Could this floating city be the future of urban life as sea levels rise?

Italian architect Luca Curci says his model could be home to more than 50,000

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Could a futuristic floating city capable of housing more than 50,000 people provide vital shelter from the growing threat of climate change?

Architect Luca Curci believes his grand design could offer the key to safeguarding coastal cities vulnerable to rising sea levels.

The proposed project is designed specifically for areas with low elevation such as New York, Miami, New Orleans, Jakarta, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Many cities will end up underwater if climate change continues at its current rate and sea levels rise as they expected to
Luca Curci

“Many cities will end up underwater if climate change continues at its current rate and sea levels rise as they expected to,” said Mr Curci, who collaborated with Tim Fu Design on the concept of the floating cities.

‘It was based on this that we began work on the floating city project with an emphasis on providing sustainable solutions by using renewable energy sources such as wind, water and solar panels.”

The floating city community is designed to feature a total of 10 hectares over connected platforms, accommodating more than 50,000 people.

It will be separated into high and low-rise communities surrounded by a “membrane of photovoltaic glasses” which will provide electricity to the entire structure, making it completely self-sufficient in terms of energy production.

The city is designed to be accessible by sea and by air with external and internal docks and each floating platform will have its own drone port.

Mr Curci envisages green zones and vertical gardens being spread throughout each city, along with social spaces and areas designated for farming.

Italian architect Luca Curci has devised grand plans for floating cities to protect at-risk areas from rising sea levels. Photo: Luca Curci

Designs on the future

The floating city design is not the first time Mr Curci has been in the headlines. In 2020, The National reported how the Italian architect designed a vertical city that could host up to 200,000 people — a possible solution to urban sprawl.

More than 410 million people are expected to be at risk from rising sea levels by the year 2100, said a report released last year by the World Economic Forum.

The reason for this is a warming climate will cause oceans to expand.

The global sea level has risen by about 21cm since records began in 1880, however a recent report from Nasa said that levels along the US coastline alone would rise by 25-30cm by 2050.

This would match the total sea-level rise over the past 100 years in less than a third of that time.

Certain countries are more likely to be immediately affected than others by rising sea levels.

The WEF list of nations most at risk includes China, Bangladesh, India, the Netherlands, Egypt, the US, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

The vast majority of the population in Egypt, 95 per cent, lives along the banks of the River Nile, with many areas already located below sea level.

In the Netherlands, around half the population are already living below sea level, according to the WEF.

While the GCC was not listed among the nations most immediately at risk from rising sea levels, Mr Curci believes the region could be perfect for the adoption of the floating city model.

“There are already many high-profile projects in the Middle East that are built with great care taken about sustainability,” he said.

Mr Curci did not reveal exactly how much the floating city would cost if it ever made it past the concept stage. He said the size could be adjusted depending on necessity.

“This project can be absolutely scalable, it can be bigger or smaller depending on what is required,” he said.

Updated: January 23, 2023, 2:13 PM