Floating homes pose numerous challenges, however. Severe wind and rain, or even the passing of large cruise ships, can make the buildings rock. Siti Boelen, the Schoonschip resident, says that when she first moved in, stormy weather made her think twice before venturing up to her third-floor kitchen, where she felt the movement the most. “You feel it in your stomach,” she says, adding that she has since gotten used to the feeling.
Floating homes also require extra infrastructure and work to connect to the electricity grid and sewer system, with special waterproof cords and pumps needed to link to municipal services on higher ground. In the case of Schoonschip in Amsterdam and the floating office building in Rotterdam, new microgrids had to be built from scratch.
But the benefits may outweigh the costs. Rutger de Graaf, the cofounder and director of Blue21, says that the growing number of disastrous, unprecedented storms around the world spurred both city planners and residents to look to the water for solutions. Floating developments, he says, could have saved lives and billions of dollars in damage last summer, when deadly floods hit Germany and Belgium, killing at least 222 people.
“If there are floods, it’s expected that many people will move to higher ground. But the alternative is to stay close to coastal cities and explore expansion onto the water,” says De Graaf. “If you consider that in the second half of the century, hundreds of millions of people will be displaced by sea level rise, we need to start now to increase the scale of floating developments.”
This article was originally published by Yale e360, and is republished with permission – read the original story here. This is also why this story does not have an estimate for its carbon emissions, as Future Planet stories usually do.
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