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By Mike Atkinson | Drive Producer and Public Relations Officer

The Micronesian nation of French Polynesia could be the first country to have an independent floating city by the end of the decade.

In an effort to adapt to climate change and come up with an alternative to rising sea levels — which are swallowing up coastlines of many Pacific island nations — French Polynesian government officials signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with San Francisco’s Seasteading Institute to jump-start the development of the world’s first self-sufficient floating city.

A computer generated image of the proposed floating platform in French Polynesia.

The institute’s executive director, Randolph Hencken said the Azure seas of the Pacific appealed for several reasons.

“We were looking for sheltered waters — we don’t want to be out in the open ocean — it’s technologically possible but economically outrageous to afford,” he said.

“If we can be behind a reef break, then we can design floating platforms that are sufficient for those waters at an affordable cost.”

“So much of the world — places like Kiribati and many of the islands of French Polynesia — are threatened by rising sea levels. We are planning to spin off a new industry of floating islands that will allow people to stay tethered to their sovereignty as opposed to having to flee to other countries.

“That’s certainly why the Tahitians are interested in us. They want the environmental resiliency as well as the economic opportunities.”

Further investigations into the economic, environmental and legal impact of the scheme are now due to take place.

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