Dutch Architect Proposes Floating Parks For Urban Centers

Architect Koen Olthuis, of Dutch firm Waterstudio has proposed a rather intriguing floating parks for cities like New York and London that would create a haven for wildlife in urban centers — a park that would be inaccessible to humans that would create a multi-tiered living area for birds, bees, bats and other small animals.

This is a remarkably creative and striking structure that fits well in the movement to turn our cities green, including proposals to turn the top of buildings into farms and gardens. There are already farms operating in places like New York city.

This country should be serious with such proposals and make the greening of urban centers a priority for the federal and state government. This is a win-win situation where the environment and human living conditions are both benefited from such new initiatives.

Source: Digg

20 thoughts on “Dutch Architect Proposes Floating Parks For Urban Centers”

  1. manjumisty:

    there are a good many things to think about, but the point is, the earth is not overcrowded with 7 billion people. there is room for a good many more.

    By the way, Singapore has a larger population density than does New York City.

  2. Bron,

    What you’ve calculated has several assumptions: that our only focus is to sustain human life, that new york density is sustainable, that is only as far as square footage is concerned without considering that human habitation packages and isolates wilderness, to start, lots more but i’m tired.

  3. Tom:

    I dont know, but you certainly havent said anything to make me change my mind.

    I mean who makes a comment like that? I have my head up my ass, OK, why do you think so?

    Probably you dont think and that is the reason you wrote what you wrote.

  4. Bron, how’s the view down there in the sand (or is it a darker and smellier place that your head occupies)?

  5. Gene H:

    I dont believe anyone knows what earths carrying capacity is going to be.

    100 years ago 7 billion would have seemed unthinkable.

    Most of those prognostications are based on ignorance or on the spectre of mere possibility.

    the population density of New York city is 42 people per acre.
    Total acreage needed for 7 billion people is 166,666,667 acres. One square mile has 640 acres so 260,417 square miles can handle everyone on earth.

    the entire world population could fit into the country of Burma with a density of New York city. I have a feeling there is plenty of land left for farming.

    Let’s quadruple the population to 28 billion, the required area is now 1,041,667 square miles. Now we have to add the following countries:
    Pakistan, Turkey and Chile. Seems to me there is still plenty of arable land left. 4 small countries can house 28 billion people with a population density the same as New York city.

    According to wiki there is 3,411,327,598 acres available for growing crops alone. At 0,173 acres per person required for food, you would need 3,717,707 acres so a little more than available but that assumes current crop yields which are greater than they were 100 years ago, so I am betting technology can add another 10% in 100 years. A 2004 population projection by the UN says that there are going to be a possible maximum of 28 billion people by 2250. So assuming no increase in crop yield over the next 200 years, it looks like like earth carrying capacity is around 28 billion people. But since technology is going to improve over that time, it would seem there is a good possibility it could be even higher.

    The above doesnt even account for the actual available agricultural land available.

    I dont think there is much to worry about.

    Of course I dont know either but I think the doom and gloomers are being pessimistic in their projections.

  6. Frankly, organic corn breeders have come up with a non GMO corn plant that will not inter pollinate with GMO corn. this is a start.

    I think with the preliminary studies showing organ damage and increased infertility in animals, all GMO corn should be banned in the US as it is in the EU.
    I also think that if the US adopted the food, body care and chemical standards set in the EU we would lower our health care costs by a third or so.

  7. Bron,

    The issue isn’t maximum population density.

    It’s carrying capacity as it relates to arable land, potable water and consumption of renewable and finite resources used to sustain populations. All people and no food make Jack a victim of famine. It’s not a problem technology is going to fix. It will require concerted effort on an international scale and the end of consumerism.

    Just Google “Earth’s carrying capacity”.

  8. Good news – less mowing; sustainable design can start in our own yards!

    “Marge Ruddick, a designer known for her elegant ecological landscapes, got a summons from the City of Philadelphia last year, citing her Mount Airy yard as being in violation of the property maintenance code…for weeds over 10″…she is one of the finalists this year for the Cooper-Hewitt Design Award which makes this kind of hilarious.”



  9. considering how close to sea level holland is now this may be their only hope for the future.


  10. 7 BILLION people can fit in less space than the continental US and still have room for farming and whatever else is needed. All with a density of New York city or less.

    There is still plenty of open space and technology will take care of any major issues which may come up.

    We arent even close to maximum population density.

  11. Whether this gets traction or not, it provides spark for continuing the discussion. The world needs to evaluate the concept of carrying capacity.

    1. I have always wondered by the penalty’s for holding were similar to the penalty for carrying capacity….But you always need a front-man for that….

  12. Rafflaw, you’re right and I’d be interested in knowing about anyplace that took the ‘whole neighborhood’ approach. My city took the vacant lot approach, your idea on a much smaller scale. Ultimately you end up with a bunch of little ‘pocket’ parks, not unbroken, natural habitat.

    I have lived in a couple of neighborhoods that tried the pocket park approach: clean out the lot(s), plant a half-dozen small, hardy ornamental trees and sod and mow it. They look OK but they’re sterile places, not wildlife or people friendly places- no benches, can’t have people/kids loitering. I can’t fault a city this alternative to deserted buildings and the few birds per tree that live there are a boon but they aren’t parks or wildlife habitats.

    Also, the more broken up a patch of land becomes the more limited it is in being able to sustain a representative selection of fauna and flora. No big grazers or predators can be sustained. In nature, big is better. Some countries have been experimenting with constructing natural swaths of land through developed areas that interconnect undeveloped spaces so that the larger fauna can roam. This prevents overgrazing as well as over predation in any one place and creates a larger, more integrated habitat. I like that idea.

    I also like the idea of floating islands but at a huge and massive scale, not anchored but seeded with critters and set free in the oceans to find their own ‘migratory’ path among the currents and gyres. They would do what islands have done forever, attract more creatures and serve as evolutionary laboratories. They would still have to contend with warmer ocean and atmospheric conditions but they wouldn’t have to compete with humanity for the same space. Kind of like “Silent Running” but different. 🙂

    (If governments are going to piss away trillions of dollars I have my own wish list, LOL.)


  13. raff,

    In some parts of the US they call your ideal the Brownfield Reallocation….or renaissance zones……

  14. It may be creative, but I think it is impractical and unnecessary. The right way to save the animals is to stop taking away the open land. There are a lot of big cities with whole neighborhoods that are vacant and blighted. Those areas could be razed and made into parks. The land could be returned to its natural state and the animals and plants will flourish. Now, about that global climate change thingee…..

  15. Well, GMO crops & the newest insecticides are doing in the bees faster than we can replace them. For the sake of argument lets pretend we find a way to pollinate crops without them & don’t starve to death(I wouldn’t count on this but the whole show is over once we have killed off the bees so we kinda hafta pretend we do figure this out). There is still the issue of climate change. More violent storms and wild weather swings will make maintaining these island problematic. then there is the issue of diversity. Not just are there enough different spices to make this viable but is there enough variety within the local population to not end up with severely inbred populations.

    Its a great idea but really too little too late.

  16. Oh, very nice. Except we’re killing off the very species we rely on for food and these pretty dreams will never be built because our civilization is on the verge of collapse.


    Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve, say experts

    “The biggest threat to the state’s biodiversity right now is “white nose syndrome,” a fungal infection that is decimating the bat population, said Christina Kocer, a DEP wildlife technician. “Since this was first documented in Connecticut in 2008, we’ve lost 99 percent of the Northern long-eared bats that winter here, and 96.6 percent of all little brown bats. Right now, we have no long-term means to address it, but there has been some talk of a captive breeding program. That won’t be easy to do with a hibernating species,” she said.

    Bats eat insects, Kocer noted, “and while other factors also affect the number of insects, you can infer that with so many fewer bats, the numbers of mosquitoes will increase sharply.”

  17. good reuse of oil drilling platforms.

    roof top gardens help with urban runoff, reduce solar heat in the summer and help with insulation in the winter. Could help feed the poor and homeless as well.

  18. Ah ha….I knew that the Dutch…would reemerge as a culture icon….anyone that can sell a tulip bulb for 50 million dollars….has to know something about greenery…even if its in Guilders…..

    I do like the concept…

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