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INHABITAT INTERVIEW: Waterstudio's Koen Olthuis on FLOAT!
Q. Do you think entire cities could be built as floating habitats — or even entire countries like the Maldives? What are the current limitations of such an endeavor in terms of economics, public opinion/education or technology?
A. Technically, entire cities could be built on water, but now, the necessity and perception is not there. First, you will see an ideal combination of hydrocity with land-based and water-based developments with wet and dry infrastructure. Neither technology nor economics — but perception of the politics is the key in the evolution of a dry city to a hydrocity. For normal people living in a hydrocity it would be a better city that is adaptable to changing needs.
Q. How do you imagine that city/country? A series of floating platforms with canals as streets?
A. A city on water will not look so different from a normal city as we are used to today. The foundation will be floating on a combination of large mega floats, but on the platforms itself you will find normal structures as housing, offices, parks, roads etc. The extra advantage of a floating city are the city apps. Floating functions can easily be added to the city by placing them on the water. A floating sport stadium, a floating golf course, floating housing units, roads etc. So with these city apps you could easily adapt the city to its changing needs. Planning for change is what it’s all about.
Q.How does urban planning differ for floating cities compared to land based ones?
A. Urban planning on water brings urban planning in another dimension. For the last hundred years urban planners have tried to build more densely to provide for more prosperity along with the cost-effective infrastructure of heath care, education, transportation etc. Growing vertically with skyscrapers and underground structures has been the norm. Now, using the water in the city partly for building and additional functions creates new opportunities for new density and flexibility.
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