A product of the eternal fascination with inhabiting the waters, a number of artificial island projects have been announced in recent years, becoming a way for many cities to expand out into the sea and opening up the possibility of moving settlements, activities, nature and entertainment beyond their normal boundaries.
Certainly, this is not a recent innovation. One of the earliest examples of artificial islands was Dejima, created in the Nagasaki Bay in the 17th century Japan as a centre dedicated to European merchants, a testimony to how man has always sought to settle on the sea with fixed or mobile platforms.
However, from the recently inaugurated Little Island in New York to the announced Lynetteholm Island in Copenhagen, thefocus around the latest projects is on environmental sustainability. Whether they are built to have minimal impact, powered by alternative energy sources and designed to protect the coastline from the waters, on the contrary, they spark outrage among environmentalists for “greenwashing” practices; the debate around new artificial islands demonstrates a renewed awareness and desire to limit the environmental damage attached to these projects.
Moreover, considering the relentless rise in water levels caused by global warming, in a few decades the seas could cover large portions of cities such as Miami, Venice or Bangkok. This means that new water housing solutions will become increasingly common, if not absolutely necessary, and artificial islands will play a key role in the climate challenge.