Saturday, August 25, 2007

Floating houses: a lesson for living in rising water

The lesson is from Dutch Housing Minister Sybilla Dekker who recently said: "You cannot fight water. You have to learn how to live with it."

Or in this case, float on it.

With scientists predicting sea-level rises of up to 110 cms (43 inches) by 2100, and catastrophic weather events becoming ever more common, the floating house could be the only realistic way for people to continue living in low-lying areas without fear of losing their homes, possessions and even lives to flooding.

The Netherlands famously known for its windmills, half the country lies below mean sea level. Flooding has long been a fact of life and extensive range of dikes and dunes protects the land from the rising tides.

Now a construction and engineering company Dura Vermeer has come up with a novel and, when you think about it, obvious solution to the problem: houses that float.

"These type of homes offer a good way of dealing with the effects of climate change," Dura Vermeer spokesman Johan van der Pol said.

"Unlike normal houses, they are extremely flexible when it comes to flooding, able to deal with a sea level rise of up to five metres.

The company has developed two variations on the same theme: a floating house which, as the name suggests, sits permanently on the water like a boat; and an amphibious house that stands on dry land but, in the event of floods, is able to rise with the water.

Both employ a large hollow concrete cube at their base to provide buoyancy, and are "moored" in pairs to huge steel piles to keep them anchored in one place, the piles enabling them to withstand currents as strong as you would find on the open seas.


shafraz said...

It would be interesting to see how the industrialized world supports this innovation.I guess by helping the suffering countries invest more on such innovations, the big guns will be more able to carry out their activities with lesser hurdles.Not that it cares much about the sufferings of other countries but my intuition is that countries like US by helping to invest more on such innovations may just try to justify their stand on carrying their normal activities.

Mohamed said...

Japanese invented houses on huge springs against earth quacks, floating houses for floods should also be seen in the context of options.

What is if the case like our a matter of sea level rising which will not recede like the flood?

Are we going to have floating cities? Islands?

Mohamed said...

thats me; shahuru//

mhilmyh said...

Hi Shafraz

Although the industrialized countries support innovation not for altruistic reasons, they certainly benefit and it also helps in the wealth creation due to the advancement in progress of other industries.

The microchip would be one example.

mhilmyh said...


If the case is for Maldives, we could build another noah's arc to ride the waves or flee as refugees to another country.