Lessons from Venice (Italy) to Seasteading
October 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm #1678
One of the topics that I’ve not come across at the forums is that of Venice (Italy), which is a city not too far as a concept from a floating one, and I think there are many lessons seasteaders can learn from Venice.
For one, Venice provides many examples of how logistics for everyday living can function in a seastead.
In Venice, for example, the sanitary sewage is pumped from the storage within each building to sewage barges, then shipped to locations within the mainland.Fresh food is brought from the mainland to the many outdoor markets as well as grocery stores on a daily basis, and people tour the different parts of the city on public water buses, private boats, or simply by walking if there is a non-water route available.
The way in which the Venice lagoon is naturally constructed to lessen the seawaves and windy conditions, may also provide a blueprint for constructing buildings and wave-dampening constructs on the open sea.
I also think people in Venice are very happy living so close to the water, there is something to that element that draws people, which is probably why waterfront lots are so expensive. I just saw today a video of one very happy family living next to the Grande Canale in Venice:
Patri (Friedman) mentions in his speeches the seasteading communities as sort of a scientific method, to find out which ways of organizing a community perhaps work. But looking back at how Venice prospered during its independency, may also help in shortening the learning curve to running some of the successful seasteads for potential entrepreneurs.
As an example of those historical lessons, Venice provided a natural, easily defendable fortress in the sea, keeping the area out of the way of looters and providing a place of refuge for free-thinkers and gifted people who needed an un-judging environment.
Those are just first few examples that I could think of as lessons from Venice, I’m currently planning a trip to (once more) experience the city early next year.October 29, 2011 at 8:20 pm #16037
I wrote the following article 4+ years ago:
I find Drupal forums to be kind of screwy, so there is a good chance I will not see any further messages on this thread.
-WayneOctober 30, 2011 at 3:16 pm #16047
In fact venice is a excellent example how seasteading can work. From the water and merchant oriented business model to political and intellectual freedom, as base to attract brilliant minds, even its todays business cooperating with cruise ships, tourism income, Palm Dubai is in certain way a intent to build a modern Venice in the Desert.
. . . .
From my expected seasteading axes the plate float out, the real estate squarementer deal, the bubble hotel, and Breakwater lagoon marina could be elements that can be developed into a city state compareable to Venice.
The catamaran float / The plate float out / The real estate squaremeter deal / The Captain Nemo float out / The bubble hotel / The current turbine / Breakwater lagoon marina / Oceanic port city design /
Venice also offers a great lession what to avoid. The city is built on wooden pilots that slowly sink into the swampy lagoon – if you build real estate on the water make sure that the floating foundations can last centuries this is of essence.
By the way study the historic maritime powers can give a lot of important info on seasteading – i would also suggest to look at Cartatago (lent its name to Cartagena)
concretesubmarine.comOctober 30, 2011 at 4:39 pm #16049
Wayne – I enjoyed the article, and you bring up several interesting points.
What was missing from your vision of a Venice-inspired seasted, in my opinion, was the chance that there could be a company providing the infrastructure that would make walking from one place to another possible. In that model, the individual inhabitants just park their seastead platforms to the infrastructure skeleton, which is pre-build.
Wil – I’m a big fan of Dubai, and always marvel at the pictures Palm Dubai, and you’re right, it is a great example of how to possibly approach seasteading.
Reconstructed with floating structures, the lure of such seasteading Palm Dubai could be significant, in terms of getting residents. People are paying big bucks to live at the Palm Dubai (and the “World” islands), and a Palm Seasteading could potentially offer residences at a much more accessible price, and at a more reproduceable way.October 30, 2011 at 5:04 pm #16050
for those who are interested in the political and social implications of seasteading, investigating how the seapower cartago and the land power rome went into a conflict about commerce and the seapower cartago finally got destroyed in the punic wars might be useful
It is also little known that VENICE lend its name to VENEZUELA (small venice in spain) especially the area of the bay of Maracaibo where settlements on stilts over water reminded the sailors to Venice. As well Venice as the bay of maracaibo, and Cartago (call them historic baysteads with extended commercial marine interest) had close ties to free spirited mariners that are historicly called pirates. Their de facto solutions of living together in community on ships and in land settlements where direct blueprints of the US constitution. (all men are equal).
house on stilts in maracaibo
Venice, Cartago, Maracaibo, Palm Dubai, can be seen as forms of transition from land living to seasteading. The Seasteading Outpost Belize project suggested something similar.
Maybe if the punic wars had not be won by the landpower rome but by the seapower cartago our cultural fundaments would be much more sea oriented and we would seastead already…
WilNovember 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm #16228
I remember reading Wayne’s article in the past (it’s good to see you posting Wayne!) and these thoughts really were the starting point of the seasteading movement. Organizing communal station-keeping is going to be a difficult prospect and raises the barriers of entry to groups that can afford water thrusters, a PC with wireless capability powerful enough to reach their neighbors and the electricity to keep these going 24/7. I’m a low-road fan (much like yourself) but I’d settle for low-tech solutions at the beginning.
Perhaps building floating structures off of an established and overpopulated island would be the ideal starting point for a seasteading effort. Venice wasn’t built in a vacuum, it was built around a location that was ideal for fishing and commerce. Since Seasteaders aren’t about to gather and build a community (so far) then it makes sense that we help an established community build and grow using the principles of seasteading.
In the end, any building project that rose in a void of demand was destined for failure. ‘Field of Dreams’ methodology only works if there exists a huge clientel of baseball fans willing to travel for your project and you enlist the aid of James Earl Jones. Tons of nation building groups have failed just for this reason. Seasteading as a technology rather than a political movement will succeed if folks avoid the doldrums of biting off more than they can chew. Let’s focus on getting the floating lifestyle down and find a central place where people can gather to experience it. If folks want to float out from there into the frontier, then they’ll be able to do so.
Building a modern Venice will open up all sorts of potential business and industry. Dealing with waste water is a fine example. There is plenty of technology that allows human waste to be carefully recycled into useful fertilizers. Instead of just ‘dumping this on the land’ somewhere, why not prefer a business to produce a product with value? This can be done with energy production, transportation, aquaculture… with Seasteaders producing land on the cheap and dynamic geography allowing the government to set up ideal conditions for growth in any of a variety of industries we have the potential to become a model that others copy.
I think one of the lessons we can learn are to build using materials that will not degrade over time. Concrete beats wood and steel. I think a second lesson is that we don’t have to start with a complete city. Find an ideal location where there is genuine demand and build as folks have need. Venice started out with a few islands so we can start out with a few seasteads. The third lesson we can learn from Venice is to build a free environment that folks want to live in. I think Charter Cities are already doing this well, so mimicing thier techniques should be encouraged.
Funny how things can come full circle again after so many years. I guess this just goes to show that good ideas are timeless until someone executes them.November 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm #16456
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