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Menopausal Mother Nature

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Floating cities could ease the world’s housing crunch, the UN says – National Geographic

This article was created in partnership with the National Geographic Society.The corridors and meeting rooms here bustled this week with a familiar-sounding mix of sessions, on “policy options for low fertility,” the launch of “The State of Pacific Youth Report,” the “International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.”But something completely different was going on in conference room 8 on Wednesday, where a glowing blue-and-beige model on a central podium illustrated the theme on the door: “Sustainable Floating Cities.” (See more photos of floating city concepts.)There, dozens of experts, investors, scientists, and officials—along with a group of students on a video link from Nairobi—explored a new approach to building offshore hubs of habitation, commerce, education, and recreation designed to ease pressures facing coastal cities squeezed between rising populations, rising seas and storm risk, resource limits, and threatened ecosystems.Bright and dark visions of humanity spreading from land to life offshore have been around for decades, with variants ranging from hopeful—a vaulting pyramid-shaped floating city conceived for Tokyo Bay in the 1960s by R. Buckminster Fuller—to involuntary, as with straggling survivors of a flooded planet building ragtag “atolls” in the dystopian 1995 film Waterworld.The developers, a company called Oceanix and partners including the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, insist this time is different.

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