There was once a concern that as the world population grew food production per person would drop, and the world would enter a global starvation mode. Many alarmist predictions about the end of the world due to global hunger consumed the media for decades. This was called the ‘Population Bomb’ myth, and it sometimes lead to dangerous government policy proposals. Today we now know that our fears at that time were exaggerated, but that is not to say that overpopulation doesn’t exist, or isn’t a problem. Overpopulation does have real-world effects, from increased food costs to increased housing costs, bloating in public transportation systems, public healthcare systems, and so on. Solutions to all of these problems do exist of course, but they are far from simple. Housing costs have been skyrocketing all over the world in recent years. This has led to higher rates of permanent renters, higher rates of homelessness, and general financial insecurity and unease. The problems are even worse in developing countries and other areas outside the United States.
Manila, the capital of the Philippines is the most densely populated city on planet Earth, and also near the location where Arktide intends to build its first prototype. In 2018, the Philippines had a population of 106,651,922 people. With its 1.72 percent average population growth rate, the Philippine population is projected to reach 142 million by 2045. With about 21.6 percent of the Philippine population living below the national poverty line based on a 2015 survey, life for the poorest of the poor, especially for those living in big cities, could likely get worse.
Overpopulation exacerbates many social and environmental factors, including overcrowded living conditions, pollution, malnutrition, and inadequate or nonexistent health care, which wreak havoc on the poor and increase their likelihood of being exposed to infectious diseases.
Overpopulation is not only limited to developing countries, in Tokyo the average population density is 6,363 people per square kilometer, as a result, the average price of a single-family home in the city is about $570,000. In Singapore, the population density is 7,810 per kilometer and in the City of Manila, the population density reaches an astounding 73,920 people per square kilometer.
In Singapore the average condo cost is $1,080,000 and a house will run you about $2,777,000 in many parts of the city-state. Even in the Philippines, many homes can cost hundreds of thousands, which is far above the average income in developing countries.
Seasteading allows us the unique opportunity to expand our livable space past the land that we would be otherwise limited to. By increasing our livable area, and constructing dwellings and businesses at sea, we are replicating the ‘land reclamation’ efforts that many coastal nations participate in today. Both Singapore and the Netherlands for example have no place to expand but directly into the ocean, and do so at great expense by draining the water from shallow areas to construct new human habitats. But by accepting the water and building with it instead of against it, we can develop more sustainable and long-term solutions, as well as more cost-effective ones.
Many of the world’s most densely populated cities are in fact coastal, this isn’t a coincidence, 2/3rds of the world’s population lives near the ocean, as it is the source of trade, commerce, and a food resource for many. In Africa, the two most densely populated cities are Mogadishu, Somalia at 26,800 people per square kilometer, and Asmara, Eritrea at 21,400 per kilometer. Even in America, the most densely populated city is the capital of Haiti at 27,395 people per kilometer. All of these locations are both coastal and in developing countries.
In all of these cases, expanding out into the water would provide a quick, easy, and cost-effective solution to the problem of overpopulation. Seasteads not only provide additional housing where none existed before but also produce their food as we have mentioned in previous blog posts.
Seasteads have so much value to society, that they can help coastal areas that are not suffering from overpopulation. Some cities have experienced exponential increases in the cost of real estate over the past decade which has far outpaced population growth. This is often caused by over-regulation, rigid zoning laws, or economic factors. In the last year in California, the price of homes have gone up over 22% putting the average cost of home ownership at $775,000, the highest of any state in America. The problem is even worse in urban areas. It is not a coincidence then that California alone contains almost 50% of the homeless population in the entirety of the United States.
In Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, the average home price clocks in at an astounding $924,000 while the average income is lower than what is typically found in California. Seasteads can theoretically be built for less than $250,000 per home when produced at scale and with some minor advances in material science. With this information in mind, we can see that the ocean is our future. With the help of seasteading, we can create nearly unlimited food, affordable housing, and commercial space, all while doing it cheaper and safer than on land.