One of my favorite blogs, BLDGBLOG, had a interesting post yesterday about seasteading, that is “creat(ing) permanent dwellings on the ocean – homesteading the high seas.” Deep-water city-states (May 19, 2008 )
What interests me here, aside from the architectural challenge of erecting a durable, ocean-going metropolis, is the fact that this act of construction – this act of building something – has constitutional implications. That is, architecture here proactively expands the political bounds of recognized sovereignty; architecture becomes declarative.
The stakes for design have gone up, in other words. It’s not just a question of producing better loft apartments, for which you can charge an extra $300,000, or of perfecting the art of luxury kitchen space; it’s a question of designing architecture for extreme conditions and, should your architecture survive, thus opening up room for a new form of what might be called post-terrestrial sovereignty, i.e. governance freed from landed terrain.
BLDGBLOG’s interest was piqued by an article that Alexis Madgridal wrote for Wired entitled Peter Thiel Makes Down Payment on Libertarian Ocean Colonies (May 19, 2008 ) Thiel and some of his friends seem to be pretty serious about this: they’ve put their hard cash on the table to fund The Seasteading Institute and they’ve written a 300 page how to guide which in the open source spirit is freely downloadable here in case you’re one of those DIY types.
Google’s Patri Friedman, the grandson of Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, is the executive director of The Seasteading Institute.
Friedman estimates that it would cost a few hundred million dollars to build a seastead for a few thousand people. With costs that low, Friedman can see constellations of cities springing up, giving people a variety of governmental choices. If misguided policies arose, citizens could simply motor to a new nation.
“You can change your government without having to leave your house,” he said.
Wonder if these guys have watched this movie a few too many times.
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