Welcome to the year 2050, welcome to my city – or should I say, ‘my community’. Our community is joined together with many others, each one is shaped like a ring with our boats in the middle to keep them safe in all kinds of weather.
Samantha is 17 and lives in a floating city with her parents
I live on a Seastead, or rather a community of them, which all connect to form a floating city. It might sound strange, but people have been trying to build floating cities for a long time. Venice was once a marsh. Hundreds of years ago, the Netherlands consisted of many basins that were drained and they often were filled with floating houses, this is still true to this day. Even Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztec Empire was built on an island, and extensions of the city were constructed on rafts around the island in the protected waters of the lake. Several other floating cities inside lakes were known to have existed in Peru during the days of the Incan Empire. But Seasteads are a little different than that.
But today’s world is different. After the founding of the Seasteading Institute, great strides were made in ocean technology. In a floating city, every level does something different. The top level of my home is the array of solar panels that power my appliances, refrigerator, microwave, computer, and lighting. We don’t need as much power as houses do on land because we pull up cold water from the deep for air conditioning. Everyone here produces more electricity than they consume during the day, which means that me and my family are net exporters of green energy. Instead of getting a monthly bill for electricity, we get a monthly check as that resource is shifted around the city to those who need it. Some of it is stored to be used later at night. Our community is self-sufficient in that way. We also have a source of green energy from the ocean itself, There are big OTEC generators that run silently at night, providing us with energy when we otherwise would have little. They use the temperature difference between the surface water and the water from the ocean floor to quietly produce electricity.
Below that is the road. We don’t pay taxes for road service, we just have private road companies come in and do road repairs for much less money. The Home Owner’s Association offers us free road repairs if we need them, but some people want to buy services from larger road companies that take care of roads all around the city.
Under the roadway we have a layer of soundproofing, and then our living room, dining room, and kitchen. Our house has two floors and is about 2,000 square feet. It is made out of Seasteading Cement so it will last about 200 years before it needs any maintenance. The lower floor of our home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, our desalinator, and a recreational room. That is when my parents bought me a pinball machine for my 14th birthday. I still love to play with that machine! So do my friends when they come over.
One of my friend’s parents worked for an immigration corporation, they get paid in ARK and that is where they have most of their savings. They help people get settled into their new life here in the ocean. Most people here keep their money in ARK or Bitcoin, but if you go to the grocery store they will accept any kind of cryptocurrency. Three months ago I started my first job, I put away $300 worth of BTC for myself and today I saw that it is worth about $310. I remember when my parents were both in their 30s. They had just moved here and sometimes we still struggled, but since much of our cryptocurrency is deflationary and so our savings don’t evaporate over time, they were able to both retire in their late 40s. Eventually, they got bored of having nothing to do though. They both still work part-time now, but they set their hours.
We don’t need to work to keep food on the table though. We produce more than we need to feed ourselves, just like with electricity. Below our house is the spars. The spars are the big columns that our house sits on, I have to get on a boat to go down and see them. We have a big net that wraps around them to keep the fish and squid on our farm. Every week people from the fishing company we subscribe to come and harvest some of our fish, we can have some if we want, but we usually just take the paycheck instead. We do the same thing with the seaweed that grows from the lines on the side of the spars. When my parents bought the house, they decided to get extra long seaweed lines, so our house produces about double what our neighbors do. Sometimes when I am having sushi at my favorite restaurant, I wonder if the seaweed it is wrapped in came from my house, or at least from my street. I wonder the same things about the pearls on the necklace my mother bought me. Below our fish farm is our oyster farm, and we have a family friend who likes to scuba dive and takes care of that for us. He sells the pearls to jewelry suppliers, but most people just grow clams instead. It was my mother who always wanted to grow oysters, and sometimes she and my father scuba dive down together just to look at them.
At times, I wonder ‘If we make everything for ourselves already, why don’t we just detach from the city and drift away’? But then the thought makes me sad. I wouldn’t want to leave all my friends behind. That must be why most people choose to live in the city; there are live events, celebrity appearances, and things you can’t get out in open water. Some people still need to work to get by too of course, but they are usually new arrivals from the land nations. Most people who grew up here work part-time because that is all you need to live comfortably, we don’t need to work a full-time job unless it is for status.
I know that there are some people out there over the horizon who decide to live away from the city, and that is their choice. But I can rest easy at night knowing that all of my family is safe, even my Uncle Roger who lives in the open water. He used to have to come to the city all the time for medical treatment and cancer screenings, but thanks to the new medicines we have developed here he doesn’t have to take those long trips anymore. I hope to go out there and visit him and his family soon. They tend to live in smaller communities. He used to live near Panama where over 3 million people are living in the city, but these days they prefer to stick to smaller communities of just a few hundred.
My parents told me all kinds of stories about growing up on land, I have never been there, but on my 18th birthday, they said they were going to take me back to America and show me where they grew up. I’m so excited, I can hardly wait!