Floating Cities Are No Longer Science Fiction, But Taking Shape

floating city

Artist’s rendition of a “floating city”

It used to be a fantasy or an image conjured by science fiction. It is an idea that is audacious and simplistic. Although seeming impossible, technologically is now within reach to create cities floating in international waters — independent, self-sustaining nation states at sea.

According to the New York Times, so-called “seasteading” has in recent years matured from pure fantasy into something approaching reality, and there are now companies, academics, architects, and even a government working together on a prototype by 2020. This could be the solution for those who wish to live truly free away from the oppression offered by all governments.

At the center of the effort is the Seasteading Institute, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco. Founded in 2008, the group has spent about a decade trying to convince the public that seasteading is not an entirely crazy idea.

That has not always been easy. At times, the story of the seasteading movement seems to lapse into self parody. Burning Man gatherings in the Nevada desert are an inspiration, while references to the Kevin Costner film “Waterworld” are inevitable. The project is being partially funded by an initial coin offering, a new concept sweeping Silicon Valley and Wall Street in which money can be raised by creating and selling virtual currency. –New York Times

In this day and age, when governments are becoming increasingly oppressive and tyrannical, and people crave the freedom to live their lives without coercion or force, “seasteading” seems like it could finally be a legitimate alternative. One government even “allowed” (there’s that oppression; as if governments own the seas)  the Seasteading Institute begin testing in its waters. Construction on a floating city could begin soon, and the first floating buildings — the nucleus of a city — might be inhabitable in just a few years.

“If you could have a floating city, it would essentially be a start-up country,” said Joe Quirk, president of the Seasteading Institute. “We can create a huge diversity of governments for a huge diversity of people.”

The term seasteading has been around since at least 1981, when the avid sailor Ken Neumeyer wrote a book, “Sailing the Farm,” that discussed living sustainably aboard a sailboat. Two decades later, the idea attracted the attention of Patri Friedman, the grandson of the economist Milton Friedman, who seized on the notion.

Mr. Friedman, a freethinker who had founded “intentional communities” while in college, was living in Silicon Valley at the time and was inspired to think big. So in 2008 he quit his job at Google and co-founded the Seasteading Institute with seed funding from Peter Thiel, the libertarian billionaire. In a 2009 essay, Mr. Thiel described seasteading as a long shot, but one worth taking. “Between cyberspace and outer space lies the possibility of settling the oceans,” he wrote. –New York Times

Over the years, the core idea behind seasteading (that a floating city in international waters might give people a chance to redesign society and government or eliminate government completely) steadily attracted more adherents. In 2011, Mr. Quirk, an author, was at Burning Man when he first heard about seasteading. He was intrigued by the idea and spent the next year learning about the concept.

While some crave the state and their interference in their own lives and the lives of others, some just want to taste the freedom we all are born with before it’s snatched away at birth by governments who use humans as nothing more than tax cattle while selling their rights to the highest bidder. Perhaps this would be the opportunity for those who crave their freedom and balk at the thought of being stolen from to cover costs of war and destruction to finally achieve their liberty.

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