Maldives is building the world’s first floating city

The Maldives has long been the picture-perfect paradise getaway, and even more so during the pandemic. Last year saw tourism return to almost pre-pandemic levels with the arrival of 1.3 million travellers, compared to 1.7 million visitors in 2019. And now, the world’s lowest-lying nation might just have a stable solution to the stark reality of rising sea levels. The Maldives Floating City has just been green-lit for construction: 5,000 housing units that are linked together and tethered to the floor of a 500-acre lagoon, designed to preserve and enhance its natural and cultural ecosystem.

Everything you need to know about Maldives Floating City

A rendering of Maldives Floating CityMaldives Floating City/Facebook

Located a 15-minute boat ride from Malé and the international airport, the project is based on an integrated tourism model, and will include hotels, houses, shops and restaurants. It will be a car-free zone, to be navigated via the canals and the natural white-sand roads on foot or on bicycles and electric, noise-free buggies and scooters.

International travellers also have the option of obtaining a residence permit with the purchase of a house. The first floating housing block, under construction by Bison, will be transported to the lagoon and opened for public viewing in August, to enable people to gauge the look and feel of the homes. The modular city construction is slated for January 2023 and will take about five years to complete.

The Maldives Floating City is a private-public partnership between Dutch Docklands and the island government. Dutch Docklands’ founders are architect Koen Olthuis and developer Paul van de Camp and the project relies on floating technology from the Netherlands, which has a centuries-old engagement in designing architecture to withstand floods.

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A rendering of Maldives Floating CityMaldives Floating City/Facebook