The Seasteading Institute of California has begun making plans to build a “city at sea”.
Set to be constructed off the coast of San Francisco with a functioning prototype, the “city at sea” completion date can be expected in as little as three years.
Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea. These dwellings, or communities as the case may be, exist in international waters outside what is known as the Exclusive Economic Zone, the boundary of 200 nautical miles which extends from the coastline of the closest sovereign nation. Due to its location outside this boundary, The Seasteading Institute’s city would be self-governed and exempted from United States law.
The Seasteading Institute was founded by Wayne Gramlich and Patri Friedman. Friedman is a former engineer for Google who quit his job with the company in order to join Gramlich in developing the water-city.
According to The Seasteading Institute’s mission statement, much of the motivation for the creation of the city is political and focused on establishing a sovereign nation for those who are discontented with current American society. In describing why they’ve pursued seasteading, the Institute wrote, “because the world needs a new frontier, a place where those who are dissatisfied with our current civilization can go to build a different (and hopefully better) one.”
The Institute has discussed political intentions for its city which include smaller government structures, communal ownership of intellectual property, and legalization of marijuana.
The prototype for the city, which is currently in the designing stages, would be made up of modular building that could be moved around or replaced as the city grew. The design resembles as oil rig in its outward appearance, though its living quarters and mobility make the city similar to a cruise ship.
Critics of the Seasteading Institute have raised concerns over possible design failure, low comfort, financing shortages, and threats from weather and piracy.
Space in the city would sell for $300 per square foot, and so far, 600 people have signed onto and invested in the project.
(For more information, visit www.seasteading.org.)