Aquatic Urban Design

Urban development on water faces many new challenges. The moveability of floating buildings makes for a dynamic development of the urban fabric. Moreover a city on water creates numerous infrastructure options of combining road and water transport. Floating town planning can consequently concern itself more with growth strategies than with strictly demarcated spatial planning.

Different town planning typologies are conceivable varying from a compact core to more dispersed configuration. Investigating the two extremes reveals how density affects infrastructure and spatiality. A compact city needs fewer infrastructures but the sense of space and contact with the water are more limited. This is the opposite for a dispersed model where spaciousness comes at the cost of more infrastructures. The dynamic nature of the Floating City makes it possible to begin with a dispersed plan and to develop this further into one or more centres. The best possible use of the available water surface is thus continually achieved.


Floating construction offers an ideal opportunity of separating the production site of a building from the place where it is to be located. Floating buildings are movable, so that they can be constructed on an industrial scale under controlled conditions. This offers unprecedented openings for innovation in the building industry, reduces inconvenience from building activities and offers chances of successfully introducing new concepts like cradle to cradle in the building world.

Longer economic life

The economic value of the building and the location can be separated. Both can be sold separately and be given a new use. This prevents premature demolition, keeps the economic value of the buildings intact and makes it easier to respond flexibly to the openings on the real estate market.

Flexible town planning

Another major potential asset is moveability and flexibility during construction, use and the end-of-life phase. The urban planning structure of a floating district can be easily adapted to the ongoing changing requirements of the community. The floating district easily adapts to changing circumstances, such as the rise in sea level, while the modular structure of the floating system makes it straightforward to expand.

Sustainable manufacture

Floating construction enables the use of factorymade floating elements that are assembled in situ. The result is high quality at a lower price. Moreover the incentive to innovate is greater since the investment costs for research and development are spread over a greater number of products and need not be recouped from a single project. Sustainable development in the construction process becomes more realistic if the production and demolition phase take place in a controlled environment.