Bjarke Ingels Group and a company called Oceanix presented a wild concept for floating cities at the UN this week, imagining completely self-sufficient communities in the era of sea level rise.
In 2007, entrepreneur Mark Collins Chen became the minister of tourism in his native French Polynesia. One of his first tasks was to assess whether sea level rise was a threat to the group of 118 islands, located in the South Pacific. He quickly learned that one-third of all of the French Polynesian islands would be submerged by either 2035 or 2050–depending on which scientist you spoke to.
To respond to the coming crisis, Chen (who served as minister of tourism for a year) wants to build groups of floating islands that would be able to act as new human settlements not only for French Polynesia, but for the countless other islands that will suffer a similar fate–as well as the many global cities that are located on the coast. An estimated 2.4 billion people–40% of the world's population–live in a coastal region and will likely be impacted by rising sea levels as a result of climate change. In late 2018, Chen started a company called Oceanix that is aimed at building the off-shore urban infrastructure that will help people weather the problems of rising seas–as well as extreme floods and storms.