• Floating City – 8 Requirements to Tackle the Environmental Crisis

    The concept of a Floating City is fictitious as well as semi-fictitious in nature. The inception of new designs, products, or concepts has also been part of the result of fiction. Fiction can mean literature, plays, novels, movies, or even just quotes. A Floating City is a similar concept.

    Floating Cities Across The World

    Venice, also known as La Dominante, was the first floating city. It is considered so because, even though the buildings themselves are not floating, the city‘s structure is built around and over the waterways. Its reliance on boats and gondolas for transportation gives it the appearance and functionality of a Floating City.

    Floating City
    Venice, The First Floating City (Image Credits: Travel With Tom and Kelsey)

    The presence of Floating City dates back to 1000 AD at Uros Island in Peru. Even during Mesopotamian civilizations, the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq built floating homes known as “mudhifs” out of reeds. They had to keep changing the reeds because of the changing water levels.

    Floating Islands of Uros (Image Credits: The Daily Beast)

    There are several Floating City Proposals, either conceptual or in process. These projects include Oceanix City, Seasteading Institute’s Floating Island Project, Lilypad Project, The Floating Venice in Dubai, Dutch Floating Houses and Maldives Floating City. After studying all these projects one can realize there are a few common requirements to achieve this goal of a Floating City, which are:

    • Resilience to climate change including rising sea levels and extreme weather
    • Self-sufficiency to reduce the reliance on external sources
    • Innovative Engineering
    • Fostering a sense of community
    • Economic viability with consideration of maintenance
    • Sustainability with a focus on minimal ecological impact

    Floating City
    Mudhifs – Southern Iraq (Image Credits:

    Floating cities just don’t have to be above a water body. Floating cities is more than a response to the climate crisis, it is a strategy to take advantage of the climate crisis. While we can take advantage of all the different biomes and terrains, we will go through as how to identify a location for a Floating City. Along with it, we will reveal the requirements of designing a Floating City and eventually narrow it down to a potential location in India.

    Principles to Identify A Location for Floating City:

    Floating City
    Image Credits: Pixabay

    1. Geographical Advantage:

    The ideal location for a floating city should have an intricate network of natural water bodies like canals, rivers, lakes, and inlets. This network facilitates the integration of the floating city with the existing waterways, allowing for seamless connectivity and water management.

    2. Environmental Resilience:

    In the face of climate change challenges, such as rising sea levels and increased flooding, floating cities offer an innovative solution. Locations prone to such environmental issues, especially coastal or low-lying areas, can benefit significantly from the adaptability of floating cities.

    3. Tourism Potential:

    Areas with existing tourist attractions or untapped tourism potential can consider floating cities as a means to enhance their appeal. This approach should align with sustainable tourism development, offering unique experiences while preserving the natural and cultural integrity of the location.

    Image Credits:

    4. Cultural Integration:

    The design and concept of a floating city should resonate with the local culture and traditions. It’s essential to incorporate architectural styles, lifestyles, and community practices that are native to the proposed location, ensuring cultural harmony and acceptance.

    5. Community Engagement:

    A successful floating city project should actively involve local communities, especially those whose livelihoods are intertwined with the waterways. This includes engaging with fishermen, artisans, and other local groups to ensure that the project supports and enhances their way of life.

    6. Sustainability Commitment:

    The floating city should be a model of sustainability, emphasizing ecological balance, renewable energy usage, waste management, and minimal environmental impact. It’s crucial to adopt practices that align with global sustainability goals and local conservation efforts.

    Requirements for designing a Floating City:

    Floating City
    Image Credits:

    1. Feasibility Studies

    a) Environmental Impact Assessment: Evaluate the impact on local ecosystems, focusing on indigenous flora and fauna, water quality, and overall ecological balance.

    b) Geotechnical Surveys: Investigate the physical characteristics of the proposed site, including water depth, tidal patterns, and seasonal variations in water levels.

    c) Socio-economic Analysis: Analyze the impact on local communities, particularly those whose livelihoods are linked to the water, and assess the potential influence on the local economy.

    2. Technological and Engineering Solutions

    a) Local Condition Adaptation: Design solutions that are adaptable to changing water levels and climatic conditions specific to the site.

    b) Sustainable Materials: Utilize eco-friendly, locally sourced materials that are suited to the specific environmental conditions of the area.

    3. Infrastructure and Urban Planning

    a) Transport Integration: Plan for seamless connectivity with existing local transport systems, adapting to the unique needs of the floating city.

    b) Architectural Integration: Blend local architectural styles into the design to maintain cultural coherence and aesthetic harmony with the region.

    4. Legal and Regulatory Framework

    a) Local Regulations Compliance: Ensure the project adheres to the legal and environmental regulations of the region.

    b) Community Rights Protection: Respect and protect the rights and livelihoods of local communities, ensuring their involvement and benefit from the project.

    Created via DallE by Author

    5. Environmental Sustainability

    a) Ecosystem Preservation: Prioritize the conservation of local biodiversity and natural resources.

    b) Sustainable Tourism: Develop tourism strategies that are environmentally sustainable and culturally respectful.

    6. Economic Viability and Funding

    a) Tourism Revenue: Utilize the unique aspects of the floating city to attract tourists, thereby generating sustainable economic benefits.

    b) Economic Integration: Ensure that the project positively impacts the local economy, providing jobs and supporting local businesses.

    7. Social and Cultural Considerations

    a) Community Engagement: Involve local residents in the planning process to address their needs and concerns.

    b) Cultural Preservation: Integrate elements of the local cultural heritage in the city’s design to enrich the social fabric.

    8. Risk Management

    a) Climate Resilience: Implement strategies for managing extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rains or potential flooding.

    b) Water Management: Develop efficient systems for water quality control and waste management, considering the unique challenges of a floating urban environment.

    Identification of potential location in India for Floating City: Aquatic Island in Kochi

    Floating City
    Image Credits: Tripadvisor

    Aquatic Island in Kochi, acclaimed as India’s First Floating Resort, exemplifies how innovative aquatic architecture can thrive in the region. With an eco-friendly design, and luxurious amenities, and set amidst serene backwaters, it demonstrates the potential for larger-scale projects like a floating city. The resort’s successful integration with the local environment and its appeal as a unique tourist destination highlights the viability of developing a floating city in this area, which could blend sustainable living with cultural and economic growth. This tends to portray vital potential for proposing a Floating City.


    If we are to ask ourselves whether or not India can support a Floating City, I’ll vote yes – It can. It not only can but it also should. I believe Floating City isn’t just an aesthetic or organic form that we architects are trying to propose. Architects all over the world are trying to indulge in a thought of ‘what if?’, and I think it’s marvelous. Floating cities are not only our solution to the climate crisis but it can also be the dawn of a new era.

    Created via DallE by Author

    Floating cities don’t have to be restricted to water bodies as well. If we are taking advantage of the rising water levels then I’m sure we can widen our horizon with other terrains, or even air for that matter. The concept of Floating Cities can primarily relate to Cities Floating on Water and Cities floating on Air. The main components in both of them are the technologies used and the environmental implications they would cause.

    Regardless of the possibility of Floating Cities in the Air, it is evident that Floating Cities in India are plausible in the current era.

    Content Writing And Research By: Ar. Lekha More

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