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Floating cities - fantasy or the future?

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Floating cities have long seemed like a utopian pipedream based on little more than fantasy.

But this week the concept appeared to take a step closer to reality through a UN-backed partnership.

UN-Habitat, which works on sustainable urban development, will team up with private firm Oceanix, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The Explorers Club, a professional society that promotes scientific exploration around the world, to further the idea.

As climate change advances at an alarming rate and huge numbers of people cram into city slums, "floating cities is one of the possible solutions", UN-Habitat's executive director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, says.

How would it work?

Oceanix City, or the world's first sustainable floating city, would essentially be groups of hexagonal platforms - anchored to the seabed - that could each house around 300 people, effectively creating a community for 10,000 residents.

Cages under the city could harvest scallops, kelp, or other forms of seafood.

Marc Collins Chen, the chief executive of Oceanix, said the technology to build large floating infrastructure or housing already exists.

"The biggest question in people's minds is if these cities can actually float," Mr Collins Chen told the BBC.

"There are thousands of such houses in the Netherlands and other communities around the world. It is now a question of scale and creating integrated systems and communities."




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