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French Polynesia signs first 'floating city' deal

• http://www.bbc.com

The tiny Pacific state signed a memorandum of understanding with California's Seasteading Institute in San Francisco on Friday.

It outlined objectives the institute must meet to get possible go-ahead for its first "seastead" community, off the island of Tahiti.

But the floating futurists themselves admit it will be anything but plain sailing to realise their dream of sea-borne social experiments floating around the world.

What is being proposed?

"I don't think it will be terribly radical at first," the institute's executive director Randolph Hencken, told the BBC.

For a start, it will be in French Polynesian territory, close to shore and protected from the high seas.

Seastead plans often involve them being in international waters to create a libertarian utopia free of landlubbers' laws.

This agreement leaves open the question of what freedoms the floating community will be granted by the government.

Mr Hencken is confident that having invited them to make their proposal, the authorities will grant them "leeway" to govern themselves and their "special economic sea zone".

What are the hurdles?

The deal specifies two points the project has to prove - whether it will benefit the local economy and whether it can avoid damaging the environment.

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