UN discusses floating cities as a solution to coastal habitat issues

Signal of change / UN discusses floating cities as a solution to coastal habitat issues

By Jennifer Revell / 09 Apr 2019

The United Nations met to discuss the possibility of floating cities as a possible solution to problems facing coastal cities. The rising population, increased flooding and extreme weather due to climate change, and sea level rise put coastal populations at risk. This risk is likely to worsen with climate breakdown

The UN-Habitat programme group discussed the idea of ‘satellite cities’ where coastal urbanization is hitting its limits. These communities would be sustained with renewable energy, rainwater, and local food production.


So what?

Floating cities must consider expense and safety issues. Those who are most under threat are the least affluent. Therefore, how could the project assure that the costly cities would benefit those in need of them?

Furthermore, the floating cities would have to endure the same extreme weather happenings as existing coastal habitats. Leaders of the project outline that the threat from rising seas and storm surge is erased 1-2 miles offshore. However, the Mozambique floods were caused by a cyclone, could these new structures withstand storms such as this?

Additionally, unintended social consequences might occur from having secluded coastal cities. Inhabitants of communities in isolation could lack exposure to other cultures and potentially suffer from social isolation that can be damaging to mental health.

Can these floating cities provide refuge to coastal populations while being socially and financially viable?




What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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