Climate change is causing sea levels to rise, so much that the president of the Maldives wants to locate his island nation. Some parts of the world are preparing themselves for this new reality, while urban planners look for new solutions to deal with rising waters. The Dutch, masters of the dyke concept know the threats of encraoching sea water. Moshe Zwart, a Dutch architect has dreamed up another solution: underwater cities! Illustration of Zwart’s under city parking and leisure complex
The Dutch are well aware of the need to protect themselves against the encroaches of the sea as the Netherlands has had to deal with this problem for centuries.
But the time my come, however, when even building numerous dikes, and artificial land areas will not be enough when sea levels simply rise too high. The possibility of this occurring has resulting in an even more novel idea being put forward by the sea beleaguered Dutchmen: underwater cities.
The idea of underwater cities has been a fantasy and science fiction idea that has been around for years. Putting mere dreams into a plausible reality is something else. But now the idea of underwater cities is a step closer to reality. A Dutch architect, Professor Moshe Zwarts, who actually proposed this idea in 2008 with his concept of building an underground (and water) parking and entertainment complex under the city of Amsterdam to help solve that city’s chronic lack of usable space. The plan, when proposed in February 2008, was estimated to cost around US $ 14.4 billion to complete.
Zwart’s idea was to drain some the city’s many canals and build a multi level parking, shopping and entertainment complex underneath that when completed would not interfere with what is occurring at street level, including refilling the canals themselves. As stated by Professor Zwart:
“Amsterdam sits on a 30-metre layer of waterproof clay which will be used together with concrete and sand to make new walls. Once we have resealed the canal floor, we will be able to carry on working underneath while pouring water back into the canals. It’s an easy technique and it doesn’t create issues with drilling noises on the streets.”
Environmentalists now believe that Zwart’s ideas are not ecologically and economically sustainable; with one of big issues dealing with ridding the underground complex from build-ups of carbon dioxide (CO2) which are sure to occur, especially with cars being parked there. This concept is currently more feasible than some type of domed “Atlantis” type of city as has often been mentioned in science fiction stories.
As for this type of concept being feasible for the Nile Delta or other Middle East locations that could be threatened by rising sea waters, the floating islands concept may hold water better.