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Japanese Developer Proposes Insane Underwater City

Shimizu Corp believes they could start building in 15 years.

Japanese developers Shimizu Corp have thought up quite a few outrageous ideas in the past: moon bases, floating botanical cities, and an elevator to space, to name a few.

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Now they’ve released plans for a marine-based floating city, tethered to the ocean floor by a spiral structure that would mine energy from the earth’s surface via methane-generating micro-organisms and thermal energy conversion. The city, which will exist in a massive glass dome, could house 5,000 people, and with the power drawn from the ocean floor, would be self-sustaining. The city could be retracted underwater in the case of a storm.

The developers believe this futuristic Atlantis would only take five years to build, starting from when we have the technology for it (which they say we can expect in about fifteen years). It won’t be cheap–they are currently estimating it would cost about $25 billion to build.

Shimizu Corp

Christian Dimmer, an associate professor at Toyko University, had harsh words for the project, which he feels is utopian idealism that will only benefit an elite few.

“We had this in Japan in the 1980s, when the same corporations were proposing underground and ‘swimming’ cities and 1-km-high towers as part of the rush to development during the height of the bubble economy,” he said. “It’s good that many creative minds are picking their brains as to how to deal with climate change, rising sea levels and the creation of resilient societies–but I hope we don’t forget to think about more open and democratic urban futures in which citizens can take an active role in their creation, rather than being mere passengers in a corporation’s sealed vision of utopia.”

But Shimizu is adamant that their plan is possible.

“This is a real goal, not a pipe dream,” spokesperson Hideo Imamura told the Guardian. “The Astro Boy cartoon character had a mobile phone long before they were actually invented–in the same way, the technology and knowhow we need for this project will become available.”

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It’s true, we can now make hoverboards as predicted by Back to the Future. Why not an insane underwater city?

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I'm a writer living in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Interests include social justice, cats, and the future.

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