A floating metropolis located in the Indian Ocean with a capacity of 20,000 inhabitants is under construction. The city is only ten minutes by boat from Malé, the Maldives’ capital. Designed by the architecture firm Waterstudio, it will have 5,000 floating units that would include housing, restaurants, businesses, and schools, with canals running between them. The first units will be shown this month, with inhabitants expected to begin moving in early 2024 and the entire city finished by 2027. Waterstudio’s city is aimed at enticing locals with its rainbow-colored residences, spacious balconies, and beachfront vistas. Residents will travel by boat, walking, cycling, or driving electric scooters or wagons across the sandy streets. The goal is for the city to be self-sufficient and perform all of the tasks of a traditional metropolis. Electricity is provided, primarily generated on-site by solar panels, and sewage will be handled locally and recycled as plant manure. The city will employ deep water marine cooling instead of air conditioning, which includes pumping cold water from the deep sea into the lagoon, saving electricity.

The Maldives is one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries. Eighty percent of the country’s land area is less than one meter above sea level, and with levels expected to rise by a meter by the end of the century, nearly the entire country might be drowned. However, if a city floats, it may rise with the tide. According to Koen Olthuis, head of Waterstudio, this represents “new hope” for the Maldives’ more than 500,000 residents.