The Hydropolis Underwater Hotel and Resort
"You can print money, manufacture diamonds, and people are a dime a dozen, but you'll always need land. It's the one thing they're not making any more of."
So sayeth Lex Luthor, criminal mastermind and Superman's nemesis... but despite being evil, he has a point. With more and more land being needed for food production, and an ever-increasing population, we are running out of places to build things.
For some, that might be a problem but some engineers have come up with an unique solution - build on the water.
San Diego's Aqua-Airport
San Diego's current airport, The San Diego International is tiny. Really tiny. For an airport that caters for an area of 3 million people, it is served by a 675 acre airport that has one runway. As a result, it is one of the busiest and most dangerous landing strips in the country.
The problem is, is that there is no room to expand the current airport or build a new airport. However, a local lawyer called Adam Englund hit upon an idea - build it on the ocean.
Now, this is not a new idea. Japan already has its Central Japan International Airport built upon an artificial airport island in the Aichi prefecture, with four more in the pipeline and Hong Kong's airport has a runway that practically goes into the harbour, so in theory it is possible....
Englund's plan is that San Diego build their airport upon "a giant oil rig-style floating platform permanently moored 10 or so miles off the coast of San Diego. It would be three square miles and afford plenty of room for two long and very safe runways."
According to The Infrastructurist, Englund has even put in a "first-of-its-kind claim with federal government for "airport rights" to a 40,000 sq mile swath of the Pacific." That's one hell of a purchase.
The aqua-airport would be connected to the mainland via rail tunnels and/or high speed ferries and would also boast four stories of open real estate that could be used for anything from hotels and restaurants to research facilities and universities.
It would also be environmentally friendly (apart from all the airplanes), being powered by wind, waves and ocean currents. An on-board desalinization plant would also supply clean water to airport residents, as well as pumping fresh water back to nearby urban centres.
At $20 billion, it's an expensive gamble, but with building land becoming more expensive and more rare, it's an almost certain possibility.
'Boris Island Airport'
It's not just the Americans... the idea has also been championed by London's mayor Boris Johnson. His plan would see a $65 billion site built two miles off Sheerness, entirely bankrolled and owned by foreign sheiks.
The idea has been blasted by British environmentalists, saying the idea was ludicrously expensive, damaging to local wildlife and would required miles and miles of new motorways to support passenger capacity.
KCC leader Paul Carter said, "There is a growing consensus that the Estuary airport is undeliverable, unaffordable and unnecessary.
"It makes sense to sweat the assets already available to us in the South East. Kent International Airport at Manston, for example, has one of the longest runways in Europe.
"Manston could also handle six million passenger movements a year which would boost the local economy in an area of high deprivation."
Bad luck Boris, maybe next time.
Hydropolis Underwater Hotel
Only in Dubai.
Already home to some of the world's most fantastic buildings, Dubai is soon to be home to the world's first underwater luxury resort.
Designed by Joachim Hauser, Hydropolis is due to be completed by the end of the year. It's been four years in the making and has hit several problems including design issues and 'rough seas'. The major problem has been finding a suitable location for the hotel. There were fears that if placed incorrectly, the massive structure would affect the tides and sea levels off Dubai, rendering vast areas of coast uninhabitable due to flooding, unpredictable wave and tide patterns and the high possibility of whale beachings.
However now, the $491 million structure is set to become a major attraction in the area. Around the size of London's Hyde Park, the hotel consists of three sections, the land station, where guests will be welcomed; the connecting tunnel, which will transport people by train to the main area of the hotel; and the 220 suites within the submarine leisure complex.
Not wanting to blow their own trumpet, the hotel has described it as a "10 star hotel" and rooms are said to start at $5,000 per night.
Dubai's Palm Islands and The World
Again in Dubai, the Palm Islands are artificial islands build for residential and commercial purposes. Each artificial area is built in the shape of a massive palm tree. The islands were planned, but as of today only Palm Jumeirah is finished. It is populated with luxury hotels, villas, shopping malls, theme parks, marinas and entertainment centres.
The islands were created by the dredging of sand from the Persina Gulf. Breakwater 'crescents' were made out millions of tons of locally quarried rock, and from this a a four kilometre long peninsula, protected by a 200 metre wide, seventeen kilometre long circular breakwater was created.
Palm Jumeriah is five kilometres by five kilometres and can be seen from the International Space Station. It has a trunk, a crown with 17 fronds, and 'technically' adds another 78 kilometres to Dubai's shoreline.
However, as impressive as it is, The World almost trumps it. Made from 300 man-made islands, The World is an archipelago in the shape of the landmasses of the Earth. Again, located off the coast of Dubai, and developed by the Palm's developers Nakheel Properties, The World began construction in 2008, with 60 percent of the islands being pre-sold.
Unfortunately, the financial crisis has delayed the project with construction on many of the islands being suspended.
So there you have it. If the ice cap melts and the waters rise... we may not be as bad off as we thought. Floating airports and hotels... it's only a matter of time before floating cities are made.
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