Experts envision floating cities as the next major real estate trend

Particularly in Asia where the demand for coastal cities are so high

Floating city, a sustainable energy concept. DianaHlevnjak/Shutterstock

Oceanix City, a floating city concept that could be implemented around the globe, was introduced at the UN-Habitat event in New York, reported Forbes.

NYC-based developer and investor Lela Goren explained how floating cities can reduce the effects of rising sea levels, particularly in an era where the demand for Asian coastal properties are so high that countries resort to developing artificial lands.

She also explained how this new trend can provide developers and governments with the much-needed space for highly lucrative projects by constructing it in the sea, through a more environmentally sustainable option compared to land reclamation.

“Most cities are located nearby water and this number will also increase in the next decades. This was already the case a hundred years ago: water is life and always has been the centre of economic activities,” said the CEO of Bandt Management & Consultancy Kees-Jan Bandt.

This is why now, more than ever, a lot of people are drawn to coastal cities.

More: Green-up time for Asia’s polluted cities

According to a report published by the International Organisation for Migration, around three million people relocate from the countryside to the cities every week, with the majority moving to coastal cities.

At this moment, more than half of the global population live in coastal cities and it is predicted to grow even more. According to the UN-Habitat, about 90 percent of the 10 million people that currently live in mega-cities will migrate to the coast by 2035.

For the past 10 years, Asian coastal cities have been responding to the demand through land reclamation, which involves corralling or dumping sand in aquatic areas to form new land.

“In some Asian countries it is sometimes easier, quicker, and, on the long-term, cheaper to reclaim land from the sea than develop on existing land because of land ownership,” explained Bandt.

This method, however, can be extremely hazardous to the environment, eliminating entire ecosystems that can never be reclaimed and removing an inexhaustible resource: sand.

With the introduction of floating cities — platforms anchored to the seabed in coastal areas — experts are hoping to remove the consequences of land reclamation, with a similarly cheap and easy option.