courtesy Oceanix

The following is a Nov. 18 press release from the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) and Oceanix announcing that the coastal city of Busan, home to 3.4 million residents, has signed an agreement to host the first sustainable floating city prototype—a BIG–Bjarke Ingels Group design first revealed at the 2019 High-Level United Nations Roundtable on Sustainable Floating Cities.

The Busan Metropolitan City of the Republic of Korea, UN-Habitat and OCEANIX today signed a historic agreement to build the world’s first prototype sustainable floating city. On the heels of COP26, the partners seek to innovate breakthrough solutions for coastal cities threatened by sea level rise.

Coastal cities are on the frontlines of climate-related risks. Flooding is destroying billions of dollars worth of infrastructure and forcing millions of climate refugees to leave their homes. The challenge is huge: two out of every five people in the world live within 100 kilometres of the coast, and 90 percent of mega cities worldwide are vulnerable to rising sea levels. The floating city is envisaged as a flood-proof infrastructure that rises with the sea and produces its own food, energy and fresh water with fully integrated zero waste closed-loop systems.

courtesy Oceanix

“Sustainable floating cities are a part of the arsenal of climate adaptation strategies available to us. Instead of fighting with water, let us learn to live in harmony with it. We look forward to developing nature-based solutions through the floating city concept, and Busan is the ideal choice to deploy the prototype,” said the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, stressing that the battle to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals would be won or lost in cities.

Coastal cities are facing unique demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges. With nowhere to expand, rapid urban population growth is pushing people closer to the water, driving housing costs to prohibitive levels, and squeezing the poorest families out.

courtesy Oceanix

“With the complex changes facing coastal cities, we need a new vision where it is possible for people, nature and technology to co-exist. There is no better place than Busan to take the first step towards sustainable human settlements on the ocean, proudly built by Korea for the world,” said Mayor Park Heong-joon. Busan is one of the most important maritime cities of the 21st century, making it an attractive location for the prototype. Busan is also bidding for World Expo 2030.

“Sea level rise is a formidable threat, but sustainable floating infrastructure can help solve this looming catastrophe. We are excited to make history with Busan and UN-Habitat in ushering in humanity’s next frontier,” said the co-Founders of OCEANIX, Itai Madamombe and Marc Collins Chen, adding that the prototype would be approached at a hyper-local level, taking into account the rich social, economic, political and cultural uniqueness of Korea as the host country.