Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Lilypad, a Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees, by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, Paris, France
February 18th, 2011 by Susan Smith
Vincent Callebaut Architectures of Paris, France has designed a Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees, predicting that by 2100, there will be a large crowd of ecological refugees to occupy the “Lilypad.” According to the principle of Archimedes, the melting of the arctic ice-floe will not change the rising of the water exactly as an ice cube melting in a glass of water does not make its level rise, said Callebaut. However, there are two huge ice reservoirs that are not on the water and whose melting will transfer their volume towards the oceans, leading to their rising. These are the ice caps of Antarctic and Greenland on the one hand, and the continental glaciers on the other. Another reason for the ocean rising, that does not have anything to do with the ice melting is the water dilatation under the effect of the temperature.
Vincent Callebaut Architect
Vincent Callebaut Architectures
PROGRAM : Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees / Mixing Uses
More than 50 million people will be affected in the developing countries with the increase of the first meter, and the situation will worsen with the second one. Countries like Vietnam, Egypt, Bangladesh, Guyana or Bahamas will see their most inhabited places swamped at each flood and their most fertile fields devastated by the invasion of salt water damaging the local ecosystems. New York, Bombay, Calcutta, Hô Chi Minh City, Shanghai, Miami, Lagos, Abidjan, Djakarta, Alexandria… not less that 250 million climatic refugees and 9% of the GDP threatened if we do not build protections to buffer these societies against the threat.
The water rising is not written in the agenda of the Grenelle agreements on environment in France. It is primordial in terms of environmental crisis and climatic exodus for societies to go from a strategy of reaction in emergency to a strategy of adaptation and long-lasting anticipation.
Lilypad, a Prototype of an Auto-Sufficient Amphibious City
The project «Lilypad» deals with a tenable solution to the water rising! Actually, facing the worldwide ecological crisis, this floating Ecopolis has the double objective not only to widen sustainably in offshore the territories of the most developed countries such as the Monaco principality but above all, to grant the housing of future climatic refugees of the next submerged ultra-marine territories such as the Polynesian atolls. A new biotechnological prototype of ecologic resilience dedicated to the nomadism and the urban ecology in the sea, Lilypad travels on the water line of the oceans, from the equator to the poles following the marine streams warm ascending of the Gulf Stream or cold descending of the Labrador.
It is a true amphibian half aquatic and half terrestrial city, able to accommodate 50,000 inhabitants and inviting the biodiversity to develop its fauna and flora around a central lagoon of soft water collecting and purifying the rain waters. This artificial lagoon is entirely immersed ballasting the city. It will be able to live in the heart of the subaquatic depths. The multifunctional programming is based on three marinas and three mountains dedicated respectively to work, the shops and the entertainments. The whole set is covered by a stratum of planted housing in suspended gardens and crossed by a network of streets and alleyways with organic outline. The goal is to create a harmonious coexistence and to explore new modes of living in the sea by building with fluidity collective spaces in proximity, overwhelming spaces of social inclusion suitable to the meeting of all the inhabitants – denizen or foreign-born, recent or old, young or aged people.
The floating structure in « branches » of the Ecopolis is directly inspired by the highly ribbed leaf of the great lilypad of Amazonia Victoria Regia. Coming from the family of Nympheas, this aquatic plant with exceptional plasticity was discovered by the German botanist Thaddeaus Haenke and dedicated to the Queen Victoria of England in the 19th Century. The double skin is made of polyester fibres covered by a layer of titanium dioxide (TiO2) like an anatase which, by reacting to the ultraviolet rays, enables the structure to absorb the atmospheric pollution by photocatalytic effect. Entirely autosufficient, Lilypad takes up the four main challenges launched by the OECD in March 2008: climate, biodiversity, water and health. It reached a positive energetic balance with zero carbon emission by the integration of all the renewable energies (solar, thermal and photovoltaic energies, wind energy, hydraulic, tidal power station, osmotic energies, phytopurification, biomass) producing thus durably more energy that it consumes! True biotope entirely recyclable, this floating Ecopolis produces and manages the oxygen and the electricity, by recycling the CO2 and the waste, by purifying and softening biologically the used waters and by integrating ecological niches, aquaculture fields and biotic corridors on and under its body to meet its own food needs.