Making Waves

A Project Team Hopes to Build the World's First Floating City

“I want to see floating cities by 2050, thousands of them hopefully.”

—Joe Quirk, co-founder, Blue Frontiers



It's a truly clean slate. At least, that's the thinking behind seasteading—the idea of building floating cities in international waters to allow residents to design societies and governments from scratch. While decades-old, the concept is finally gaining real ground.

The French Polynesian government last year allowed Singapore-based Blue Frontiers to move forward with a project to build the first self-sustaining floating community near Tahiti. The community's dozen floating platforms will be connected via pathways and feature hotels, offices, restaurants and homes. Living roofs will support gardening and agriculture, and renewable power sources would keep the lights on.

“If you could have a floating city, it would essentially be a startup country,” Joe Quirk, co-founder of Blue Frontiers, told The New York Times. “We can create a huge diversity of governments for a huge diversity of people.”

The project could serve as a roadmap for larger floating communities, he says. Construction is slated to be finished by 2020, when the island will be move-in ready for as many as 300 anticipated residents, who will live in a semiautonomous economic zone.

Rough seas may be ahead, though. Blue Frontiers, which was spun off as a company by the nonprofit Seasteading Institute in 2017, still has to raise necessary funds. And a 2010 floating island prototype planned by the Seasteading Institute near San Francisco, California, USA never materialized. But the project team remains optimistic.


The Floating Island Project


French Polynesia


7,500 square meters (80,729 square feet)


Mr. Quirk became interested in seasteading while attending the 2011 Burning Man festival in Nevada, USA.



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