It's not a new idea. "The World
" was originally envisioned (IIRC) as a more of a man-made island, a sovereign nation free to travel outside any other nation's territorial waters. In the end it got scaled back to be just another cruise ship
that happens to offer condo-like pricing on its cabins.
I remember old magazine articles (Popular Science?) that showed lawns, golf courses, full-service marinas
, helipads, etc., all on a floating, movable platform. A more upscale version of the Water World habitation, if you will.
In the end the economics and politics are probably insurmountable.
If you're 3+ NM off the US coast, you're typically in federal waters, which means federal permits. You could do like the Chinese did and stake claim to some shallows somewhere, but it would likely be considered part of some country's territory or exclusionary economic zone.
Floating in unclaimed mid-ocean would mean you'd have to build on a massive scale to withstand storms and waves. Look what happens to oil platforms every time a hurricane
I'd love to see it happen. I'm thinking you'd need some sort of modular design to allow individual flotation sections to be raised for cleaning
, repair and replacement. An interesting engineering problem. If it's big enough to withstand storms, it would have to be either impossibly stiff, or the floating "foundation" would have to flex with the waves without stressing structures above. I can picture a few ways of doing this, but I'm no expert.
The economics might work if it became a sovereign nation and favorable tax haven. Sort of a floating Switzerland, with enough wealthy folks from enough countries, each having a personal stake in its success.
If we continue at the current
rate of population growth, it's bound to happen. But that's a big "if". There are a lot of known, and probably more than a few unknown, factors that may constrain that growth at some point.