Ocean Builders Is Creating Floating ‘Seastead’ Cities

Ryan Lau | @RyanLau71R

After years of planning, developing, and speculating, the seastead project is becoming a reality. What is a seastead? Basically, it’s a floating platform of any size that serves as a permanent place of residence. It also may host businesses, hotels, or other permanent establishments. In simple terms, a seastead is a floating city.

The Seasteading Institute, one of the major organizations behind the project, believes this will help solve some of the planet’s most pressing issues: climate change, bad government, and overpopulation. This year, they’ve made their biggest leap yet.

The First Seastead

In February, two Bitcoin entrepreneurs, Chad Elwartowski and Nadia Supranee Thepdet, moved to the first ever Seastead. In international waters just over 12 miles offshore of Thailand, the two are under the jurisdiction of no government. However, they still are in Thailand’s exclusive economic zone, so they do not have oil or mineral rights.

The structure is incredibly durable and the 20-meter steel base closely resembles the spar design of an oil rig. Thus, it can withstand waves of up to 5 meters. But Ocean Builders, the company that built the seastead, claims that it’s highly improbable that waves will reach this level in the next century. Typical wave heights in the area range from 1 to 2 feet.

The livable part of the structure is a six-meter-wide octagon. The inside of it and the outer deck both are around 275 square feet each. The resulting 550 square feet of living space exceeds that of many apartments and even a 40-foot catamaran. The inside has room for sleeping, a small bathroom, a kitchen, and a living area.

To power the seastead, builders installed six solar panels on the top of it. Its tropical location all but guarantees that there will be no shortage of sunlight and hence, electricity. Water tanks in the floor can purify 60 gallons per hour for drinking and cleansing purposes. Moreover, they can store several days’ water at a time. To protect it from natural impacts, Ocean Builders is experimenting with biorock. They hope that the growing coral gardens on the spar will also attract more fish to the seastead.

Floating Cities?

Currently, the project is in its early stages, with only one seastead in the water. However, Ocean Builders has declared that 61 more people are interested in buying one of the floating homes. They hope to begin the development of the first floating city with 20 more seasteads.

As an incentive, Ocean Builders asserts that these 20 homeowners will have considerable say in the direction of the project in the future. Moreover, they are willing to sell these first homes at cost. The 550 square foot model is currently on sale for $150,000, lower than the average cost of an American home. Prices increase with larger designs, including a two-story inside.

Eventually, Ocean Builders and the Seasteading Institute hope that their efforts will result in the formation of floating cities that operate outside of the scope of traditional government. Ocean Builders has emphasized the possibility of being able to “vote with your home”. As the voluntary communities would not have an established form of government, the people would choose on a free basis what rules to adopt for the community and how to enforce them. If governments exist at all in the floating cities or communities, the people would organize them in their entireties.

To learn more about Seasteading, a video interview that details the process is available here.

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