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The floating frontier - sea cities

How architects are planning to conquer the open ocean, plus a look around a floating town

Some 70 percent of the world's surface area is covered by water - so it's no surprise that architects and urban planners are looking down from their high rise towers and considering new horizons to build on: namely the world's vast oceans.

On this week's One Planet, Richard heads to the Hague in Holland to look around a building site, one that's going to be deliberately flooded allowing a community of 600 homes to rise to the top of the flood waters. Dutch architect Koen Olthuis, a specialist in floating buildings, outlines his vision for the community and explains why - as more people go urban - the pressure on our cities means it's a logical step to take to the water.

Also in the show we visit a floating home - now built and occupied - that sits in the waterways of Amsterdam. Take a look at our Flickr album to see pictures of the water house, the link's below.

Plus, we hear from Patri Friedman, the head of the Seasteading Institute - an organisation promoting the construction of entirely new sovereign states on the open sea that will allow alternative types of government to be tested and developed.

As ever, tune in, have a listen and let us know what you think. Email the team at, or join us on our Facebook page, the link's below.

Available now

18 minutes


BBC World Service Archive

BBC World Service Archive

This programme was restored as part of the World Service archive project