Floating Communities – the future is blue!

In October 2021 Tech London Advocates published the last of four e-books on the Digital High Street 2030.  You can read Mark Jenkinson's contribution to the community e-book below and read other blogs and vlogs here

Floating Communities – the future is blue! by Mark Jenkinson

Climate Change

The sixth and latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes for sombre reading.

Under a warming climate, sea levels around the world have been rising and are projected to continue to rise in the future. The projections of future sea level rise are critical for coastal planners and policymakers trying to understand and account for sea-level impacts on their communities.  And of course, communities in cities around the world are potentially at risk. 

In London alone, 1.3 million people are at risk from flooding of the Thames.  This is compounded by Victorian infrastructure unfit to combat the increasing frequency of rising water and heavy downpours. 

So how can we mitigate the impact of climate change and adapt how we live?

Living with and on the water

If you think of floating homes and communities, you may think of the Netherlands.  One third of the Netherlands is currently situated either at sea level, or below it, and this is likely to worsen as sea levels are set to rise by over 1.3 metres in the next century and rivers flowing into the sea are also rising.    

In addition to its infamous dykes and innovative approaches such as rerouting rivers, as part of the civic planning strategy, "Leven met water", planning rules are being adapted to allow floating communities to flourish.

By 2020, the total number of floating and amphibious homes was estimated at a several hundred in the Netherlands, despite some challenges around permissions, regulations, and cost of production.

But its not just the Netherlands.  If you walk along the waterfront of Seattle, you are likely to see a community formed of floating homes.  Around London you will also find floating homes, hotels, bars and restaurants.   

So, what does the future hold and how can technology help?

The future of living?

As suitable land becomes increasingly scarce due to the rising risk of flooding, living on water will become more of a desirable option as we race to meet 2030 and 2050 targets.

The adoption of modular production techniques, can drive down the cost, reduce waste and speed up the roll-out of much needed homes and accommodation.

Incorporating clean renewable generation such as solar, wind and water-sourced heating and cooling creates places that meet Passivhaus or even Aktivhaus standards, achieving self-sufficiency while providing clean energy back into the grid or for local infrastructure on the water and on land.

Using sustainable materials, minimises the impact on the planet and provides comfortable places to live and work – places that people can be proud of, bringing a vibrancy to the local community.

All this can be supported by the latest in PropTech to monitor and improve performance of the spaces from an energy and air quality perspective as well as providing access to tenant services, encouraging sustainable behaviours, and building strong resilient communities fit for the future.

So, what are you waiting for?  Get on in! The future of living is blue!