UN to support building of enormous floating city in face of rising sea levels

5 Apr 2019

The proposed Oceanix city. Image: Oceanix BIG Bjarke Ingels Group

This week in future tech, the UN appeared to offer support for an enormous floating city, while Amazon unveiled its own satellite internet project.

Architects and engineers have unveiled plans for a real floating city that could one day house as many as 10,000 people. According to Business Insider, the plans for the city called Oceanix – designed by a firm of the same name – were presented at a UN roundtable discussion that included the executive director of the UN Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), Maimunah Mohd Sharif.

Oceanix’s CEO, Marc Collins, told the UN representatives that the design was not just a case of theory, and that one the firm is actually looking to build. Along with addressing housing shortages, the city could also offer refuge from rising sea levels in the face of climate change.

The structures would be rigid, the company said, and could withstand most types of extreme weather, including a Category 5 hurricane. Each segment of the city would be in the shape of a hexagon for maximum architectural efficiency.

For food, platforms beneath each segment could harvest scallops, kelp and various types of seafood, as well as develop other vertical underwater farms. Meanwhile, waste would be sent through pneumatic tubes, with it all being sorted and repurposed.

UN-Habitat’s deputy executive director, Victor Kisob, described the idea as “our Apollo 10 dress rehearsal”. Speaking to Business Insider, he said: “It’s going to serve as an amazing prototype experiment for some of the challenges you’re going to face on Mars.”

Amazon enters the internet satellite space race

Following on from the likes of SpaceX, it has been revealed that Amazon is planning on releasing thousands of satellites in orbit to beam high-speed internet across the planet.

According to GeekWire, the endeavour is being dubbed Project Kuiper and was first discovered as being in the works last September with news that the tech giant was planning a “big, audacious space project”. This may come as no surprise given founder Jeff Bezos’s fascination with space travel, leading to the formation of his own aerospace company, Blue Origin.

Filings submitted to the International Telecommunication Union and the US Federal Communications Commission showed a plan for 3,236 satellites. This would include 784 at an altitude of 590km, 1,296 at an altitude of 610km and 1,156 at an altitude of 630km.

Amazon confirmed its plans in a statement, saying: “Project Kuiper is a new initiative to launch a constellation of low-Earth-orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world.

“This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet. We look forward to partnering on this initiative with companies that share this common vision.”

EVs now make up the majority of cars sold in Norway

Establishing itself as a shining example in the world of alternative transportation, the Norwegian Road Federation has revealed that 58.4pc of new cars sold in Norway are fully electric vehicles (EVs).

According to Reuters (via Yahoo News), last year the country saw sales of EVs rise to record levels at a 31.2pc market share from 20.8pc in 2017, putting it far ahead of any other nation. ‘Driving’ this surge has been a tax emption placed on EVs, while petrol and diesel cars have seen noticeable increases.

This recent surge in EVs came at the same time that EV maker Tesla ramped up delivery of its latest midsize Model 3 car to the Nordic nation. By 2025, Norway’s government plans to stop the sale of fossil-fuelled vehicles entirely.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic