Floating cities: The new future for climate refugees?

taking on water Back in 2008, the famously right-wing PayPal founder Peter Thiel threw money at the idea of a floating city — a sort of drifting Mar-a-Lago, where the rich could escape tax-free to a virtually lawless paradise. But after pushback from Pacific Islanders who called the plan a form of colonialism, crucial partners abandoned ship, and by 2017, Thiel’s libertarian wet dream was dead in the water. Now, the idea of seaborne cities has been floated again — this time, as a haven for climate refugees chased out of their homes by rising seas and supercharged cyclones. Dreamed up by Marc Collins Chen, an entrepreneur who was involved with efforts to bring Thiel’s vision to French Polynesia, the plan was rolled out at a United Nations roundtable last week — complete with luxe architectural renderings from the Brooklyn- and Copenhagen-based Bjarke Ingels Group. U.N. representatives lauded the idea as a forward-looking solution, but for some, this latest incarnation of Thiel’s dream is still lost at sea. (Think I can’t keep these water puns going? Batten down the hatches…) Designed to house 10,000 people, Oceanix City, as it’s called, is a self-sustaining cluster of islands fit for an […]

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