This post was contributed by The Seasteading Institute’s Director of Engineering, George Petrie.
If you’ve ever had the experience of moving to a new city, you’ve probably gone through the process of deciding which neighborhood is the best for your needs; considering factors like housing costs, taxes, proximity to work, schools, shopping, the gym, and anything else you deem important to your lifestyle.
A similar process is involved in trying to decide where to locate a prospective seastead venture or community. However, recognizing that oceans and seas cover more than 70% of the earth’s surface, narrowing down the choices can be quite daunting. For the past year, thanks to a generous donation by nanotechnology industry leader Jim Von Ehr, we have been developing a comprehensive methodology to address this issue. We are pleased to announce the publication of our latest research report, entitled Seasteading Location Study: Ship-Based and Large-Scale City Scenarios. It is available for download here.
Our study considers a wide range of criteria, including business and economic factors, legal and political considerations, and environmental conditions such as wind, waves, water depth, and more. For each criterion, we developed a global database and a set of transformation functions that rank each factor on a scale of 1 to 100 based on compatibility with the objectives of a particular seasteading scenario. Calculations were conducted using Esri’s ArcGIS software, and the results are displayed in easy to digest “heat-maps,” which use simple color-coding to illustrate the relative desirability of locations around the world. In the report, we considered two different scenarios:
- Shipstead – A small community (between 100 to 1,000 people) devoted to a single enterprise or business model, representative of an early seastead community
- Metropolistead – A large community (50,000 people or more) engaged in a wide range of enterprises; a complete city-at-sea, representing the long-term vision of seasteading
The most promising locations for shipstead scenarios are generally within the exclusive economic zones of highly developed nations in North America, Western Europe, East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, etc.) and the eastern coast of Australia. By contrast, the most favorable sites for the Metropolistead scenario are found along the western coasts of Central and South America, off the Brazilian coast, and in certain areas of the South Pacific.
Check out the full report and let us know what you think of our approach.
Either a Shipstead of up to 1k people or a Metropolistead of 50k or more will have freshwater and power consumption requirements that will need to be reliably met. This would mean that proximity to either reliable sources of fuels or renewable energy to generate these utilities, or land based municipailties capable of selling these utilities to a floating community would be an important site selection criteria. It would be good to see these criteria represented more explicitly.