Global climate change and predictions of large floods and natural disasters are leading to the design of self-sustaining floating cities.
Inspired by biblical character of Noah, Serbian designers Aleksandar Joksimovic and Jelena Nikolic have created Noah’s Ark, a sustainable floating city capable of preserving life on earth in the event of a massive natural disaster.
TheNoah’s Ark project features a series of terraced rings with deep underwater towers that act as ballasts to increase stability. The innovative project would support life on terraced fields, provide ample space for food growing, collect rainwater and generate its own power through natural energy sources such as solar, wind and wave energy, which are easily captured at sea.
In addition to providing protection from natural disasters, the Ark was designed as part of a network consisting of other Arks which are connected to floating underwater tunnels linking them to the mainland. As the settlements grow, the Arks can attach to one another, creating one enormous artificial mainland.
An external 64-metre tall wall protects the city from strong sea winds and tsunamis. In case of emergency, residents can retreat to bubbles inside the islands for protection. Underneath the island, giant turbines convert ocean currents to energy, while artificial coral coats the surfaces, encouraging the development of new ecosystems.
Each Ark features energy generation capabilities and everything residents need for comfort, including residential buildings, offices, parks, recreational areas, forests and beaches. There is also farmland and a reserve for animals.
Following the same concept idea, the Lilypad, designed by Vincent Callebaut, is a model for a completely self-sufficient floating city which aims to provide shelter for future climate change refugees. Designed to look like a water lily, it is intended to be a zero emission city floating in the ocean.
Biomimicry or biomimetics – the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems – inspired this innovative design. Applying different technologies, including solar, wind, tidal and biomass, the project would be able to produce its own energy and process CO2 in the atmosphere, absorbing it and transforming it into its own titanium dioxide skin.
Each Lilypad has been designed to accommodate around 50,000 people, featuring an artificial lagoon in the centre and three ridges that create a diverse environment for its inhabitants. Each of these floating cities is designed to be either near a coast or floating in open water, driven by the ocean streams.
Sub-Biosphere2, created byLondon designer Phil Pauley, is a futuristic concept for a self-sustaining floating and underwater living facility. The project consists of eight living communities of flora and fauna, or biomes.
A much less ambitious project in terms of scale, Sub-Biosphere2 was designed to house only 100 inhabitants. The proposal features an underwater network made up of a central support biome surrounded by eight spherical living biomes that span a site width of 340 metres, reaching their highest point at 120 metres above the water level.
The central support biome controls and monitors life systems within the city, including fresh air, water, food and electricity as well as atmospheric pressure control. The system will also contain a seed bank for growing hydroponic crops to provide food for its inhabitants.
Although there are no plans to build these projects anytime soon, there is a great value for future designs since they inspire creative solutions which, at some point, may actually provide a real answer to the climate change problem.