How Busan's prototype sustainable floating city responds to climate change


OCEANIX Busan is a prototype of a resilient and sustainable floating community, comprising various floating platforms. Photo: AFP

To address the threat of rising sea levels, the city of Busan in South Korea and partners have unveiled a prototype of a sustainable, self-supporting floating community.

This floating city will be able to meet the needs of its residents, who will also have to pitch in themselves. The phenomenon of rising sea levels poses a real risk to many coastal cities around the world.

In fact, the recent IPCC report from the United Nations states that "sea-level rise poses an existential threat for some small islands and some low-lying coasts".

Busan, a large port city in southern South Korea, hopes to anticipate rising seas by creating a self-sufficient and sustainable floating city.

The first prototype structure of the island community will cover 6.3ha and will be able to accommodate no less than 12,000 people. As time goes by and needs change, it will be possible to add at least 20 "floating platforms" to the structure.

The floating city of OCEANIX Busan (named after the project's partner company), hopes to provide a revolutionary level of technology to enable the city to sustain itself.

Food, energy and drinking water will be produced on site. But everyone will have to contribute to the project – a form of collective responsibility in the face of the climate threat.

Common agricultural system

Each resident will have to extract and treat their own water supply. For food, in a sustainable agriculture approach, citizens will be expected to contribute to a single urban agriculture system. Finally, the energy needed to power an entire city is substantial.

In response, the project architects had the idea of setting up a system of floating and rooftop solar panels. In general, the threat of climate change in all its forms could quickly become a major problem in the city of Busan, where rising temperatures are coupled with rising sea levels. As such, new buildings will have to be able to withstand flooding.

"(This) 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 deliver OCEANIX Busan and demonstrate 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.

"Finally, the city of Busan is on an ambitious and ecological journey. Its mayor, Park Heong-Joon, has established a long-term programme to transform Busan into a green smart city, while also launching a bid to host the 2030 World Expo. – AFP Relaxnews

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