Even though politicians and world leaders are dragging their feet on climate change action, architects, activists, scientists and engineers around the world are coming up with innovative solutions to address the challenges of global warming. With sea levels rising and numerous island nations expected to disappear within the 21st century, pioneering French firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures has come up with a possible solution for climate change refugees – the Lilypad – a floating Ecopolis, a self-sufficient amphibious city.
Vincent Callebaut Architectures explains that whereas the Netherlands and the United Arabic Emirates ‘fatten’ their beach with billions of euros to build protective dams, the project Lilypad deals with a tenable solution to water rising. Actually, facing the worldwide ecological crisis, this floating Ecopolis has the double objective not only to sustainably widen the offshore territories of the most developed countries, but also to provide housing for the future climatic refugees of the soon to be submerged territories such as the Polynesian atolls.
The Lilypad is an amphibian half aquatic and half terrestrial city, able to accommodate 50,000 inhabitants with fauna and flora around a central lagoon of fresh water collected and purified by rainwater. The Lilypad also includes three marinas and mountain areas dedicated to work, shopping and entertainment. The entire island is covered by a stratum of housing in suspended gardens, accessible by a network of streets and alleyways.
Entirely self-sufficient, Lilypad takes up the four main challenges launched by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in March 2008: climate, biodiversity, water and health. The Lilypad has a positive energy balance with zero carbon emissions using the full integration of all the renewable energies (solar, thermal and photovoltaic energies, wind energy, hydraulic, tidal power station, osmotic energies, phytopurification, biomass) producing more energy than it consumes. The Lilypad will purify and recycle waste water and by integrating ecological niches, aquaculture fields and biotic corridors on and under its body, the Lilypad will meet its own food needs.
Vincent Callebaut Architectures explains that the goal was to create a harmonious coexistence of human-kind and nature, to explore new modes of living on the sea spaces of social inclusion suitable to the benefit of all the inhabitants – locals or foreign-born, young or aged people.