Architect Proposes "Sea Trees": Floating Wildlife Oases

To counter the effects on wildlife of overpopulation and climate change, Dutch architects float a proposal for an urban Noah's Ark.

There are countless benefits to urbanization. Preserving flora and fauna isn’t one of them. The more people you’ve got in a city, the less room it has for things that aren’t people.

So here’s a wacky proposal from the Dutch architects Build urban wildlife habitats on water (something plenty of cities have in spades).

Sea Trees would be big, lush, tiered towers that rise up offshore, whether in a lake, a river, or the sea, and create floating preserves for plants and animals. Think of them as elaborate city parks (except humans aren’t allowed). A bonus: Their "trunks" would extend beneath the water, providing habitats for aquatic creatures, too.

That might sound like an awfully far-fetched idea, but as the world’s metropolises grow (and grow and grow), Sea Trees could be key to ensuring that city wildlife doesn’t get squeezed out.

As for implementation: It’s hard to imagine that cash-strapped cities would shell out to build what’s effectively an urban Noah’s Ark, no matter what the environmental payoff. So’s hope is that large oil companies foot the bill. In doing so, they could show "their concern for a better city environment," the architects say. Oil companies showing what for the environment? Maybe this really is too far-fetched.

[Images courtesy of; hat tip to]

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  • Rand's Designer

    This is ugly as sin, and, judging humanity's current record on grandiose environmental endeavours, would cause more harm than good to the planet.

    As it comes to the funding, it would make more sense to set these up (with a better design) as a place for people to come pay to visit.  Make money while preserving the ecosystem.     

    This would also insure that there are checks that it is being maintained properly and not being used as a money hole for PR.

  • Florac

    I dunno, I like it! Chicago is trying to be a green city, we love architecture, we have a lot of water with a pretty lake shore drive. I think this would be something our trendy city could adopt...however. The city is BROKE and it would be very expensive. Oil companies, sadly, could care less. It would be hard to pull off...and if corporations "adopt" them like our green spaces along the highway, they would be branded stupidly, wouldn't they? Almost like  NASCAR! Niiiice. (

  • StephenPSmith

    Just brand them like the stadium- and arena- venues, imagine the Bank of America wildlife preserve...

  • ishmael2009

    Love the idea of more greenery in cities - vertical gardens, as they have in Paris for example - but how woefully typical is it of Green initiatives is it that they look for funding to the very people they constantly attack, the big oil companies? This will do nothing to counteract the image of the Greens with many as being upper-middle class elitists (not that that image is correct, but perceptions count). It's like a wayward teenager screaming "I hate you!" at their parents one minute and asking for pocket money the next. How about Greenpeace or the WWF funding at least the first of these floating arks? They certainly have the money available.

  • jvanemmerik

    Tim, you make a very valid point in that oil companies are just giving the people what they want (or need); like it or now, they are part of our world for the forseeable future.  But, if you want folks to take note of your comments with any sense of thoughtfulness, you may want to back of on the rhetoric like asking us to get off our high horses - that tends to shut down the give and take of an open discussion.  

  • malzy

    There's no reason this shouldn't be done. If it isn't the oil companies, someone will want the goodwill attached to their brand. I'm surprised companies aren't clamouring at an idea like this. 

  • Timothy Haitaian

    Great article until you asked for the oil companies to "foot the bill." Everyone asks so much of these big bad oil companies. They sell a product we all demand, if we are so mad at them then don't purchase their product (gas, plastics, electricity, etc...) You know you couldn't get by without all of those so get off your high horse...