Publications

- November 1, 2020: Vol. 14, Number 10

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Waterborne: Are floating real estate developments and even cities an idea whose time has come?

by Reg Clodfelter

Imagine waking to the sound of waves crashing at your door. Stepping onto your front porch for some deep-sea fishing, an endless blue horizon in every direction, watching whales breeching in the distance, before taking your jet ski down to your neighbourhood’s local floating beach. Picture doing all of this somewhere out in the Pacific, immune from the rising ocean swallowing the world around you.

This idyllic reimagining of the 1995 movie Waterworld might seem like a needless fantasy, but crises call for fantastical thinking — and with as many as 2 billion people slated to become climate refugees by the year 2100, according to research from Cornell University, this waterborne fantasy may be a necessity in our lifetimes. Even conservative estimates forecast a sea level rise of 26 inches in the next 80 years, according to a 2018 study from NASA. With so many of the world’s major cities living on the coast, this rising tide is rapidly becoming a titanic-sized catastrophe

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