Connecting Waterpeople

Floating cities: The future of ocean-based communities

  • Floating cities: The future of ocean-based communities

About the blog

Tony Huynh
Tony Huynh is a content creator and digital marketer at BigRentz. He is a Communication major from UC San Diego with a background in photography and design.
Schneider Electric

A floating utopia on the ocean might sound like a sci-fi fantasy, but these innovative communities could soon be taking shape in our world.

Humans have a long history of living on the water, from the chinampas of the Aztec Empire to the canal city of Venice. However, the recent threat of climate change and the rise of new technology have given life to the idea of sustainable ocean-based communities.

In April 2019, the United Nations Human Settlement Programme and Oceanix development company unveiled a plan for a 10,000-resident floating city. The proposed city would not only be built on water but would also have a symbiotic relationship with it.

Here are some of the major takeaways of floating cities and how they will co-exist with the water. 


The floating city would be made up of a collection of connected platforms with varying designs, each of which would serve a role in sustaining the metro. All buildings in the city would also be constructed at a low height to minimize damage from climate events.

The network of communities would harness natural resources from the water around them. Advanced desalination systems, current generators, and collectors would filter seawater to provide a renewable and drinkable water source. Collection surfaces and treatment centers would help gather and purify greywater.  Moisture from the air would be extracted through advanced dehumidifiers and purified alongside rainwater.

Environment Benefits

Floating cities are designed to be climate-neutral and self-reliant, which provides some critical environmental benefits.

Renewable Sources

The open ocean would provide an abundant, untapped source of both water and solar energy, which could be harnessed for use with new technologies. Floating communities would be able to generate their own produce and food from cultivating on-land farms and underwater gardens.

Protection from Natural Disasters

Because they are built on the water, floating city structures would maintain a lower center of gravity, protecting them from strong waves, floods, tsunamis, and even hurricanes. Locally-sourced innovative building materials would help the structures to self-repair and withstand natural harsh weather conditions on the water. 

Climate Change Solution

Ninety percent of the world’s largest cities are situated near a body of water. Because of climate change, sea levels are expected to rise by at least 26 inches by the end of the century. Due to their buoyant design and platform layout, floating cities would provide a safe respite for flood-stricken communities and help lower ocean temperatures.

Rather than just housing communities on the water, floating cities will share a special relationship with the ocean. Water will be gathered, filtered, and used efficiently while natural disasters will be kept at bay. The exciting concept demonstrates an urban future that is sustainable, peaceful, and mindful of the water around it.

To see the full anatomy of a floating city, BigRentz created a full infographic detailing the features and how they will benefit our urban future.

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