Published on January 6th, 2015 | By: Jessica McMathis0
The cities of the future are underwater and ripe for rare-earth miningPublished on January 6th, 2015 | By: Jessica McMathis
[Image above] Would you consider living in an underwater city? Credit: Shimizu Corporation
What’s the city of the future look like?
If you said underwater, you must be on the same wavelength as one Japanese construction company.
Shimizu Corporation’s “ocean spiral” looks like something straight out of Elysium—except that this space-age structure would reside far below the ocean’s surface. (The company has also dreamt up several other next-world concepts, including a botanical biome, “pyramid in the air,” and hotel for space tourism. Click here to read more about their ideas for future generations.)
According to a report in The Telegraph, each spiral—which Designboom describes as a “500 meter wide sphere that is connected to a resource center on the ocean floor via a 15-km helix-shaped path”—could house 5,000 residents and provide enough space for home, office, and entertainment.
Cool, you say—but what about…
Fresh, breathable air? Each underwater city would “descend as much as nine miles to the seabed, where an ‘earth factory’ would produce methane from carbon dioxide by using micro-organisms.”
Minerals and metals? Shimizu says that residents could mine for rare earths and metals in the seabed below.
Electricity? Generators would make use of the varying temperatures of the water surrounding each spiral, a process known as ocean thermal energy conversion.
Supplies? “Undersea docking facilities” would provide access to food and fresh drinking water from above sea level.
Bad weather? According to the report, “the city will have a vast floating dome that could be made watertight and retracted beneath the surface” when the seas and the air above are rough.
Company officials have been working on the concept with the Japan Agency for Marine–Earth Science and Technology and Tokyo University and are confident that a first spiral could be built within five years and available to residents within 15 years (which is, coincidentally, how long it takes the typical Japanese home to lose all value).
That being said, who’s up to try living in one? Check out the photos below and let us know in the comments below if you’ll be signing up for a sphere to call your own.
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