The Future: Tuvalu Floating around the World?
July 13, 2008
IT COULD be the solution to rising sea levels - a floating city for 50,000 people in the shape of a lily pad.
"Lilypad" is the brainchild of Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut.
"Lilypad is what a completely self-sufficient floating city for 50,000 people could look like," he said. "The design of the city is inspired by the shape of the great Amazonia Victoria Regia lily pad.
"Some countries spend billions of pounds working on making their beaches and dams bigger and stronger but the Lilypad project is actually a long-term solution to the problem of the water rising.
Mr Callebaut's computer-generated design is of an amphibious city without any roads or any cars. "The whole city is covered by plants housed in suspended gardens," he said. "The goal is to create a harmonious co-existence of humans and nature."
Sea levels are predicted to rise by about 50centimetres by 2100, leaving low-lying Pacific islands such as Tuvalu and Kiribati largely submerged and their populations homeless. In Australia, councils along the NSW coast are already dealing with dramatic coastal erosion.
Mr Callebaut's solution would be to house all the refugees in the floating lily-pad cities. Each city has a lake at its centre to collect fresh water and uses solar, wind and wave power to create energy.
The cities even have mountains to give the residents a change of scenery as they float around the world's oceans. "I think trying to accommodate the millions of people left homeless by environmental changes will prove to be one of the great challenges of the 21st century," said Mr Callebaut, who is still working out the cost of the venture.
But Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects, is unimpressed.
Chairman Robert Caulfield said the notion of floating cities was an admission of defeat in the fight against global warming and the cost would be exorbitant.
"Most of our architects are working on making buildings more energy efficient. In the next 20 years, most houses and buildings should be net producers of energy. This is what we should be working towards."
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
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