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A geodesic dome: sustainable Arctic Circle living in style
The Arctic Circle is not exactly known for its pleasant living conditions. The temperatures are more often than not lingering around the freezing point. The winter is long and dark, while the summer is short and still rather cool. Only very few animal and plant species are able to survive in those harsh conditions, making it an even tougher place to live.   The Hjertefølger family took on the challenge of living in this place where the nearest neighbour might be dozens of miles away. Mom, dad, and four kids have spent the last three years in a hand-built cob house, protected by a huge, geodesic glass dome. Inside, the family can live comfortably during the year, while growing their own food as well. Sounds futuristic? Well, it sure it! Meet the Arctic Nature House of the Hjertefølgers The house of the Hjertefølgers is located in the north of Norway , on an island called Sandhornøya. A gorgeous, rough environment, for sure, that is shrouded in darkness for the majority in the year. This puts a great strain on any building. As such, the family came up with their treasured project, that took over two years to design and build.   The end result? The Naturhuset, or Nature House, is self-sustaining and powered by solar energy, consisting of three storeys and boasting five bedrooms. Along with this, a large irrigated outdoor garden was designed to guarantee a stable supply of food. These crops will be able to grow in the toughest of winters, as they are placed under a massive, 25-foot-high glass dome. Even fruits and vegetables that are not normally suited for the climate thrive in this environment. Green, eco-friendly and  sustainable architecture All aspects of this building have been designed in such a way that they are as eco-friendly and carbon neutral as possible. For instance, the family composts and re-uses water to water the plants. Additionally, the solar system on the roof ensure that, for those summer months in which the sun is actually out and shining, it fully operates on renewable energy sources.   Mother Ingrid has been a driving force behind this new family home. She calls herself a permaculturalist, vegan and yoga practitioner and prides herself on a carbon-neutral lifestyle - that she is happy to pass on to her children. And although most would not consider the Arctic Circle to be the best place to raise a family, she is happy they did: “ The house works as we intended and planned. We love the house; it has a soul of its own and it feels very personal. What surprises us is the fact that we built ourselves anew as we built the house. The process changed us, shaped us .” Further technical details Ingrid is not exactly exaggerating when she claims that she and her family built the house from scratch. It truly is a labour of love, built out of cob. This mixture of earth, straw and sand is an ancient-old, natural material; that is allegedly able to withstand fire and earthquakes - all while being cheap and energy-efficient.   As for the dome, this has been constructed using 360 panels of 6-millimeter thick glass. At this thickness, it is capable of withstanding the heavy winds and snowfall that the area is infamous for. These glass panels are placed in a recycled aluminium frame, chosen for its lifespan of over 100 years, its low maintenance costs and its structural integrity. To top it off, the solar system covering the dome generates sufficient renewable energy to meet the house’s needs. Why the dome-home is such a great idea Normally, people would be discouraged from taking on the challenge of building a house on or near the Arctic Circle. Not only is the delivery of building materials an absolute headache, the energy needs of such a process are substantial. Yet the movement where people opt for homes under a dome is commendable and promising. The greenhouse-dome will mitigate the worst of temperatures and keep heating costs down, a notorious pitfall for Arctic houses. At the same time, it allows households to grow their own produce, using the excess heat stored in the dome. Homegrown, local products are always preferable to imported fruits and vegetables - another promising movement to drive down energy costs.   And if this does not ring true - then consider the great pictures you can share on your Instagram account. Just ask Ingrid (@im_hjerte). https://www.whatsorb.com/category/architecture
The Arctic Circle is not exactly known for its pleasant living conditions. The temperatures are more often than not lingering around the freezing point. The winter is long and dark, while the summer is short and still rather cool. Only very few animal and plant species are able to survive in those harsh conditions, making it an even tougher place to live.   The Hjertefølger family took on the challenge of living in this place where the nearest neighbour might be dozens of miles away. Mom, dad, and four kids have spent the last three years in a hand-built cob house, protected by a huge, geodesic glass dome. Inside, the family can live comfortably during the year, while growing their own food as well. Sounds futuristic? Well, it sure it! Meet the Arctic Nature House of the Hjertefølgers The house of the Hjertefølgers is located in the north of Norway , on an island called Sandhornøya. A gorgeous, rough environment, for sure, that is shrouded in darkness for the majority in the year. This puts a great strain on any building. As such, the family came up with their treasured project, that took over two years to design and build.   The end result? The Naturhuset, or Nature House, is self-sustaining and powered by solar energy, consisting of three storeys and boasting five bedrooms. Along with this, a large irrigated outdoor garden was designed to guarantee a stable supply of food. These crops will be able to grow in the toughest of winters, as they are placed under a massive, 25-foot-high glass dome. Even fruits and vegetables that are not normally suited for the climate thrive in this environment. Green, eco-friendly and  sustainable architecture All aspects of this building have been designed in such a way that they are as eco-friendly and carbon neutral as possible. For instance, the family composts and re-uses water to water the plants. Additionally, the solar system on the roof ensure that, for those summer months in which the sun is actually out and shining, it fully operates on renewable energy sources.   Mother Ingrid has been a driving force behind this new family home. She calls herself a permaculturalist, vegan and yoga practitioner and prides herself on a carbon-neutral lifestyle - that she is happy to pass on to her children. And although most would not consider the Arctic Circle to be the best place to raise a family, she is happy they did: “ The house works as we intended and planned. We love the house; it has a soul of its own and it feels very personal. What surprises us is the fact that we built ourselves anew as we built the house. The process changed us, shaped us .” Further technical details Ingrid is not exactly exaggerating when she claims that she and her family built the house from scratch. It truly is a labour of love, built out of cob. This mixture of earth, straw and sand is an ancient-old, natural material; that is allegedly able to withstand fire and earthquakes - all while being cheap and energy-efficient.   As for the dome, this has been constructed using 360 panels of 6-millimeter thick glass. At this thickness, it is capable of withstanding the heavy winds and snowfall that the area is infamous for. These glass panels are placed in a recycled aluminium frame, chosen for its lifespan of over 100 years, its low maintenance costs and its structural integrity. To top it off, the solar system covering the dome generates sufficient renewable energy to meet the house’s needs. Why the dome-home is such a great idea Normally, people would be discouraged from taking on the challenge of building a house on or near the Arctic Circle. Not only is the delivery of building materials an absolute headache, the energy needs of such a process are substantial. Yet the movement where people opt for homes under a dome is commendable and promising. The greenhouse-dome will mitigate the worst of temperatures and keep heating costs down, a notorious pitfall for Arctic houses. At the same time, it allows households to grow their own produce, using the excess heat stored in the dome. Homegrown, local products are always preferable to imported fruits and vegetables - another promising movement to drive down energy costs.   And if this does not ring true - then consider the great pictures you can share on your Instagram account. Just ask Ingrid (@im_hjerte). https://www.whatsorb.com/category/architecture
A geodesic dome: sustainable Arctic Circle living in style
A geodesic dome: sustainable Arctic Circle living in style
Smart design: combining greater sustainability with higher efficiency
Design has a great impact on our society. Not only will it please our eye when done right, it also has the unique potential to host sustainable and healthy communities. Nothing can hurt the environment more than a poorly designed building: both in terms of sustainability and liveability.   Now that the urban population is growing exponentially, hand in hand with the overall number of people on our world, we need to think carefully about how to make sure we all ‘fit’. By 2050, another staggering two billion people are expected to move to a global city. There has to be a way to get all of them a proper home and sufficient facilities and amenities. In anticipation of this enormous change, designers and architects are working tirelessly to come up with buildings that use the available space effectively, to ensure that they use fewer resources and will be much more sustainable - while guaranteeing optimal comfort and quality of life. And in order to do so, a few trends can be identified: the driving forces behind smart design. Use of data to anticipate climate change While no-one knows exactly how climate change will affect our world, we do know that it will do so. Therefore, buildings must be built with the entire notion of global warming in mind. A concept called climate resilience plays a very important role in this. It describes the way in which we are able to adapt to climate change, or to bounce back after weather-related disasters.   So, how can we guarantee climate resilience without actually knowing what this would entail? A major headache for architects, yet at the same time one of their greatest opportunities. Those who are able to figure out a strategy for incorporating this in their design will be one step ahead of the competition.   Data plays an important role in this. Data on pollution levels, data on extreme weather events, historical trends in combination with projected sea levels and other weather-related statistics: they will help to document climate change. This, in turn, helps us to improve our designed answer. We can design buildings that tackle the root issues of climate change while being prepared for its consequences. Planning for resilience Concretely speaking, the effects of all this are best seen in the planning of our cities and buildings. Each city faces its own set of challenges in the face of changing weather patterns and the rising sea level; and the mass migration and resource scarcity that may result from this.   This is where policy and design meet in a unique feat of city-planning, that takes into account how certain areas can be kept secure, while the prevailing culture is protected and honoured - all while behaviour change is encouraged that will help cities respond to challenges and disasters.   Restricting carbon emissions A known fact is that about half of all greenhouse gas emissions are directly related to that share of the world that has been built by us, also known as the built environment. So, we should be very mindful of the impact of those objects and areas that we have built - and consider their impact on the larger environment. Especially now that the latest projections of the UN estimate that some additional 2.5 trillion square feet of new spaces will have to be built over the course of the next 40 years. This roughly adds up to a brand new New York City that has to be erected every single month during these 40 years. An amazing number, that will seriously jeopardise our environment if we do not take drastic measures to amp up the sustainability of the energy and materials that we use for this; and carefully consider where to build. Once we minimise the impact of the building on the environment, and clearly mapping out where our energy is needed the most, we can cut back on overall emissions by simply planning and working sustainably.   Designing and constructing for a changing world The far majority - about 75% - of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. We are occupying increasingly smaller amounts of space in the most crowded areas, clustering together. While this may bring along challenges, its also gives us the unique opportunity to design for the changing world. Buildings with zero or negative emissions, focused on climate resilience, and using sustainable and energy-efficient constructions: careful planning can make a world of difference in the way we build a different world. https://www.whatsorb.com/architecture/category/architecture
Design has a great impact on our society. Not only will it please our eye when done right, it also has the unique potential to host sustainable and healthy communities. Nothing can hurt the environment more than a poorly designed building: both in terms of sustainability and liveability.   Now that the urban population is growing exponentially, hand in hand with the overall number of people on our world, we need to think carefully about how to make sure we all ‘fit’. By 2050, another staggering two billion people are expected to move to a global city. There has to be a way to get all of them a proper home and sufficient facilities and amenities. In anticipation of this enormous change, designers and architects are working tirelessly to come up with buildings that use the available space effectively, to ensure that they use fewer resources and will be much more sustainable - while guaranteeing optimal comfort and quality of life. And in order to do so, a few trends can be identified: the driving forces behind smart design. Use of data to anticipate climate change While no-one knows exactly how climate change will affect our world, we do know that it will do so. Therefore, buildings must be built with the entire notion of global warming in mind. A concept called climate resilience plays a very important role in this. It describes the way in which we are able to adapt to climate change, or to bounce back after weather-related disasters.   So, how can we guarantee climate resilience without actually knowing what this would entail? A major headache for architects, yet at the same time one of their greatest opportunities. Those who are able to figure out a strategy for incorporating this in their design will be one step ahead of the competition.   Data plays an important role in this. Data on pollution levels, data on extreme weather events, historical trends in combination with projected sea levels and other weather-related statistics: they will help to document climate change. This, in turn, helps us to improve our designed answer. We can design buildings that tackle the root issues of climate change while being prepared for its consequences. Planning for resilience Concretely speaking, the effects of all this are best seen in the planning of our cities and buildings. Each city faces its own set of challenges in the face of changing weather patterns and the rising sea level; and the mass migration and resource scarcity that may result from this.   This is where policy and design meet in a unique feat of city-planning, that takes into account how certain areas can be kept secure, while the prevailing culture is protected and honoured - all while behaviour change is encouraged that will help cities respond to challenges and disasters.   Restricting carbon emissions A known fact is that about half of all greenhouse gas emissions are directly related to that share of the world that has been built by us, also known as the built environment. So, we should be very mindful of the impact of those objects and areas that we have built - and consider their impact on the larger environment. Especially now that the latest projections of the UN estimate that some additional 2.5 trillion square feet of new spaces will have to be built over the course of the next 40 years. This roughly adds up to a brand new New York City that has to be erected every single month during these 40 years. An amazing number, that will seriously jeopardise our environment if we do not take drastic measures to amp up the sustainability of the energy and materials that we use for this; and carefully consider where to build. Once we minimise the impact of the building on the environment, and clearly mapping out where our energy is needed the most, we can cut back on overall emissions by simply planning and working sustainably.   Designing and constructing for a changing world The far majority - about 75% - of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. We are occupying increasingly smaller amounts of space in the most crowded areas, clustering together. While this may bring along challenges, its also gives us the unique opportunity to design for the changing world. Buildings with zero or negative emissions, focused on climate resilience, and using sustainable and energy-efficient constructions: careful planning can make a world of difference in the way we build a different world. https://www.whatsorb.com/architecture/category/architecture
Smart design: combining greater sustainability with higher efficiency
Smart design: combining greater sustainability with higher efficiency
Copenhagen
Being a true metropolis and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Northern Europe, Copenhagen (Denmark) is a place most commonly associated with all kinds of city-typical views and buildings. High-rise office buildings are interspersed with historical, stately monuments and fancy urban areas. Yet those visiting will be delighted to find, right in the middle of a crowded intersection, a experimental piece of nature. Right next to a busy train station and a road junction that is crossed by thousands of people every day, effortlessly blending in to its environment. A living, breathing organism This piece of nature is called “Biotope”, and was created by architect Simon Hjermind Jensen. The artfully designed pavilion is home to a microcosm of plants and insects - housing some sixty different seeds sown into the soil and a beehive, meant to encourage the flourishing and evolving of the ecosystem.   The shape of the pavilion best resembles an organism or bacteria, and through its translucent shell (which is, in fact, a 4 mm thick polycarbonate membrane), it truly comes across as something natural, while giving outsiders and passersby a unique perspective of the blossoming and flourishing life inside the greenhouse. Surviving in the harsh city Additionally, there is no need for a gardener: the greenhouse is self-watering, through the collection of rainwater, that flows to the soil through small holes in the membrane. It also doubles as a bench for tired pedestrians, who can sit on the outer side of the organic bowl and admire the life inside, that evolves fully of its own account, without any outside interference. This was exactly the question that led to this project: to see how and if a fully enclosed natural microcosm could survive in a city, in those harsh and hostile conditions. As climate change could irreversibly change the world and our ecosystem as we know it, this study seeks to find ways of integrating nature in our lives, even in harsher environments: could it survive inside the homes of people in a global-warming-stricken world?   While this might sound gloomy and ominous to some, it could be seen as a shining light, a reassurance that, no matter what, we will always be surrounded by nature, even in the harshest of environments.
Being a true metropolis and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Northern Europe, Copenhagen (Denmark) is a place most commonly associated with all kinds of city-typical views and buildings. High-rise office buildings are interspersed with historical, stately monuments and fancy urban areas. Yet those visiting will be delighted to find, right in the middle of a crowded intersection, a experimental piece of nature. Right next to a busy train station and a road junction that is crossed by thousands of people every day, effortlessly blending in to its environment. A living, breathing organism This piece of nature is called “Biotope”, and was created by architect Simon Hjermind Jensen. The artfully designed pavilion is home to a microcosm of plants and insects - housing some sixty different seeds sown into the soil and a beehive, meant to encourage the flourishing and evolving of the ecosystem.   The shape of the pavilion best resembles an organism or bacteria, and through its translucent shell (which is, in fact, a 4 mm thick polycarbonate membrane), it truly comes across as something natural, while giving outsiders and passersby a unique perspective of the blossoming and flourishing life inside the greenhouse. Surviving in the harsh city Additionally, there is no need for a gardener: the greenhouse is self-watering, through the collection of rainwater, that flows to the soil through small holes in the membrane. It also doubles as a bench for tired pedestrians, who can sit on the outer side of the organic bowl and admire the life inside, that evolves fully of its own account, without any outside interference. This was exactly the question that led to this project: to see how and if a fully enclosed natural microcosm could survive in a city, in those harsh and hostile conditions. As climate change could irreversibly change the world and our ecosystem as we know it, this study seeks to find ways of integrating nature in our lives, even in harsher environments: could it survive inside the homes of people in a global-warming-stricken world?   While this might sound gloomy and ominous to some, it could be seen as a shining light, a reassurance that, no matter what, we will always be surrounded by nature, even in the harshest of environments.
Copenhagen
Copenhagen's experimental greenhouse
Sustainable House Day - You are cordially invited
As a global platform, WhatsOrb presents an opportunity to share interesting local events and holidays related to sustainability with the world. So today I would like to share with you a great initiative coming from the Land Down Under – Sustainable House Day. Established in 2001, this event allows Australians to visit and learn from the most environmentally friendly houses in the country. Sustainable House Day’s goal is to inspire people to live more sustainably and show how they can reduce their energy bills and help the environment. This is a unique opportunity for Australians to meet the people that have transformed their living and working spaces, learn from their experience and get a lot of practical information on how to make their own houses “greener”.  The event usually takes place in mid-September. Unfortunately for those of us that aren’t in Australia on that day we cannot see the houses in person, but luckily we can still have a peek at some of these unique dwellings. The garden of eco-friendly delights Photo taken by the owner, taken from Sustainable House Day listing First up is Jaspar’s Home and Gardens. It is a great example of an existing home that was improved upon to make it more sustainable and support surrounding wildlife. The house features solar panels that provide low-cost electricity and re-glazed and draught-proofed sash windows that help insulate the home. There are also above ground water tanks that supply all water throughout the house, including drinking water. While the house itself is quite “green”, it is the garden that can become a great example of sustainability that goes beyond reducing resource usage. The garden beds are watered with filtered grey water and are covered with deep mulch to retain the water. Jasper grows many fruit trees and vegetables without use of any artificial fertilisers, making it all that much more enjoyable. When he has any vegetable waste from cooking, he puts it into his worm farms to compost that can later be used to grow more vegetables. In the meanwhile, his 6 native bee hives help with flower fertilisation and ducks assist with pest control. Lastly, he created habitats such as water features, log piles, drilled logs and other to increase local wildlife. This is a truly great use of his resources that takes sustainability to a new level – and by his own estimations all of the improvements cost him a mere AUD 30,000 (approx. EUR 18’500 or USD 21’000)! Latest in sustainable  house construction Photo by the owner, taken from the Sustainable House Day listing Another interesting example is Lekofly, an iBuilds Melbourne display centre that a result of a holistic approach to sustainability. This house demonstrates how a combination of various materials and technologies can create a modern stylish building that will save consumers hundreds of dollars every year in energy costs. With iBuild’s technology sustainability starts with materials. They use recyclable and locally sourced materials that are termite and fire resistant and are guaranteed to last. These materials are used to produce unique modules that are then transported to the final destinations and assembled into finished houses. This model allows them to cut down transportation emissions, costs and time, as well as leave the neighbours happier due to lack of noise and dust pollution. The finished product is a highly energy efficient house that can be disassembled and relocated at any time. Naturally, one can add features like solar panels and water tanks to make it more self-sufficient. A self-sufficient house with a tiny footprint Photo by Richard Ellender, taken from Sustainable House Day listing And of course this list won’t be complete without a tiny house. The Mayflower was designed and constructed by Tiny Footprint in just 8 weeks time in 2017. Its design is truly stunning and it wouldn’t look out of place in an interior magazine, while creative use of space makes it feel much bigger than it is. However, the true beauty of this house lies in its use of sustainable solutions. The Mayflower was designed to be used off-grid and thus has no dependence on mains electricity, water and septic. This is achieved by using a composting toilet, low flow shower head, specialised rain and grey water collection systems, energy-efficient lights and appliances and of course solar panels. The house is completely insulated, allowing it to stay warm during winter with little need for heating, while the ceiling fan and carefully positioned windows and skylights provide the much needed cooling during hot Australian summers. Does your house have sustainable features? Or have you visited one of the houses during the event this year? Share your pictures and stories with us on social media and don’t forget to tag WhatsOrb so we can see it! https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/architecture/general
As a global platform, WhatsOrb presents an opportunity to share interesting local events and holidays related to sustainability with the world. So today I would like to share with you a great initiative coming from the Land Down Under – Sustainable House Day. Established in 2001, this event allows Australians to visit and learn from the most environmentally friendly houses in the country. Sustainable House Day’s goal is to inspire people to live more sustainably and show how they can reduce their energy bills and help the environment. This is a unique opportunity for Australians to meet the people that have transformed their living and working spaces, learn from their experience and get a lot of practical information on how to make their own houses “greener”.  The event usually takes place in mid-September. Unfortunately for those of us that aren’t in Australia on that day we cannot see the houses in person, but luckily we can still have a peek at some of these unique dwellings. The garden of eco-friendly delights Photo taken by the owner, taken from Sustainable House Day listing First up is Jaspar’s Home and Gardens. It is a great example of an existing home that was improved upon to make it more sustainable and support surrounding wildlife. The house features solar panels that provide low-cost electricity and re-glazed and draught-proofed sash windows that help insulate the home. There are also above ground water tanks that supply all water throughout the house, including drinking water. While the house itself is quite “green”, it is the garden that can become a great example of sustainability that goes beyond reducing resource usage. The garden beds are watered with filtered grey water and are covered with deep mulch to retain the water. Jasper grows many fruit trees and vegetables without use of any artificial fertilisers, making it all that much more enjoyable. When he has any vegetable waste from cooking, he puts it into his worm farms to compost that can later be used to grow more vegetables. In the meanwhile, his 6 native bee hives help with flower fertilisation and ducks assist with pest control. Lastly, he created habitats such as water features, log piles, drilled logs and other to increase local wildlife. This is a truly great use of his resources that takes sustainability to a new level – and by his own estimations all of the improvements cost him a mere AUD 30,000 (approx. EUR 18’500 or USD 21’000)! Latest in sustainable  house construction Photo by the owner, taken from the Sustainable House Day listing Another interesting example is Lekofly, an iBuilds Melbourne display centre that a result of a holistic approach to sustainability. This house demonstrates how a combination of various materials and technologies can create a modern stylish building that will save consumers hundreds of dollars every year in energy costs. With iBuild’s technology sustainability starts with materials. They use recyclable and locally sourced materials that are termite and fire resistant and are guaranteed to last. These materials are used to produce unique modules that are then transported to the final destinations and assembled into finished houses. This model allows them to cut down transportation emissions, costs and time, as well as leave the neighbours happier due to lack of noise and dust pollution. The finished product is a highly energy efficient house that can be disassembled and relocated at any time. Naturally, one can add features like solar panels and water tanks to make it more self-sufficient. A self-sufficient house with a tiny footprint Photo by Richard Ellender, taken from Sustainable House Day listing And of course this list won’t be complete without a tiny house. The Mayflower was designed and constructed by Tiny Footprint in just 8 weeks time in 2017. Its design is truly stunning and it wouldn’t look out of place in an interior magazine, while creative use of space makes it feel much bigger than it is. However, the true beauty of this house lies in its use of sustainable solutions. The Mayflower was designed to be used off-grid and thus has no dependence on mains electricity, water and septic. This is achieved by using a composting toilet, low flow shower head, specialised rain and grey water collection systems, energy-efficient lights and appliances and of course solar panels. The house is completely insulated, allowing it to stay warm during winter with little need for heating, while the ceiling fan and carefully positioned windows and skylights provide the much needed cooling during hot Australian summers. Does your house have sustainable features? Or have you visited one of the houses during the event this year? Share your pictures and stories with us on social media and don’t forget to tag WhatsOrb so we can see it! https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/architecture/general
Sustainable House Day - You are cordially invited
Sustainable House Day - You are cordially invited
Floating city – a sci-fi trope or a salvation for many nations?
In 1995, Universal Studios released a movie called “Waterworld”. It takes place in distant future, where polar ice caps have completely melted and the sea consumed nearly all of the land, forcing remaining humans to live on floating communities. At the time this was the most expensive movie ever made – and it wasn’t exactly a box office hit. But would it be possible to successfully recreate the futuristic communities from the movie in real life? The Seasteading Institute answers this question with a resounding “yes!” Seasteading Institute is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 2008 and their mission is “ to enable seasteading communities – floating cities – which will allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for government”. They have partnered up with many companies, academics, architects and governments, and they are aiming to build the first prototype off the coast of Tahiti by 2020. Solution to rising sea levels that raises concerns At first glance, the idea seems very appealing. Rising sea levels and populism are putting pressure on many communities and the founders of Seasteading Institute are hoping to give people a chance to redesign society and experiment with new forms of government. According to Joe Quirk, the current president of the institute, existing governments don’t get better because “land incentivizes a violent monopoly to control it”. Thus, according to him “no land means no problem”, but this isn’t a view that’s shared by everyone. Many experts have criticized the plan, calling it impractical and elitist. Professor Peter Newman from Curtin University described the idea as “apartheid of the worst kind”. He argues that only the wealthy will be able to afford living on these islands and allowing them to set their own rules will only further the divide between the wealthy and the rest of the world. He also doubts that this is something that will be possible to sustain long-term in most places from a societal point of view – after all, healthcare, education and various forms of entertainment are vital to societies, yet hard to deliver in such small, isolated communities. However, Professor Newman did agree that we have the technology to create such eco-friendly, self-sustaining cities. Neil Davies, the executive director of the University of California agrees with him – it is possible to build floating cities that wouldn’t have a negative impact, as long as you respect certain conditions about shading and location. A precedent was set by the Barrier Reef Resort, which was located about 70km(or 43,5 miles) off Queensland coast. It withstood a cyclone and water quality and noise monitoring has shown that it had no significant effect on the surroundings.  Floating cities are not a way to escape environmental issues – they are a way to solve them Mr Quirk’s plans are truly ambitious when it comes to making these islands self-sufficient and sustainable. The islands will be built on floating panels that will help regenerate coral reefs and reverse coral bleaching. This will be made possible by positioning them in such a way that a perfect balance of light and shadow will be created to allow for photosynthesis, while at the same time lowering the temperatures enough to achieve restorative effect. In addition to this, the floating panels will have a plethora of solar panels integrated into them to power the islands. Regenerating coral reefs isn’t the only positive impact on the environment Mr Quirk is hoping his seasteads can achieve. The Institute is hoping to harness ocean aquaculture as a way to meet food, energy and nutritional supplement demands. Rutger de Graaf and Karina Czapiewska are aquatic engineers from the Netherlands that have partnered up with the Seasteading Institute to create algae farms. Micro- and macroalgae (better known as plankton and seaweed) have an important role in regulating the earth’s atmosphere, absorbing waste such as oil spills and providing food for fish, as well as being a valuable crop on their own. When seaweed is mass-produced, it can also be converted into biofuel. This way the islands can not only be self-sufficient, but also provide communities on land with more eco-friendly energy and food sources – all while helping create new, complex ecosystems that will be able to sustain thousands of species. Another technology that Mr Quirk is hoping to see implemented in their seasteads are drifter pens made by Velella Mariculture Research Project. These pens will allow to farm fish in conditions that are closest to their natural habitats, but are in fact better. The fish are well-fed, they have no parasites, don’t get exposed to mercury and pesticides, all while being able to school like they would in the wild. This technology is a sustainable food source and it is set to help repopulate oceans with healthier, happier fish. The founder of Velella Mariculture Research Project, Neil Anthony Sims, says “We need to bring together the environmental motive, the humanitarian motive, the profit motive, so they are not at odds with each other, but aligned with each other.” Certainly, these plans sound incredibly ambitious – but if realised, these floating cities can transform many nations and have a positive impact on the environment, economies and societies around the globe. Do you think that Seastead Institute will be able to make these floating communities? Are there similar projects that you think could become more successful? Let us know in the comments below! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/architecture
In 1995, Universal Studios released a movie called “Waterworld”. It takes place in distant future, where polar ice caps have completely melted and the sea consumed nearly all of the land, forcing remaining humans to live on floating communities. At the time this was the most expensive movie ever made – and it wasn’t exactly a box office hit. But would it be possible to successfully recreate the futuristic communities from the movie in real life? The Seasteading Institute answers this question with a resounding “yes!” Seasteading Institute is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 2008 and their mission is “ to enable seasteading communities – floating cities – which will allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for government”. They have partnered up with many companies, academics, architects and governments, and they are aiming to build the first prototype off the coast of Tahiti by 2020. Solution to rising sea levels that raises concerns At first glance, the idea seems very appealing. Rising sea levels and populism are putting pressure on many communities and the founders of Seasteading Institute are hoping to give people a chance to redesign society and experiment with new forms of government. According to Joe Quirk, the current president of the institute, existing governments don’t get better because “land incentivizes a violent monopoly to control it”. Thus, according to him “no land means no problem”, but this isn’t a view that’s shared by everyone. Many experts have criticized the plan, calling it impractical and elitist. Professor Peter Newman from Curtin University described the idea as “apartheid of the worst kind”. He argues that only the wealthy will be able to afford living on these islands and allowing them to set their own rules will only further the divide between the wealthy and the rest of the world. He also doubts that this is something that will be possible to sustain long-term in most places from a societal point of view – after all, healthcare, education and various forms of entertainment are vital to societies, yet hard to deliver in such small, isolated communities. However, Professor Newman did agree that we have the technology to create such eco-friendly, self-sustaining cities. Neil Davies, the executive director of the University of California agrees with him – it is possible to build floating cities that wouldn’t have a negative impact, as long as you respect certain conditions about shading and location. A precedent was set by the Barrier Reef Resort, which was located about 70km(or 43,5 miles) off Queensland coast. It withstood a cyclone and water quality and noise monitoring has shown that it had no significant effect on the surroundings.  Floating cities are not a way to escape environmental issues – they are a way to solve them Mr Quirk’s plans are truly ambitious when it comes to making these islands self-sufficient and sustainable. The islands will be built on floating panels that will help regenerate coral reefs and reverse coral bleaching. This will be made possible by positioning them in such a way that a perfect balance of light and shadow will be created to allow for photosynthesis, while at the same time lowering the temperatures enough to achieve restorative effect. In addition to this, the floating panels will have a plethora of solar panels integrated into them to power the islands. Regenerating coral reefs isn’t the only positive impact on the environment Mr Quirk is hoping his seasteads can achieve. The Institute is hoping to harness ocean aquaculture as a way to meet food, energy and nutritional supplement demands. Rutger de Graaf and Karina Czapiewska are aquatic engineers from the Netherlands that have partnered up with the Seasteading Institute to create algae farms. Micro- and macroalgae (better known as plankton and seaweed) have an important role in regulating the earth’s atmosphere, absorbing waste such as oil spills and providing food for fish, as well as being a valuable crop on their own. When seaweed is mass-produced, it can also be converted into biofuel. This way the islands can not only be self-sufficient, but also provide communities on land with more eco-friendly energy and food sources – all while helping create new, complex ecosystems that will be able to sustain thousands of species. Another technology that Mr Quirk is hoping to see implemented in their seasteads are drifter pens made by Velella Mariculture Research Project. These pens will allow to farm fish in conditions that are closest to their natural habitats, but are in fact better. The fish are well-fed, they have no parasites, don’t get exposed to mercury and pesticides, all while being able to school like they would in the wild. This technology is a sustainable food source and it is set to help repopulate oceans with healthier, happier fish. The founder of Velella Mariculture Research Project, Neil Anthony Sims, says “We need to bring together the environmental motive, the humanitarian motive, the profit motive, so they are not at odds with each other, but aligned with each other.” Certainly, these plans sound incredibly ambitious – but if realised, these floating cities can transform many nations and have a positive impact on the environment, economies and societies around the globe. Do you think that Seastead Institute will be able to make these floating communities? Are there similar projects that you think could become more successful? Let us know in the comments below! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/architecture
Floating city – a sci-fi trope or a salvation for many nations?
Floating city – a sci-fi trope or a salvation for many nations?
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