make seasteads "breakable" and "repairable"
December 27, 2009 at 12:50 pm #1144
Following the wave research thread and the seastar platform thread i found that for the general cost of seasteading and the design strategy the question ” for what waveheight do we design” is a key question.
Happens that there is a big difference between “average wave height” and “worst ever seen waveheight” – in fact there is a factor 10 between those two figures.
The general opinion on the forums is that you have to design for “worst ever seen conditions” as life is in risk.
My input is – be not so quick with the answer – have a closer look to land based construction – building codes do NOT (and can not) cover the worst ever seen conditions – insisting in this would push most building projects toward non feasibility.
Imagine there would be a building code for “proven and tested Richter 8.5 resistance” for any building humans live in – you had to reduce to rubble 97% of all existing real world buildings, and people would end without a roof over their heads. So the general idea that things will break in real extreme conditions is kind of “generally accepted status” in all building codes – we have to live with the fact that there will always be a certain risk, and life can not be without any risk.
Having said this, i would suggest to look for a design that has a “get damage but stay still afloat and be a rescue island” – quality. The “bottle island” would be such a design, most “modular designs” will have that quality. Vegetation Islands have this quality.
Let me hear your thoughts…December 27, 2009 at 11:42 pm #9030
Well, seasteads are already going to be expensive. Of course you can’t construct one for worst-case scenarios (e.g hurricanes), but you can invest money in making them safer up until a point (that point being where it IS making you safer and not just making you feel safer).
Seasteads will already be keeping careful track of weather on the oceans, so hopefully they wouldn’t be anywhere near certain areas during hurricane seasons (so they don’t have to be built to withstand hurricanes).
Factoring in the already considerable investment which would be required to construct a seastead, protecting that investment would probably be better (by spending more to stave off the possibility of losing it all). The seasteads will travel slowly, and sometimes they’ll be far away from any coasts. Losing seasteads under anything but the most unpredictable circumstances wouldn’t be acceptable.
Living on a small floating city would of course entail a high-maintenance environment (therefore a good deal of residents will probably have some kind of engineering background) so whether or not a lot of money is invested in the construction of any one seastead, there is bound to be repairs and checks which will have to be undertaken every day.
If seasteads began proving that they could sink almost as often as normal ships, it wouldn’t only mean major setbacks for TSI, seasteading, and any entities which commission the construction of seasteads, but it would also turn the general public off of the idea right away.
As you’ve said, buildings currently aren’t constructed to be fool-proofed against the conditions and risks of their environments (i.e New Orleans), but living on land is conventional, and people who live in risky areas usually have some type of insurance to cover losses/damages associated with things like floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes.
Seasteading is currently unconventional. When seasteads begin to come into existence, inhabitants will of course be keeping most of their assets on land. However seasteading will only ever be a hollow idea unless it travels in the direction where people will actually be making their lives on seasteads. There won’t be insurance companies to cover potential losses once seasteads become independant city states (I don’t think they would consider your worldly possession sinking with a small floating city to be coverable anyway).
So when seasteads reach that point where they’re independant, there won’t be anymore financial safety nets which shipping and cruise liner companies have.December 29, 2009 at 9:22 pm #9053
You talk about the high expense of building to meet any possible condition. Yes, and of course we can always find a worse possible condition.
However, if one survives a disaster on land, there are lots of chances to survive the aftermath, to salvage some assets, and to rebuild.
At sea, this is far less certain. You have noted this, but I’m not sure you have given it sufficient weight. 3/4ths of a city could be bombed out and the remaining 1/4 and any ruins may still provide adequate shelter – but if a seastead sinks, with all of one’s worldly possessions, that’s it. What do you rebuild with? Can you even survive in that environment if a seastead sinks?
We will still want to plan for likely extreme conditions, just as builders don’t put buildings in flood plains, based on calculations of what is likely to be the worst flood in 100 years. But we don’t want these standards to be too weak, and we want contingency plans to avoid the loss of life in an extreme scenario. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.January 13, 2010 at 6:18 am #9196
There are a number of ways to reduce the risks involved. Get acceptably rated survival craft/life-boats… The kind big ships carry. Keep and keep handy, life rings. Wear safety vests, when anywhere near the edge of the platform. Keep emergency suplies in the boat and life-boat. Use the “Buddy-System.” Build flotation into your structures and transports, make access to your decks, from the water, easier(pool ladders and such). Keep in mind, ladders can be removed, to prevent access, in emergency defense situations.
Outside that, have the ability to move out of the way of Hurricanes/Tsunamis. The boat-people hardly noticed the little bump that became the surge that hit Indian Ocean coastal areas, several years ago.
Outside that, stuff breaks all of the time. Built in redundancy, like flotation foam in bass-boats, helps reduce the chance that you have a major disaster on your hands.
Perhaps, a part of that boat/Seastead repair shop should be a floating dry-dock or two, to handle various size vessels. Understand, emergency preparedness is no substitute for routine maintenance. If your spare tire is flat, expect another flat…
If you can’t swim with the big fish, stick to the reef
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