September 2000; p. 64, 67

Iss. 3, p. 45-46



by Pamela Buxton

Perhaps it's nostalgic memories of the exciting marine world of Thunderbirds, or maybe just too much science fiction as a child, but the idea of a floating city has an eternal appeal – at least to those who don't suffer from seasickness.

Instead of being tied to one location, you could explore new pans of the world as the city migrates around the oceans, going ashore to observe different cultures and landscapes. Self-sufficient and sustainable, the cities would be a chance for humanity to leave behind the overcrowded, polluted land and start afresh, building communities that live in harmony.

To most of us such ideas are fanciful – and possibly rather cringe-inducing. But for others they are deadly serious, either as Utopian concepts or commercial propositions.

Fixed firmly in the former camp is the Venus Project - a vision for a new way of living involving thousands of floating cities. It is the long-nurtured brainchild of Florida-based futurist Jacques Fresco. ow 84, Fresco has spent years developing the idea, which centers on the search for a sustainable new world civilization based on a resource-driven rather than monetary economy. The latter, he argues, has failed to benefit either humanity or the environment.

He envisages floating cities with populations ranging from the hundreds to the many thousands. Some would be anchored, some moving with the seasons, some underwater and some high-rise. All will be fully equipped with work, leisure and residential facilities and controlled, managed and operated by automated systems.

'The land is crowded today. We have population pressures that are unbelievable in New York, Hong · Kong. If we move offshore, cities can be used to research and maintain the ocean,' says Fresco. His website shows a range of his designs for futuristic cities as pan of a series of solutions to improve how we live.    [. . .]