The design of the floating city is a new way of looking at the Netherlands with more water.
Johan van der Pol, Deputy Director Dura Vermeer
Under the programme, building in flood-prone areas near rivers is to be prohibited. But this is likely to put a lot of pressure on the housing situation in an already densely populated country.
The village of Maasbommel in central eastern Netherlands is the site of a pilot housing project, in which the construction company Dura Vermeer has been trying out its new designs for ‘floating urbanisation’. The village of Masbommel is an ideal location because it is regularly exposed to high water levels and as a result the underlying ground is becoming less stable. Today, there are already 32 houses with an amphibious design that float when the water rises and 12 houses which float all the time.
Floating urbanization is compatible with another important sustainability goal – energy use and water storage. Water is very good at absorbing and retaining heat from the sun, so this energy can be used for heating and cooling floating buildings. When the sea level rises and salt water penetrates further inland via the rivers and groundwater, the country’s fresh water supply comes under wide-scale pressure: floating buildings can contain their own fresh-water supplies to avoid this problem. Building on water also provides a safe haven for residents living in flood prone areas.
The concept of floating houses is not only to adapt to climate change but also to help mitigate it. DeltaSync, a company specializing in sustainable urban development in delta areas, is designing floating houses that will be CO2 neutral. They will be built from green materials, and be heated or cooled by their surroundings – solar power from the sun, and heat and cold storage from the different layers of water. And already many of the largest municipalities in the Netherlands are looking into how they can plan their developments in this way.
"Building on water is not only a good idea for the Netherlands; it can be a global solution." Carina Czapiewska DeltaSync
The vision of the Netherlands’ innovative architects and planners is to build entire floating cities with floating infrastructures – roads, shops, parks as well as homes. The concept is catching on as it can be adapted to anywhere in the world, but especially where there are deltas vulnerable to flooding or islands at risk of disappearing under the sea.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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