This City Will Never Drown Again

Illustration for article titled This City Will Never Drown Again

This gorgeous image of a floating city is one design team's idea of what New Orleans might look like in the future. Let me add to that: a better future, where urban design is graceful, humane, and forward-looking. Their idea is to create low-cost houses that are buoyant, and that survive floods by welcoming the Mississippi River into the city.

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Harvard design grad students Kiduck Kim and Christian Stayner explain how this would work:

Housing plats and roads are marked by solar-powered lighting poles. Individual dwellings bob, tethered with RV-type umbilical cords through which potable water, electricity, sew-age, and telephone connections continue uninterrupted. When the water subsides, depositing the city in a new arrangement.

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Sure, it's Utopian, but I need Utopianism on Monday. Really, I do.

Floating in a Sinking City [Harvard via Inhabitat]

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DISCUSSION

This has a number of problems practicality wise. First, it appears to be very low density. Perhaps useful for suburban living, but not urban. And as soon as houses start lifting off their foundations in urban densities (assuming something more than one or two stories tall would even be stable) they're going to start colliding with each other. At that wouldn't be a good thing either for the people inside or the houses themselves.

Secondly, it's rather apparent that this is a nice, quiet, calm scene. And this idea might work very well for peaceful flooding of the slowly rising river level variety. Against a 12' storm surge or a 10' wall of water should the levies break again? And toss in hurricane force winds? You'd end up with just as much rubble, only maybe more of it would be floating.

A very pretty idea. But not a practical one.