7 surprising facts about the world’s first floating city

From California to Copenhagen, cities are taking action to stay above water. But as the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group predicts that sea level rise of at least half a meter (about 1.6 feet) will affect 800 million city dwellers by 2050, tackling climate change will require clearly unexpected and unconventional ideas.

Enter Oceanix Busan, a recently unveiled design for what would function as a sustainable floating neighborhood just off the coast of South Korea’s main port city. The modular project will use a wide range of sustainable materials and methods with the goal of fostering a self-sustaining human habitat capable of coping with any sea level rise. Here’s a look at what makes this offshore project so groundbreaking.

A view from land shows stunning views of the harbour.

Three platforms, three goals

The initial design of Oceanix Busan calls for three interconnected platforms, grounded via bridges, each with a distinct function. There is an accommodation platform, which offers rooms with panoramic views of the harbor, shops, restaurants and other common areas. A research platform features a climate-controlled garden space, featuring hydroponic towers that will grow food from the floating city. Finally, the Living Platform is where full-time residents reside and congregate.

There’s room to stretch out

Oceanix’s initial plan calls for 15.5 acres of platform space that can accommodate 12,000 people. But just as it’s designed to rise with sea level, its rather modular footprint can grow to accommodate 100,000 people across a total of 20 platforms.

It is built with materials that grow

Biorock is a key material for the Oceanix Busan platforms, which will be anchored to the seabed. Often used to help repair damage to coral reefs and reinvigorate aquatic ecosystems, Biorock essentially absorbs minerals from seawater to naturally form a limestone coating that is not only several times stronger than typical concrete, but which is also self-sufficient and self-repairing over time. Add to that the fact that Biorock actually absorbs quite a bit of carbon dioxide, and it’s easy to see why this durable material plays such a vital role in the project.