Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Seasteading Institute

The following was found at CNN.com

A floating city off the coast of San Francisco may sound like science fiction, but it could be reality in the not-too-distant future.

The Seasteading Institute already has drawn up plans for the construction of a homestead on the Pacific Ocean.

One project engineer described the prototype as similar to a cruise ship, but from a distance the cities might look like oil-drilling platforms.

According to the plans, the floating cities would not only look different from their land-based counterparts, but they might operate differently, too.

Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer who now works for the Seasteading Institute, said floating cities are the perfect places to experiment with new forms of government.

Some of the new political ideas the group is tossing around include legalizing marijuana and making intellectual property communal -- so that everyone would take ownership in art produced on the city at sea.

"The idea isn't just about getting away from rules or getting rid of rules. It's about a system that encourages experimentation with different political systems," he said.


Friedman said the floating city may be built in modular pieces so that city blocks and neighborhoods can be recombined to create new urban layouts.

The idea of building cities on the sea is not new, he said, but the Seasteading Institute has come closer to realizing the goal than others.

"A lot of people over the past hundred plus years have had this idea and even specifically building cities on the ocean to try out new forms of government," he said. "But they've pretty much been totally imagined and if they did try, they totally failed."

There are several unknowns about future attempts to create floating cities, said Christian Cermelli, an engineer and architect with Marine Innovation and Technology, based in San Francisco.

Cermelli, who is part of a team of designers creating a blueprint for the first seastead, said it's unclear if construction is possible -- or what it would cost.

Still, a prototype for the idea may be finished in as little as three years, he said.

Friedman said seasteads are loosely based on oil rigs, but with important modifications.


You can read the rest of the article at this link:
Sea


Here are some pictures:



Here is more information:
A Brief Introduction to the Seasteading Institute

What is "Seasteading"?
Seasteading means to create permanent dwellings on the ocean - homesteading the high seas. A seastead, like in the picture above, is a structure meant for permanent occupation on the ocean

Why would you want to do that?
Because the world needs a new frontier, a place where those who are dissatisfied with our current civilization can go to build a different (and hopefully better) one.

Currently, it is very difficult to experiment with alternative social systems on a small scale. Countries are so enormous that it is hard for an individual to make much difference. Seasteaders believe that government shouldn't be like the cellphone or operating system industries, with few choices and high customer-lock-in. Instead, they envision something more like web 2.0, where many small governments serve many niche markets, a dynamic system where small groups experiment, and everyone copies what works, discards what doesn't, and remixes the remainder to try again.

Think about all the hot air and argumentation about a whole host of different political issues - freedom vs. security, absolute wealth vs. inequality, strong family vs. tolerance, open vs. closed borders, whatever the topic du jour is. Instead of deciding them through rhetoric, or voting on a few representatives to decide them for tens or hundreds of millions of people at once, imagine if we could try them each on a small scale and see what happens. If people could create societies with different priorities - the environment, civil liberties, economic freedom, religious values - we'd be able to see how well these ideas actually work in practice. In some cases, certain approaches will work so well (or terribly) that everyone (or no one) will use them too. In others, it will turn out to be a matter of preference, in which case we'll be giving people the choice to choose to live in whatever small society is closest to their ideal.

In short, we seasteaders are people who, whatever our ideals, want to stop arguing about them, stop proselytizing them, and start living them. And it looks like homesteading the oceans is our best opportunity.


You can find more information at the Seasteading Institute website. Here is the link: Institute

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 5:21 PM   0 comments links to this post

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