Living on the Water

February 2019 Multimedia Kennedy Ray Web Exclusive

As the human population has increased rapidly over the last several hundred years, the land we have available to accommodate the population has decreased. However, a solution can be found right in front of us. Though as humans we use to try everything from dams to barriers to keep out water, in the future we may find ourselves learning how to live with water, or in this case on the water. Moving from the cramped land to houseboat and floating home communities could be the answer to housing crises around the world!

The way the world is heading, climate change may force us to move to the water. Creating canals to dispose of rain and melting water will not be good enough anymore. Storage of that water in larger bodies of water is needed to avoid floods. The Netherlands project ‘Room for the River’ demonstrates how to deal with this sort of issue. The goal of the project is to give more room to the river to be able to manage higher water levels. Room for the River was completed in 2018. The Dutch decided to embrace the rising water instead of fighting it by investing in floating neighborhoods. These neighborhoods helped with the housing shortage in Amsterdam where seeing houseboats has become just as normal as seeing regular houses.

To avoid flooding accidents, experts are working on creating mechanisms that allow houseboats and floating homes to rise and fall with the tides. With the ever-changing world around us, natural disasters, and the fact that life is unpredictable, there is an increasing need to make sure floating homes are safe for all occasions. Dutch architect Koen Olthuis, whose specialty is creating floating homes, says that “if your land is threatened by water, the safest place to be is on water.”

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