With the hope that the move would pave the way for autonomous floating cities around the world, Bottom of Form
French Polynesia has signed an agreement for creating floating city on the sea.
California’s Seasteading Institute is the executing agency for the proposed project in the tiny Pacific state.
The first “seastead” community is being planned off the island of Tahiti an dhe agreement outlined objectives the institute must meet to get possible go-ahead for the project.
However it will be anything but plain sailing to realize their dream of sea-borne social experiments floating around the world, even the floating futurists themselves admit.
“I don’t think it will be terribly radical at first,” the institute’s executive director Randolph Hencken, said.
Close to shore and protected from the high seas, it will be in French Polynesian territory, for a start.
Seastead plans to create a libertarian utopia free of landlubbers’ laws and often involve them being in international waters.
Question of what freedoms the floating community will be granted by the government has been left open in the agreement.
The authorities will grant them “leeway” to govern themselves and their “special economic sea zone”, believes a confident Hencken since the authorities have invited them to make their proposal.
Whether it will benefit the local economy and whether it can avoid damaging the environment are the two points that the project has been asked to specifically prove under the agreement.
Development of what the institute calls a “unique governing framework” would only be possible after the above issues are settled. And even then, the framework and the project would require the ultimate approval, potentially from France, which ultimately holds the territory, and from the local government.
“I’m confident it’ll happen but there are a lot of moving parts,” Mr Hencken admits.
What the sea-going village will look like, architecturally or socially is a considerable uncertainty. Such sea villages are still essentially visions of a marine metropolis and are still floating over the horizon.
“A lot of these things, while they’ve been discussed over camp fires, haven’t yet been selected,” he says. “Our ultimate goal is to create space for any experiments… not exclusively libertarianism.”
Its communities will be sustainable, shunning fossil fuels and destructive use of the seas, the institute says.
However critics are unconvinced about whether sustainability is the real goal even with many prominent seasteading supporters famously keen on eliminating taxes and regulations.
Silicon Valley’s best-known Donald Trump supporter, Peter Thiel, was the co-founder of the institute itself and has several of his associates mong its staff.
The attitude that “oceans are a hunting ground, a superhighway and a garbage can” would be reversed by living closer to the sea, Hencken insists.
While it is ironic that the first practical steps towards achieving it are in territory owned by one of Europe’s most interventionist states, France, it is a dream that is not short of ambition – floating social Petri dishes where each can experiment with new ways of living whatever the motivation.
(Adapted from BBC)