A floating city with a population of 20,000 people is now being built in the Indian Ocean. The city is only ten minutes away by boat from Malé, the capital of the Maldives. It will contain 5,000 floating units, including residences, restaurants, businesses, and schools, with canals running between them, according to the architecture firm Waterstudio. The first units will be revealed later this month, with residents anticipated to begin moving in early 2024 and the city completed by 2027. Waterstudio’s city aims to attract locals with its rainbow-colored apartments, large balconies, and coastal views. Residents will travel through the sandy streets by boat, walking, riding, or driving electric scooters or wagons. The city should be self-sufficient and capable of performing all of the functions of a traditional city.

The Maldives is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change. Eighty percent of the country’s land area lies below one meter above sea level, and with sea levels forecast to increase by a meter by the end of the century, practically the entire country might be flooded. If a city floats, though, it may rise with the tide. This, according to Waterstudio’s COE Koen Olthuis, represents “fresh hope” for the Maldives’ 500,000 population.