The concept of floating cities may sound like something from a science fiction novel, but it could become a reality by 2020. Seasteading Institute, a San Francisco-based nonprofit has been developing this idea since the foundation of the organization in 2008, and it has reached an agreement with the government of French Polynesia to begin testing in its waters.
“If you could have a floating city, it would essentially be a start-up country,” Joe Quirk, the president of the Seasteading Institute told the New York Times. “We can create a huge diversity of governments for a huge diversity of people.”
The community in question should consist of about a dozen structures, including homes, hotels, offices, and restaurants. Engineers and architects have already visited an undisclosed location where the project should emerge. The main aim of the idea is to “liberate humanity from politicians” and “rewrite the rules that govern society”.
Quirk claimed that building this utopian offshore will cost about $167 million. The Seasteading Institute has already received seed funding from PayPal founder Peter Thiel, however for the next phase of the project the institute hopes to hold an “initial coin offering,” a crowdfunding campaign which raises money by creating and selling virtual currency.
Floating cities are no longer science fiction
Seasteading Institute, a San Francisco-based nonprofit has been developing this idea since the foundation of the organization in 2008
It has reached an agreement with the government of French Polynesia to begin testing in its waters
The team has made a deal with French Polynesia to create a “unique governing framework” in a patch of ocean where their project can begin.
Mr Quirk, who describes himself as a ‘seavangelist’, first became interested in the notion of seasteading at Nevada’s Burning Man festival in 2011. The festival provided him with an idea of the type of unconstrained society he would like to see flourishing in offshore cities.
Another early backer of seasteading, the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, has invested $1.7 million in The Seasteading Institute, but has since fallen out of love with the idea.
“They’re not quite feasible from an engineering perspective,” Mr Thiel told the New York Times in a separate interview. “That’s still very far in the future.”
“We can create a huge diversity of governments for a huge diversity of people”
Indeed, past efforts to get seasteading off the ground have not been successful, with a prototype planned for the San Francisco Bay in 2010 failing to appear.
But the team behind the Floating Island Project are sure of their new idea, and are currently in the process of demonstrating the project’s viability to the French Polynesian local government.
The Memorandum of Understanding they have signed is based on the seasteaders’ ability to show the positive economic and environmental impact it would have for their host nation.
If that all goes to plan, they anticipate work beginning on development of the pilot project as early as 2018 and beyond that, many more.
“I want to see floating cities by 2050, thousands of them hopefully,” said Mr Quirk.
The community in question should consist of about a dozen structures, including homes, hotels, offices, and restaurants
“If you could have a floating city, it would essentially be a start-up country”