Take a trip to the world’s first floating city in the Maldives

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It may be a vacation paradise and a dream destination for honeymooners everywhere, but the beautiful archipelago of the Maldives is also one of the countries most at risk from climate change on the planet. Specifically, rising oceans that threaten to overwhelm its tropical islands which are the lowest on Earth – the highest point in all of the Maldives sits just under eight feet above sea level on Villingili Island in Addu Atoll.

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But it looks like a new project could be the start of a real solution to concerns over their shrinking landmass – the Maldives’ floating city has been given the green light to build some 5,000 interconnected floating accommodations by walkways and attached to the 200 -hectare lagoon floor. This real estate project like no other will be located just 15 minutes by boat from the Maldivian capital, Malé, with its international airport.

Built according to an “integrated tourism model”, the floating city of the Maldives will ultimately be exactly that – a mix of homes, hotels, shops, restaurants and a marina offering “a revolutionary approach to modern, sustainable living perched on bottom of the azure Indian Ocean”. It’s the world’s first true floating island city – a futuristic dreamscape finally ready to come true.

The buildings will be low-rise and face the sea, positioned along “row, palm-lined streets” where a network of bridges, canals and quays promise to create cohesion and make all amenities easily accessible. Structures in the lagoon will be supported and stabilized by sandy beaches while outside, “massive coral reefs” will be cultivated to house hotels, restaurants and shops. There will be no cars – but rather the crunch of sand underfoot, the tinkle of bicycle bells and the hum of pushchairs and electric scooters ensuring minimal noise pollution.

“This floating city in the Maldives does not require any reclamation, therefore has minimal impact on the coral reefs,” explains Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives from 2008 to 2012, Speaker of Parliament and CVF Ambition Ambassador. “In addition, new giant reefs will be cultivated to act as breakwaters. Our adaptation (sic) to climate change must not destroy nature but work with it, as the floating city of the Maldives proposes. In the Maldives, we can’t stop the waves, but we can ride with them.

Built through a public-private partnership between the Netherlands-based Dutch Docklands and the Maldivian government, the project has been in the works for over a decade and will serve as a model for future sustainable developments in the Maldives and elsewhere. The city is made up of hexagonal segments partially modeled on the geometry of local coral, built using “the most environmentally friendly construction possible” and complemented by traditional Maldivian architecture.

As the buildings float on the surface of the water, island barriers around the lagoon will serve as breakers below the waterline – an ingenious configuration that lessens the impact of lagoon waves while stabilizing structures and complexes on the surface .

Offered as a place of residence for Maldivians as well as international visitors (who will automatically have the option of obtaining a residence permit with the purchase of a house), the town will, according to the Dutch CEO of Docklands, Paul van de Camp, “an amazing place where locals and foreigners can buy their dream property at affordable prices.

Once marine engineering and technical details are complete, construction is expected to begin after obtaining government approvals in January 2023 with an estimated completion time of five years. But if you can’t wait that long to get a taste of what that floating future might look like, the first block will open to the public in August this year.

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