MALDIVES PLANS TO BUILD ‘FLOATING CITY’ AS SEA LEVELS RISE
While climate change threatens to wipe the Maldives archipelago from the surface of the earth, an ambitious project called Maldives Floating City is set to create a new city with resilient eco-friendly floating structures.
The Maldives Floating City is an innovative housing project being developed in a lagoon 15 minutes boat ride from Male’. Using the latest in floating technology from the Netherlands, the floating city will comprise of 5,000 housing units, tethered to the lagoon floor and linked together to create a safe and comfortable environment.
The Maldives Floating City project is the first development of a new era in which Maldivians return to the water with resilient eco-friendly floating infrastructure. The future city has a nature-based structure of roads and water canals resembling the beautiful and efficient way in which real brain coral is organised.
The idea of having brain coral as the leading concept is that the goal of living with nature and learning to improve and respect natural coral is at the heart of the development, which leads to new knowledge emphasising the responsibility the Maldives takes as the centre for coral protection in the world.
To turn the concept into a reality, Public Private Partnership Dutch Docklands Maldives acquired the last necessary signatures in order to start work on the floating city. A million dollar alternating payment fee, as required by law, has been completed to run the project under the Integrated Tourism model. This follows advice from the Government’s Economic Council that the Maldives Floating City should proceed under an Integrated Tourism model.
Following the signing of the agreement by Maldives Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Dutch Docklands Maldives CEO, Paul Van de Camp expressed his delight that construction of the floating city could begin.
The first block of floating homes is under construction by BISON and is due to be transported to the Lagoon and opened in August after the school holidays. This will enable the public to visit and see first hand what the homes will look like.
The marine engineering, technical details and specifications for the Maldives Floating City development have been completed, and construction will begin immediately after remaining government approvals have been granted. Construction of the modular city is scheduled to begin in January 2023 and is estimated to take around four to five years to complete.
Model city made of artificial coral banks
It is a unique city, both above and underneath the water surface, creating blue habitats projecting and stimulating coral growth. Artificial coral banks will be attached to the underside of the city, which will stimulate coral to grow naturally. The submerged and protected coral reefs of the lagoon will provide a natural wave (reduction) breaker that, in combination with the interrelated grid of floating structures, provides comfort and safety for the residents.
The concept is based on the local culture of this sea-farers nation. Maldivians have a strong relation with the sea, so living on water is aligned with their culture and history. The city characterizes as a boating community, using the canals as main infrastructure for logistics and gateways, and by doing so reducing land-based movements to walking and biking on natural white sand roads. No cars are allowed, only bicycles and electric noise-free buggies/scooters.
The Lagoon stretching over 200 ha will not only welcome several thousands of housing units, but also a waterfront, community facilities such as clinics and schools, hotels, shops and restaurants.