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Paradigm Shift

The likelihood of the magnitude of natural disasters continuing to increase year after year due to future climatic changes cannot be ignored. What can be done to develop the coastal and riverside areas to safeguard against water-related disasters from the long-term perspective, over the next 50 or 100 years? It is urgent that a reliable alternative solution which will ensure a higher degree of safety through mitigation of disasters be found.
By applying innovative ideas to transform our civilization into one that befits the 20th Century, we must undergo a paradigm shift in order to establish a safe, secure and comfortable society for humankind. We believe that the floating urban communities presented here can be realized as a new paradigm of urban regeneration matching the next-generation standards. In this website, we not only introduced the concept of using the water surface for low-lying ground areas in the form of waterfront urban communities but also suggest a paradigm shift for land use in the new era.

Noah's Vessel Concept Zero-emission Society
Disaster-resistant Lower-lying Land Areas Environmental Symbiotic City
Waterpolitan Community Market Principles

Paradigm 1 Noah's Vessel Concept

In general, all buildings are to be directly grounded on land. However, this cannot prevent natural disasters such as flooding and earthquake. In view of Noah's Vessel, which is well known around the world as the symbol of people on earth being rescued from an extraordinary natural disaster. The ship was invented by human beings a long time ago and has been used as a vehicle for carrying people and/or other items. Today, the technology has progressed and ship has become a much safer vehicle. The technology of floating platforms like ships have become established in the ocean engineering field, thereby is safe, trustworthy and reliable. We should seriously consider the contribution for civil purposes on land that an application of very large floating structure (VLFS) can make now to realize a new rescue proposal for extraordinary natural disasters of late as a new Noah's Vessel concept.

Paradigm 2 Disaster-resistant Lower-lying Land Areas

Many big cities are built on large areas of low ground below sea level, areas that carry a high risk of natural disasters due to their hazard-prone locations close to seas and/or rivers. So far costly huge levees have been constructed to avoid water-related disasters such as tsunami and storm surge in cities. However, the levees are not sufficient to save people from water-related natural disasters and, in addition, these structures have to be reconstructed again within 50-100 years. On the other hand, when torrential rainfalls occur inside a city, highest levees cannot save people this kind of flooding. To free people who live on lower-lying lands, considered prone to floodwater dangers, from the fear of natural disasters and to turn these areas into safer and comfortable places, we must apply lateral thinking. The weakness inherent in such locations can be converted to strength, offering protection against water disasters by rethinking the way people live in such areas, i.e. by constructing buildings on floating foundations in calm man-made reservoirs rather than on land near the river and/or the sea.

Paradigm 3 Waterpolitan Community

In principle, seaside and riverside is quite fascinating because of its amenity and comfort but also desirable for water-related recreations and convenient for water-borne transportation. Furthermore, the potential residents there are freed of the "Urban Heat Island" syndrome due to cities being covered by asphalt and concrete. By facilitating reservoirs in cities, this situation can be changed easily also. For example, air-conditioning can be based on water-cooling instead of air which stirs up hot air throughout cities.

Since rainfall on the urban landscape is also an important natural resource, it is necessary to stock up on rainwater as much as possible. Precipitation over an integrated reservoir is then used secondarily for human activities such as for flushing the lavatory, sprinkling the garden with water and so forth, as an additional source of water to supplement the existing drinking water and sewage systems in a city. In addition, the water cycle system by filling underground area with water can restore and to maintain a supply of water in case of water shortages in summer season.

Paradigm 4 Zero-emission Society

From the viewpoint of sustainability, there is the need for a zero-emission society and/or stock society where the infrastructure of society such as roads, buildings, bridges and so on is intended to remain in place for a long time. This call for the lengthening of duration for resources, and consequently the level of carbon dioxide will decrease. In the zero-emission society, property and resources will accumulate over the generations. It is said that the infrastructure system in the society is separated into two categories; one is the so-called skeleton type which is for the long span and the other is the buffer type which will be removed in the short term. However the flexibility for changing city functions due to change in needs is necessary also. Yet, in general buildings grounded on land in cities cannot be reconstructed immediately. The floating foundations can save this situation, being the "buffer type" to be taken off and reused again while the reservoir is treated as the "skeleton type". So the floating foundations are to be reused several times on condition that a water city is sustainable and a reduction in carbon dioxide emission will take place while constructing and maintaining the city.

Paradigm 5 Environmental Symbiotic City

So far human beings have used many kinds of natural resources on earth for themselves. As the number of human beings rapidly increased, the situation has worsened and living things such as animals, plants and so on are diminishing on earth because nature is disappearing. It is apparent that we must let nature grow again now. So we suggest holding large amounts of rainwater in the middle of the city and creating numerous reservoirs near city areas also. The idea of building a large reservoir in urban areas is tantamount to building a "dam" in the cities rather than at upstream sites by destructing forests which allow many animals and other life to exist. We should construct the minimum numbers of dams at a distance while at the same time, have "dams" in many possible lower-lying sites separately, including even in the middle of the city. With abundant water resources becoming available inside cities, it would be possible to create a new water area environment (biotope) that many types of animals including fish, plants and so on and producing an earth-friendly, sustainable urban community to contribute to biodiversity on earth, as well.

Paradigm 6 Market Principles

Waterfront urban residences based upon floating units had more than enough asset value. Here the emphasis is that the economic standpoint for this scheme differs completely from those standpoints of conventional public works, with urban construction taking place by using private funds from capitalists in the commercial base and developers introduced to realized the floating urban communities where the asset value rises along the waterfront. Then the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme can be applied to the operational structure of building the floating urban complex. Namely the construction takes place based upon private funds being introduced for the floating urban communities whose asset value rises. It is in addition possible to recoup the construction costs along the waterfront through an area usage fee after construction together with the economic ripple effect in favor of this area.

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