Maldives President Approves Plans for Floating Golf Course & Homes
by Giselle Carr
At no more than two meters above sea level, the Maldives is currently at risk of being completely destroyed by the effects of global warming. In the aftermath of the 2004 Asian tsunami, up to 40% of the country was left underwater and one hundred people died. As a result of this threat, the Maldives has become one of the leading countries advocating actions that curb climate change, including global agreements on lowering carbon emissions. It has also voluntarily set the goal of eliminating all of its carbon emissions by 2020. Last week at a climate change conference in Helsinki, President Mohammed Nasheed called for the climate change debate to be re-framed in economic and security terms rather than solely environmental. He insisted that climate change is not about “hugging trees,” but is central to future security policies, sustainable economics and human rights. He emphasized that a price tag needs to be placed on “the extent to which we destroy the atmosphere, the extent to which we pollute the atmosphere,” and that there is also a need to stop pointing fingers and build more trust between developed and developing nations.
To counter the threat of climate change, the country has signed an agreement with Dutch Docklands. Dutch Docklands will research the possibility of building a floating golf course and resort that will include floating homes. The company has had previous experience in the battle against water in the Netherlands and has built man-made islands in Dubai. In terms of strategic design, the project is intended to maintain the balance between land and sea; Nasheed states, “The methods and procedures developed by the company for floating developments reduce the impact on underwater life, and minimize the changes to coastal morphology.”
Aside from the Maldives and other low-lying countries under similar threat, climate change has the potential to reshape how we consider residential and economic activities. The role that design plays in this is still being defined, as many companies have come up with incredible solutions, such as self-sufficient floating cities. We have reached the point where we can no longer design only for prevention, but also for preparation.