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Blutopia: Life in the Underwater City of San Diego

This project predicts the future of 100 super-ecofriendly cities across the globe -- as though they have survived climate change and gone on to flourish anew. Today, we highlight the future of San Diego, California.

By the early 22nd century, the rising seas produced by climate change may drown the beachy coast of the American city of San Diego and erode much of the city's seaward suburbs. This would make living and working there so troublesome and risky that many residents might well venture to move to a more constant environment underwater just offshore.

San Diego in the future

San Diego 2121

In this scenario of the future, a suburb of San Diego is resurrected as an underwater city in 2121AD. Such an underwater neighborhood takes advantage of the technology fashioned and perfected over many decades of oceanic exploration as well as from the experience of the San Diego-based US Navy submarine fleet. In this design, vertical strands of submerged pod-homes are tethered onto the rocky sea floor using interlinked cables connected to robust holdfasts -- whilst the upper level pod-homes bob gently at the surface. This oceanic architecture is inspired by and mimics the great kelp forests of the Californian coast.

The creation of such a sea bound community will be an expensive enterprise. However, there is commercial impetus from the growth of the seaweed bio-fuel industry which by the early 22nd Century may serve to fully replace the extinct fossil fuel industry.

For more information, see: The Role of Ecomimicry in Ecotopia 2121 or the Ecotopia 2121 book.

See also this fun review of San Diego 2121 on the Italian TV Show Piazza Pulita...

If you wish for some technical details of this design, you might note the submarine pod-homes of San Diego 2121 can recycle wastewater; much as submarines and spacecraft do today when they filter and re-filter bodily liquids and dirty wash-water.

As well, food waste can be reprocessed to create energy by composting it in a communal compost pod. The biogas that is produced can then be transported via the cables and tubes that hold the pod-homes together. As well, electrical energy can be created from the capturing and conversion of wave energy and underwater currents and -- for pod-homes nearest the surface -- from solar power. If the energy produced is more than the energy consumed, then the submarine communities can sell excess electricity to the surviving land-based suburbs of the San Diego.

Residents of San Diego 2121 can live and breath normally since the cables that connect a strand of pod-homes together can pump in and / or recycle oxygen brought from the surface. This is a mixture of old-style deep sea diver technology and new-style spacecraft technology.

Within the submarine pods, people can move around in standard attire since the cabins are maintained at sea-level pressure. They can also use airlocks to move from pod to pod, or from pod to submarine taxi, equalizing the pressure before transfer. It is possible, also, to use a personal underwater propeller-pack, but this will require a special suit and only allow residents to go outside to 'swim' or 'dive' if they stay at roughly the same depth.

Food will primarily be algae-based. This might sound a little boring but you can make all sorts of yummy dishes out of algae -- from veggie-burgers to ice cream.

As for communications, by 2121 people will have been weened off the internet and have better things to do, such as communicating with the brilliant non-humans that also live in California's sea: the whales and dolphins, the seals, the otters -- and also the various octopus and fish. As humans begin their communications with marine mammals, a transformational step-change in human life will occur. People will suddenly be exposed to a multi-species way of looking at the universe, having their worlds and minds expanded and broadened in unforeseen ways. The animal world will start to look way more interesting and intriguing than the boring, uncreative, and narrow-minded AI-robot machines that human engineers have constructed over the past 100 years.

So is this design for San Diego 2121 a serious suggestion for climate change adaptation? Or a warning of the drastic changes that humanity must endure if it fails to manage greenhouse gases? Perhaps it is both.

Green Cities book


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