The migration to cities is happening at an extremely fast pace, leading to overcrowding in towns and cities. The lack of employment, dwindling profits from farming and the allure of life in the city draws people to them. Though cities are expanding, it’s not enough to provide homes for all, especially in cities which are based in coastal areas and riverbanks. Traditionally, there have been some communities which have lived on floating homes, vis-a-vis houseboats. But there are now some unique floating home concepts which have been developed to combat the problem of overcrowding and to fight the rising sea/river levels. Let’s take a look at some floating home solutions and discover whether floating homes can be used as a viable housing alternative worldwide:
Types of floating homes
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There are two types of floating homes –
Homes that float permanently in lakes and rivers;
Homes which float when there are flooding and the water swells, but otherwise sit on the ground when the season is dry.
Affordable housing alternative
Housing prices in urban areas have risen astronomically, making housing unaffordable for many people. Owning a home of their own has become an almost unattainable dream for many city dwellers. Floating homes, therefore, seem to be an affordable and plausible alternative, for urban developers, planners, and citizens.
Aquatic homes in the Netherlands
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Most of Netherlands is surrounded by water and the country has a lot of inland canals and rivers too. The land mass is less and is getting even more reduced due to the rising sea levels, and the future does not look bright for development in the sea. Floating homes are a necessity in Netherlands, rather than a lifestyle choice. As the country is protected by dikes, it has made it easier to design and execute whole communities on water, which have all the facilities.
According to Dutch authorities, 500,000 homes will be required within two decades. To meet this demand, Netherlands is encouraging floating homes, and there are already thousands of them. These range from pretty converted barges as well as modern floating communities in Amsterdam’s IJburg district.
Floating Seahorse homes in Dubai
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A far cry from Amsterdam’s affordable floating homes are the aquatic homes of Dubai, which number among the priciest homes in the world. Floating Seahorse has three storeys and the fascinating feature of this floating building is that the submerged bedrooms’ offer panoramic views of the Persian Gulf.
Permits and licenses
Earlier, it was difficult to obtain permissions, insurance, bank loans etc for floating homes as there no precedents. But with time, municipalities are more supportive and many legalities have been worked out, including taxes, and floating homes are a source of revenue to local governments.
Practical floating homes
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For 99% percent of people, Floating Seahorse like homes is not the solution. The solution is practical yet modern homes, which are charming as well. Some of these have been designed to mimic the waves, and have spell-binding contours.
Previously, many houseboats were built on barges, but new floating homes are built on concrete tubs which are much more stable. They are built from composite materials and can be modular with the scope to remove or add more rooms when required.
They’re also made placing blocks of foam under the house. Guideposts keep the home fixed as it rises with the rising water and also as it moves down when the water recedes.
The lack of land space to accommodate people on land has made it a necessity to develop residences on water. As of now, floating homes are being built for high net worth individuals, but soon, as they become a necessity than a fad, prices are also going to drop.