One of the world's smallest, yet popular countries has found a new way to increase tourism – and save local coral reef areas at the same time.
Leaders in the tourist hotspot of the Maldives have drawn up plans to create the world's first floating city.
Due to rising sea levels, and the fact that it is also the planet's lowest-lying country, officials have had to come up with a way to potentially save its future in the long term.
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So plans have now been given the green light, with work due to start soon, on a floating island able to hold 5,000 housing units.
It'll be a 10-minute boat ride off the coast of the country's capital of Male, and will be secured to the floor with a huge linked tether inside a 500-acre lagoon.
It will be packed full of hotels, houses, shops and restaurants – but no cars.
The Maldives Floating City – as it will be so elegantly known – will have roads, but those will be made of white sandy beaches, so only foot, electric buggers, scoots and bicycles will be the modes of transport.
The city will also have huge canals to allow for boats and shits to deliver goods to the city.
It is hoped that the city will help to preserve the local coral islands, of which there are currently nearly 1,200 of them in the area.
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Plans were drawn up in conjunction with the Dutch Docklands group, and it is hoped that work will start in January, 2023, and will take around five years to complete.
A spokesman said: “Maldives Floating City is the first development of a new era in which Maldivians return to the water with resilient eco-friendly floating projects.
“The city has a nature-based structure of roads and water canals resembling the beautiful and efficient way in which real brain coral is organised.
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“The idea of having brain coral as the leading concept is that the goal of living with nature and learning to improve and respect natural coral is at the heart of the development, which leads to new knowledge emphasising the responsibility Maldives takes as centre for coral protection in the world.”
They also have plans to calm the local waters should it get a bit . . . choppy, thanks to “wave breakers”.
They added: “Artificial coral banks will be attached to the underside of the city, which will stimulate coral to grow naturally.
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“The submerged and protected coral reefs of the lagoon will provide a natural wave (reduction) breaker that, in combination with the interrelated grid of floating structures, provides comfort and safety for the residents.”
Although as an expert once said, “you can't stop nature from happening”.
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