Japanese Company Reveals Plans for Full-Blown Underwater City

Monday, 24 November 2014 - 3:48PM
Weird Science
Monday, 24 November 2014 - 3:48PM
Japanese Company Reveals Plans for Full-Blown Underwater City

Underwater cities that can house thousands of people is nothing more than science fiction today, but according to one ambitious construction firm in Japan, that could change in as little as twenty years. Shimizu Corp unveiled their plans for Ocean Spiral, a spiral-shaped city that  "capitalize on the infinite possibilities of the deep sea" in order to accommodate up to 5,000 people.

 

Ocean Spiral

[Credit: Shimizu Corp]

 

The city will be groundbreaking not only for its sheer scale, but also by virtue of the fact that it will draw energy directly from the ocean floor. The so-called "earth factory" will use microbes from the ocean floor in order to convert carbon dioxide into methane, and meanwhile power generators on the spiral itself will create energy using ocean thermal energy conversion, which takes advantage of temperature differences in the water. This clean generation of energy could have an enormous impact on humanity's efforts towards a sustainable future, especially considering the rapidly rising sea levels. According to a recent study from the City University of New York, "Over 600 million people live in coastal areas that are less than 10 meters above sea level, and two-thirds of the world's cities that have populations over five million are located in these at-risk areas."

 

Shimizu claims that the technology could easily come to fruition within fifteen years, and then the Ocean Spiral structure would take approximately five years to build. "This is a real goal, not a pipe dream," Shimizu spokesman Hideo Imamura told the Guardian. "The Astro Boy cartoon character had a mobile phone long before they were actually invented – in the same way, the technology and knowhow we need for this project will become available."

 

Christian Dimmer, an assistant professor in the urban studies department at Tokyo University, praised Shimizu for its efforts to respond to climate change and rising sea levels, but warned against the idea of "techno-utopias" that had corporations' interests at heart: "We had this in Japan in the 1980s, when the same corporations were proposing underground and 'swimming' cities and 1km-high towers as part of the rush to development during the height of the bubble economy. It's good that many creative minds are picking their brains as to how to deal with climate change, rising sea levels and the creation of resilient societies – but I hope we don't forget to think about more open and democratic urban futures in which citizens can take an active role in their creation, rather than being mere passengers in a corporation's sealed vision of utopia."

 

Ocean Spiral

[Credit: Shimizu Corp]

 

Ocean Spiral

[Credit: Shimizu Corp]

 

Ocean Spiral

[Credit: Shimizu Corp]

 

Ocean Spiral

[Credit: Shimizu Corp]

 

Ocean Spiral

[Credit: Shimizu Corp]

 

Ocean Spiral

[Credit: Shimizu Corp]

 

Ocean Spiral

[Credit: Shimizu Corp]

 

Ocean Spiral

[Credit: Shimizu Corp]

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