Sea level rise: plans for Korea’s “first floating city”

The floating city must be created from multiple platforms connected to each other.
OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

The South Korean coastal city of Busan has agreed to build “the world’s first floating city,” a project supported by the United Nations.

According to plans, the city off Busan will consist of interconnected platforms and generate electricity and clean water.

Last Tuesday the designers released the first sketches of what the city should be like.

3.4 million people live in Busan, South Korea’s second largest metropolis. Like many coastal cities around the world, Busan’s infrastructure is threatened by rising sea levels. A project planned in collaboration with the United Nations foresees a “floating city” made up of several platforms to be built in front of the port of Busan.

Busan is the second largest city in South Korea after the capital Seoul.

Busan is the second largest city in South Korea after the capital Seoul.
Nattanai Chimjanon / EyeEm / Getty Images

Busan is one of the ten largest ports in the world

Like many other port cities, Busan, located in the southeast of the South Korean peninsula, is threatened by rising sea levels. The activity of the Port of Busan is also threatened in the future if the sea level rises. According to World Shipping, Busan is among the ten largest container hubs in the world.

Busan is one of the largest port transshipment centers in the world.

Busan is one of the largest port transshipment centers in the world.
Insung Jeon / Getty Images

In November 2021, the Busan city government gave the green light to the “Floating City” project in collaboration with the Oceanix design studio and the United Nations UN-Habitat program.

Insung Jeon / Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Oceanix design agency released models of what the prototype of the “floating city” north of the port might look like.

So could she

This is what the “floating city” might look like off the coast of Busan.
OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

These images show how the city, designed from interconnected platforms, has to be built step by step …

OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

… until it should finally grow to 6.3 hectares. According to Oceanix, 12,000 people should be able to live in the “floating city” in the future.

OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Accommodation, research and guest accommodation are provided

OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Deliberately no skyscrapers, instead lots of green spaces and urban agriculture

Buildings in large cities in South Korea are usually very tall. Because the space in the country covered by the mountains is scarce. On the “floating island” the focus is on low-rise buildings with terraces. There should be a lot of space outside, the floating city platforms should also have greenhouses and thus allow for the cultivation of fruit and vegetables in the city.

OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

The individual platforms will offer between 30,000 and 40,000 square meters of space. They should be connected with bridges.

The roofs of the buildings in the

The roofs of the “floating city” buildings will be equipped with solar panels.
OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

“Both the social, political, economic and environmental aspects of South Korea are taken into account,” explains the Oceanix design bureau at the drawings. The different aspects of the city of Busan – as a modern port city with a long history, rich in culture, art and commerce – have had an influence.

Restaurants and a flower shop are lined up in a pedestrian zone in the design of the Oceanix design agency.

Restaurants and a flower shop are lined up in a pedestrian zone in the design of the Oceanix design agency.
OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Self-sufficient energy production, zero waste cycle and pure electric vehicles

“The Floating City” off the coast of Busan is said to be able to generate its own electricity using solar panels attached to the roofs of buildings. The waste generated in the city will be 100% recycled and according to the plan only electric vehicles will be allowed. Wastewater and drinking water also need to be treated independently of the port city of Busan.

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Busan or Copenhagen?  The design studio Bjarke Ingels, involved in the drafts, comes from Denmark.

Busan or Copenhagen? The design studio Bjarke Ingels, involved in the drafts, comes from Denmark.
OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Cost of $ 200 million and finished first parts in 2025

An Oceanix co-founder previously told Business Insider that building the “floating city” would cost $ 200 million. The first parts could be ready in 2025. The projects shown here were published as part of the second UN roundtable on sustainable floating cities. The event took place on Tuesday in New York.

OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Busan isn’t the only port city with plans for a floating city. In November 2021, Saudi Arabia announced plans to float an octagonal city on the Red Sea. This city, called Oxagon, is said to be home to the “first fully automated port and transshipment center” in the future.

A first rendering of the city of Oxagon, in Saudi Arabia.

A first rendering of the city of Oxagon, in Saudi Arabia.
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As prestigious as the concepts of floating cities in South Korea or Saudi Arabia may be, they share a serious background: sea level rise, which is threatening existing infrastructure near the coast. Sea level is rising at an accelerating rate, according to the United Nations at an average of 0.4 centimeters per year between 2013 and 2021. This is compared to just 0.2 centimeters in 1993 and 2002.

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Prestigious floating city projects have a serious background: sea level rise like here in Florida.

Prestigious floating city projects have a serious background: sea level rise like here in Florida.
Ashley Cooper / Getty Images

Speaking at the UN roundtable on Tuesday, the organization said floating cities are “an innovative route to land reclamation for coastal cities that are severely homeless and are looking for sustainable ways to overcome the ocean,” also addressing itself to adapt to rising sea levels and climate change.

The coast off Busan at night - according to plan

The coast of Busan at night – according to the plans for the “floating city”.
OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

United Nations: “Floating cities” not a universal weapon in climate change

However, UN representatives also warned against viewing floating cities as a multi-purpose weapon against climate change. “They are part of a whole arsenal of adaptation to climate change; because they are floating and consequently flood proof “.

Low-rise dwellings on platforms connected by bridges

Low-rise condominiums on the platforms connected to the “Floating City” bridge off the coast of Busan.
OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Floating cities have helped to completely rethink climate-neutral cities. And they could also be transported to areas where there are humanitarian crises, the United Nations said.

OCEANIX / BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

This text has been translated from English. You can read the original here.

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