Home Sea food ‘Oceanix City’: Busan gives green light to floating flood-resistant settlement

‘Oceanix City’: Busan gives green light to floating flood-resistant settlement

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Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

The South Korean city of Busan has green light plans for an ambitious new ocean colony, with work on the first neighborhood set to begin next year.

Composed of a series of interconnected platforms, the proposed “floating city” could eventually accommodate 10,000 people, according to its designers, offering coastal areas a drastic solution to the threat posed by rising sea levels.

The Oceanix project, a collaboration of designers, architects and engineers, unveiled plans for a “flood-proof” city in 2019 – and organizers have since searched for a place to build prototypes. Last month, the group signed an agreement with Busan and UN-Habitat, the United Nations urban development agency, to host the first of its floating neighborhoods off the South Korean coast.

Prefabricated at the factory and then towed into position, the proposed platforms will rise and fall at the will of the sea. Each of the five-acre neighborhoods has been designed to house 300 people in buildings up to seven stories high.

The roofs of the buildings unfold to offer shaded terraces below. Credit: courtesy GRAND

Ultimately, these communities could be organized into larger networks, linked by footbridges and cycle paths. According to Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the Danish architectural firm leading the design, neighborhoods could be clustered around a central port to form larger villages of 1,650 people.

These villages could then, in theory, come together to form a larger metropolis of 10,000 people – dubbed Oceanix City – with everything from restaurants and co-working spaces to urban farms and recreation facilities.

The southern coast of South Korea, where Busan is located, is considered particularly vulnerable to the impact of sea level rise. Last year, Greenpeace Korea warned that the famous Haeundae Beach could disappear. by 2030, according to local media.
And the impact is already being felt – a study published in the journal Sustainability found that the city suffered more severe flood damage than anywhere else in South Korea in the 10 years until 2020.
The proposed city can organically transform and adapt over time, evolving from a neighborhood of 300 inhabitants to a city of 10,000.

The proposed city can organically transform and adapt over time, evolving from a neighborhood of 300 inhabitants to a city of 10,000. Credit: courtesy GRAND

Closed loop systems

The proposed settlement was envisioned as “self-sufficient”, with residents able to produce their own food and energy in “zero-waste closed-loop systems”.

Neighborhoods will be designed with communal farms, aquaponics facilities and compost gardens, while seafood farms could be located in the surrounding waters.

Uninhabited platforms could house floating wind turbines and solar panels, or be used to grow bamboo for the construction of new buildings.

The urban plan proposed by BIG also takes into account the production of fresh water, with on-site purification stations and systems for collecting and storing rainwater. The architects also envisioned fleets of electric vehicles – from hydrofoil water taxis to solar-powered ferries – connecting neighborhoods with other parts of the city and the mainland.

Oceanix co-founder Itai Madamombe said via email that Busan’s first prototype neighborhood will be completed, with people living there, by 2025. She added that the project is currently in discussion with 10 other governments on the deployment of the technology developed in Busan.

Beneath the platforms, floating biorock reefs, algae, oysters, mussel, scallop and clam farms could cleanse the water and accelerate ecosystem regeneration, according to the designers.

Beneath the platforms, floating biorock reefs, algae, oysters, mussel, scallop and clam farms could cleanse the water and accelerate ecosystem regeneration, according to the designers. Credit: courtesy GRAND

In a statement, Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon welcomed the agreement, saying, “With the complex changes facing coastal cities, we need a new vision where it is possible for people, nature and technology to coexist “.

UN-Habitat Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif, meanwhile, described Busan as the “ideal” location for the prototype.

“Sustainable floating cities are part of the arsenal of climate adaptation strategies at our disposal,” he also said in a press release. “Instead of struggling with water, let’s learn to live in harmony with it.”