Floating cities may appear as if one thing straight from the pages of science fiction, however in fact, people have been dwelling, and farming, on floating habitats for hundreds of years.
“We have compiled an inventory of 64 case research of floating indigenous communities all over the world,” mentioned Julia Watson, a lecturer in design at Harvard University and creator of LO-TEK. Design by Radical Indigenism, a e book exploring design classes we are able to study from indigenous cultures. “What’s extra, these indigenous programs have at all times been inherently sustainable, one thing our cities at the moment aren’t.”
Examples of floating communities can nonetheless be discovered at present, such because the cultivated reed islands of the Uru folks on Lake Titicaca, on the border of Bolivia and Peru. Floating gardens are extra widespread nonetheless, notably in Bangladesh, the place farmers sow seeds on “rafts” made out of buoyant weeds, which rise and fall with flood waters following the annual monsoons.
Somewhat sarcastically, it was the development of enormous cities that led to the disappearance of many of those aquatic habitations and practices, which at the moment are being touted as the way forward for city dwelling.
“In Europe and China, the event of cities and the filling of wetlands and lakes sadly erased a variety of these applied sciences,” mentioned Watson.
Back in Amsterdam, van Namen was rattling via yet one more downside as we stood on the finish of Waterbuurt’s foremost jetty, watching one of many residents information a paddleboard between two floating properties.
“The floating doubles [semi-detached houses] gave us an actual headache. Especially at first, when was one was occupied and the opposite was not,” he mentioned, a smile already flickering throughout his face. “Now, a traditional family has roughly a few tonnes of stuff being introduced in, so you’ll be able to think about there was a variety of these doubles that seemed slightly… imbalanced.” Van Namen held his arm at a 45-degree angle for instance his level, earlier than slapping his knee on the reminiscence.