Will this Dutch developer extend shorelines all over the world?

A new resort development will bring built islands, floating housing, and golf courses to the Maldives. Will the technology also have a socially meaningful impact?

Greenstar convention center and hotel

Start with the rich, get rich, then give to the poor seems to be the motto for a massive new resort venture in the Maldives.

The idyllic set of islands currently sit only five feet above sea level. But Dutch Docklands, a developer from the Netherland's in collaboration with the local government, is using the threat of climate change as an incentive, not something to sweep under the rug.

The proposal? private floating islands and luxurious villas tailored to withstand climate change. The price? Upwards of $10 million.

Other amenities include an 18-hole golf course, the "Greenstar" hotel and convention centre, and the "Ocean Flower", 185 "Water H2Omes" built side by side in the shape of a typical Maldivian Flower (which incidentally looks strangely like suburban America).

"The price isn’t cheap," writes Ben Schiller of Co.Exist. "The villas start at $1 million, and "palaces" on the golf course will cost more than $10 million."

Ocean Flower water H2Omes

But Docklands’ CEO Paul van de Camp and his architect-partner Koen Olthuis have a vision that goes beyond the collective climate-induced anxieties of the rich. At least, they say they do.

"It’s not only for climate change. It’s good because [local residents] don’t have enough space," Docklands’ CEO Paul van de Camp says. "Building islands is a better option than reclaiming land, which would be a disaster for the coral reefs and the fish. The government wants to protect the marine environment."

Koen Olthuis has identified 20 major urban low-income areas where he thinks a low-cost version of the technology could be applied, including places in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and India.

The firm has already received dozens of inquires from cities hoping to extend their shoreline.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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