With global sea levels predicted to rise significantly over the next century due to climate change, a lot of people living in low lying areas are expected to be displaced from their homes. Architect Vincent Callebaut has come up with a possible relocation destination for these climate change refugees in the form of the “Lilypad” concept – a completely self-sufficient floating city that would accommodate up to 50,000.
With a shape inspired by the highly ribbed leaf of Victoria water lilies, the double skin of the floating “ecopolis” would be made of polyester fibers covered by a layer of titanium dioxide (TiO2), which would react with ultraviolet rays and absorb atmospheric pollution via a photocatalytic effect in the same way as the air-purifying concrete and paving stones we looked at last year.
Three marinas and three mountains would surround a centrally located artificial lagoon that is totally immersed below the water line to act as ballast for the city. The three mountains and marinas would be dedicated to work, shopping and entertainment, respectively, while suspended gardens and aquaculture farms located below the water line would be used to grow food and biomass.
The floating city would also include the full complement of renewable energy technologies, including solar, thermal, wind, tidal, and biomass to produce more energy than it consumes. The Lilypads could be located close to land or set free to follow the ocean currents wherever they may lead.
While Callebaut‘s Lilypad concept is admirable in its aim of providing a home for displaced climate change refugees, it seems that these same people would be the last ones to be able to afford a place on what would likely be an enormously expensive piece of real estate.
Callebaut’s hope that the Lilypad becomes a reality by 2100 might also make it too late to benefit those worst affected by any rise in sea levels. Still, like the Green Float and Ark Hotel concepts, it’s an eye-catching design that will hopefully get people thinking about ways to tackle the looming problem of climate change refugees.