According to project leaders, the first floating city in the world will be built by South Koreans off South Korea’s coast by 2025. This is to ensure humanity can survive rising sea levels.  

UN-backed, the floating capital, located off Busan’s coastline, is a flood-proof structure that consists of several man-made islands, which rise with the ocean to reduce flooding.  

It will be able to generate its own electricity through solar panels on the roofs of its buildings. The city can also make fresh water from its own sources and ferry people between island by futuristic boat pods. 

Because its floating platforms are anchored to the ocean floor, it can also resist natural disasters like floods and tsunamis. 

Construction of the floating city, estimated to cost $200 million (£150 million), will soon commence thanks to a ‘historic agreement’ signed by Busan Metropolitan City of the Republic of Korea, UN-Habitat and New York designers Oceanix. 

The cost of rent and whether the residents will have to pay for their housing are still unknown. MailOnline reached out to Oceanix for more information.  

Artist's impression of the floating city off the coast of Busan, South Korea. The city will consist of a network of islands that inhabitants can access using paddle boats

Artist’s impression of the floating city off the coast of Busan, South Korea. A network of islands will make up the city, which inhabitants can access by paddling boats.

With nowhere to expand, rapid urban population growth is pushing people closer to the water - and floating cities could be the answer

There is no place to grow, so rapid urban population growth pushes people closer to water. This could lead to floating cities being the best solution. 


Prototype locationBusan in South Korea

Energiequelle: Solar

Capacity: 10,000 residents on 75 hectares

Cost projection: $200 million (£150 million)

Completion date: 2025 

The arsenal of climate adaption strategies that we have at our disposal includes sustainable floating cities. Let us not fight with water; let’s learn how to co-exist with it,” Maimunah Mohd Sharif (executive director, UN-Habitat) said. 

“We are excited to develop climate adaptation and nature-based strategies through the floating urban concept. Busan is an ideal location to test the prototype.

Business Insider reports that each island will be hexagonal and have a limestone-coated limestone surface, which is twice to three times as hard as concrete, yet buoyant. 

Each platform may have a cage that can be used to store scallops, sea kelp, and other seafood. The waste of the fish could then be used as fertilisers. 

Inhabitants will have to live off a ‘primarily plant-based diet’, Oceanix says, which will reduce strain on space, energy and water resources. 

The production of organic products will be efficient in aquaponic and aeroponic systems. Traditional outdoor farms and greenhouses can also be used. 

Aaeroponics involves growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil, while aquaponics involves growing plants and raising fish with the help of beneficial bacteria. 

Locally sourced materials will be prioritized in the construction of the new city. 

The floating city is envisaged as 'a flood-proof infrastructure' that rises with the sea and produces its own food, energy and fresh water

As a floating city, it is envisioned as “a flood-proof infrastructure” that rises with water and generates its own freshwater, food and energy.

Cages under each platform could be used to keep scallops, kelp, or other seafood, while waste from the fish could be used to fertilise plants

Each platform may have a cage that can be used to store scallops, shrimp, or kelp. The waste of the fish can be used as fertilisers.

Construction of the floating city, set to cost $200 million, will soon commence thanks to a 'historic agreement' signed by Busan Metropolitan City of the Republic of Korea, UN-Habitat and Oceanix

The ‘historic agreement” between Busan Metropolitan City of Korea and UN-Habitat and Oceanix will allow construction of the floating city to begin soon. It is estimated that it will cost around $200 million.

Oceanix says that all existing structures will remain below seven stories in order to maintain a low center gravity and to resist wind. 

Busan summers are hot and humid. Therefore, the roofs of the building will maximize shaded spaces on the inside. This provides comfort while reducing cooling costs.   

The size of the city is yet to be decided, but larger villages covering 75 hectares could accommodate up to 10,000 resident, Oceanix estimates. 

Oceanix says: 'A primarily plant-based diet will reduce strain on space, energy and water resources. Organic produce will be efficiently grown in aeroponic and aquaponic systems, complemented by traditional outdoor farms and greenhouses'

Oceanix states that a primarily plant-based diet can reduce the demand on energy, space and water. Aeroponics and aquaponic systems will grow organic produce efficiently, with traditional greenhouses and outdoor farms assisting.

The city will also include a public square, market place and 'centres for spirituality, learning, health, sport and culture', adds Oceanix

Oceanix says the new city will have a central square, market and ‘centres in spirituality and learning, health and sport’.

Concept image from New York firm Oceanix, which says it is designing floating cities for people to live sustainably on the ocean

Concept image by Oceanix New York, who claims it designs floating cities that allow people to sustainably live on the ocean.


A recent report by the European Commission backed by the European Commission states that sea levels worldwide are rising at an “alarming pace” of 0.12 inch per year.

This is the fifth Ocean State Report published by the Copernicus Marine Service, using a combination of satellite observations, measurements at different ocean locations around the world, and computer models. 

Experts have found that melting land and ocean ice, as well as warming oceans, has caused sea levels rise 0.12 inches each year. This is more than ever before in the 20th century.

Continue reading: Report says global sea level rises 0.12 inch per year

Oceanix claims that the new city will have a central square, market and other ‘centres to spirituality and learning, sports and culture.’ Oceanix is also in negotiations with at least 10 governments for more floating cities.

Although the total project cost is at the moment estimated at $200 million (Business Insider says this is subject to change), it could rise depending on final design and materials.   

Park Heong-joon, Busan’s Mayor, stated that “with the complicated changes faced by coastal cities”, he needed a vision to allow people, nature, and technology to coexist.  

“There’s no better place to make the first steps towards human settlements that can sustain themselves on the ocean. This is a proud Korean achievement.

According to project leaders, the rapid growth of urban populations is driving people closer towards the water, increasing housing costs, and pushing the poorest families out. 

Like many coastal cities, Busan is threatened by rising sea levels and flooding, which can destroy billions of dollars worth of infrastructure and force millions of climate refugees to leave their homes. 

Two-fifths of people worldwide live within sixty miles of the coast. Furthermore, 90 percent of global megacities are susceptible to rising sea level. 

‘Sea level rise is a formidable threat, but sustainable floating infrastructure can help solve this looming catastrophe,’ said Oceanix co-founders Itai Madamombe and Marc Collins Chen.

“We are thrilled to be part of history together with UN-Habitat, Busan, and UN-Habitat as we usher in the next frontier for humanity.”  

Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon said: 'There is no better place than Busan to take the first step towardssustainable human settlements on the ocean, proudly built by Korea for the world'

Park Heongjoon Mayor of Busan said that there was no better place to make the first step toward sustainable human settlements at the ocean. This is proudly built for the world by Korea.

The network of cities at night. The self-sufficient city prototype will generate electricity from solar panels atop its network of buildings

At night, the city network. Solar panels will be installed on the roofs of each building to generate electricity. This prototype self-sufficient city will provide power for its citizens.

Following COP26 in Glasgow, earlier this month 200 countries agreed to maintain the Paris Agreement goals. 

The agreement hopes to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6ºF) ‘and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F)’. 

Should global average temperatures increase 2.7°F from pre-industrial times, sea levels could rise as much as 30.3 inches by 2100, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The lower 1.5°C limit enshrined in the Paris Agreement is likely to be breached between 2030 and 2052 if global warming continues at its current pace and unprecedented measures are not taken to stem the increase, a 2018 IPCC report said.


Paris Agreement was signed for the first time in 2015. It is an international agreement that aims to limit and control climate change.

It hopes to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6ºF) ‘and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F)’.

It seems the more ambitious goal of restricting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) may be more important than ever, according to previous research which claims 25 per cent of the world could see a significant increase in drier conditions. 

Four main objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change are to reduce emissions.

1)  A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels

2) To aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change

3. Governments agreed that global emissions must peak quickly, even though it will be slower for countries in developing nations.

4. To reduce the amount of waste in an efficient manner, according to current science.

Source: European Commission