Some sort of autonomy is also part of the plan for the first floating village: “The reason we’re able to call it a seastead is that it will be something of a semi-autonomous governmental start-up, under the protection of French Polynesia,” Quirk says. “So they’re allowing us to make this first step, to see if we can establish something spectacular.”
Project architect Bart Roeffen, who specializes in floating structures with the Dutch firm Blue21, says he wanted to create something for the Tahitian lagoon that didn’t look out of place.
From a distance, the floating village will look almost like a natural island, with a green “living roof” of gardens that will also help filter waste water. The buildings will be constructed with recycled materials where possible, making extensive use of local renewable materials, such as coconut wood.
Roeffen says the technologies needed for floating communities will become increasingly important, especially in islands and in coastal regions threatened by rising sea levels. But there is also a primal appeal to living on the water, reflected in the high value of coastal land.
“The fringes between the land and the water are where everything comes together,” Roeffen says, “so what we would like to do is to create more fringes.”