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Surprising Science

Your New Homestead: Sea, Sand, or Sky?

Far from being a science-fiction dream, “future cities” are slowly coming within the grasp of reality. An article reviews a number of different projects from around the world.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Architects and visionaries around the world are working on new forms of housing to accommodate the world’s growing population. A recent article in The Telegraph (UK) takes a look at several projects that come under three categories: “Seasteads,” manmade structures that float on the ocean; eco-cities, with functions designed for lower environmental impact; and super-skyscrapers, which will house millions of people.

What’s the Big Idea?

In ideal circumstances, most of the projects described can be realized within the next 10-15 years. One, Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, already has inhabitants even though it’s still under construction. However, each project has significant challenges to overcome, not the least of which is simple human acceptance. On the one hand, Hong Kong is considered a model for superskyscraper living, since many of its city residents already live in 50-story buildings. On the other hand, in Masdar City,which hopes to become the world’s most technologically advanced eco-city, people complain about the energy “smart grid” that pre-shortens showers and restricts air conditioning. Patri Friedman, founder of the Seasteading Institute, admits that people who want to live in the middle of the ocean will have to “care more about a new society than [having] as much water as they want.”

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