will reportedly play host to the world’s first "floating city." The major port city of Busan has partnered with the United Nations' Human Settlements Program and sustainable design startup Oceanix to develop a 15.5-acre floating city made up of three connected platforms dedicated to housing, public spaces, and research and development, NBC News reports. And the "zero-waste" city will be entirely sustainable, built with lightweight materials like timber and bamboo and powered by solar panels erected on roofs and afloat on the sea, per Insider. All water used will be treated and recycled, CNBC reports, and there will be no traditional cars allowed.

"We live in a time when we cannot continue building cities the way New York or Nairobi were built," UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said in 2019, as the UN announced its effort to develop floating cities in response to climate change. "We must build cities knowing that they will be on the front lines of climate-related risks—from rising sea levels to storms." In a program for Tuesday's Second UN Roundtable on Sustainable Floating Cities in New York, the UN noted "floating cities are buoyant and therefore flood-proof" and "give us a clean slate to design climate-neutral cities from the start," per Insider.

Busan's floating North Port city is expected to house 12,000 people at first, but may be expanded to eventually house 100,000, per CNBC. Platforms will include harvesting cages for seafood, as well as spaces for urban agriculture. They're to be coated in a buoyant material and anchored to the ocean floor with removable pile moorings—which provides an interesting perk. Per Insider, the UN notes floating cities like Busan's could be towed to areas of need during humanitarian crises. Oceanix—to begin at least two years of construction next year—expects the project to cost $10,000 per square meter, or about $627 million, with costs for future models falling over time, per NBC. (More floating city stories.)

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