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28th April 2022

World's first prototype floating city will adapt to sea level rise

UN-Habitat, the Busan Metropolitan City of the Republic of Korea, and OCEANIX have this week presented a design for the world's first prototype sustainable floating city.



OCEANIX, a blue tech company based in New York, first unveiled their concept in April 2019. The plans have now undergone more detailed design work and architectural visualisation, with South Korea's port city of Busan chosen as the first location to host one of these futuristic habitats. OCEANIX Busan aims to demonstrate that coastal cities facing severe land shortages compounded by rising sea levels can adapt to such threats, using breakthrough technologies.

The challenge is massive: two out of every five people in the world live within 100 kilometres of the coast, and 90% of megacities worldwide are vulnerable to rising sea levels. With nowhere to expand, rapid urban growth is pushing populations closer to the water. But flooding is already destroying billions of dollars' worth of infrastructure and forcing millions of people to leave their homes. Based on the current trend, global sea levels may rise as much over the next 30 years as during the previous hundred. These increases may continue until the year 2300 or later.

OCEANIX collaborated with some of the world's best designers, engineers, and sustainability experts to design the flood-proof prototype. BIG-Bjarke Ingels and SAMOO (whose parent company is Samsung) led the architectural work on OCEANIX Busan, unveiled at the Second UN Roundtable on Sustainable Floating Cities – a follow up to the inaugural Roundtable in April 2019 and Busan's selection as host city in November 2021.


future floating city in 2050


OCEANIX Busan is the world's first prototype of a sustainable floating community. It features interconnected platforms of 15.5 acres (6.3 hectares) to accommodate a community of 12,000 people. Each neighbourhood is designed to serve a specific purpose – living, research, and lodging. There are between 30,000 and 40,000 square metres of mixed-use programs per platform. Low-rise buildings, defined by soft lines, feature terraces for indoor-outdoor living and creating a network of vibrant public spaces. The entire community is connected to land with link-span bridges, framing a sheltered blue lagoon of recreation, art, and performance outposts.

OCEANIX Busan is designed to organically transform and adapt over time, based on the needs of Busan. Starting from a community of 12,000 people, it has the potential to grow to accommodate 100,000+ residents and visitors. The floating platforms are accompanied by dozens of productive outposts and greenhouses. The city will include six integrated systems: zero waste and circular systems, closed loop water systems, food, net zero energy, innovative mobility, and coastal habitat regeneration. These interconnected systems will obtain 100% of their required energy on site through floating and rooftop solar panels.


future floating city in 2050


"OCEANIX's modular maritime neighbourhood will be a prototype for sustainable and resilient cities," explains Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director of the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. "As our first manifestation of this new form of waterborne urbanism, OCEANIX Busan will expand the city's unique character and culture from dryland into the water around it. We believe OCEANIX's floating platforms can be developed at scale to serve as the foundations for future resilient communities in the most vulnerable coastal locations on the frontlines of climate change."

"As Mayor of the Metropolitan City of Busan, I take seriously our commitment to the credo 'The First to the Future'. We joined forces with UN-Habitat and OCEANIX to be the first to prototype and scale this audacious idea, because our common future is at stake in the face of sea level rise and its devastating impact on coastal cities," said Mayor Park Heong-joon, whose ambitious agenda includes turning Busan into a green smart city and launching a bid for World Expo 2030.

"Today is a pivotal milestone for all coastal cities and island nations on the frontlines of climate change," said Philipp Hofmann, CEO of OCEANIX. "We are on track to delivering OCEANIX Busan and demonstrating that floating infrastructure can create new land for coastal cities looking for sustainable ways to expand onto the ocean, while adapting to sea level rise."


future floating city in 2050


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