Urban Design Parmeters in a Seastead Environment

(Isabelle Cabrera) #1

I’m working on a thesis with Urban Design subjects. Could anybody shed some light re principles of design in an environment very different from that of the land such as the ocean or other bodies of water?

(Larry G) #2

For community spaces or internal living space? We have lots of ideas around here. Some based on experience and research, some on complete flights of fancy.

For internal living space design parameters, start with health and safety. The Ship Classification societies have published minimum standards for off-shore accommodations. (There are more updated versions available).

Additionally consider that the ocean environment has its own natural ecosystem stuff, but we can’t natively participate in it to any great extent. We require equipment and accommodation to live there, so effectively, it is entirely “built” environment. It will need some planning to emulate natural environment and give people the beneficial psychological effect that natural environment conveys.

See also: http://seasteadingorg.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Feb2011_Report_p1.pdf

(Larry G) #3


Hi Isabelle,

I think that for now we can only speak of urban design for very small seasteading villages or settlements.

So, instead of dealing with larger scale of groups of buildings, streets and public spaces, whole neighborhoods and districts and entire cities with the goal of making urban areas functional, attractive, and sustainable, the task at hand is much, much simpler.

Even so, I do believe that the urban design theory as an inter-disciplinary subject that utilizes elements of architecture, real estate development, economics, political economy and social theory, making connections between people and places, nature, environmental stewardship, social equity and economic viability into the creation of places with distinct beauty and identity, etc. will stay more or less the same.

But, the main difference is that the seasteading “canvas” is floating. Therefore, all “weight” (buildings, water, waste and fuel tanks, generators, public spaces, etc.) HAVE to be evenly distributed on the seastead according to what in naval architecture is called ship stability.

Otherwise, the seastead will be floating heeled at all times (at best) or possibly capsize (at worst)

Therefore, seasteading urban design will be, more or less, quite “symmetrical” in nature.

(.) #5

Big waves. I guess you can watch videos of boats in big waves on youtube.
Or you can sail out and experience them. Or both. It depends how seasick you get.

Open ocean environment is more independent, but more waves and wind.
A community would be different in a sheltered water compared to open ocean.
Both can be done at the same time. And boat can be used for transportation in between.

You can also go to a marina where there is live aboard and observe the dynamics of
social interactions. Out there on the water, social dynamics is different too.
When people sail out from the harbor, on a boat the social dynamics changes.

Some people become bossier. They automatically assume the captains position.
Two captains on one boat, out there in open waters is not good. Some attitudes that are
beneficial out there seems flaky on land. The good news is there is always a skipper,
who owns the boat, and the skipper can tell who is going with him or her on that boat.

That kind of dynamics dominates the “life aquatic”.

(Theodore M. Amenta) #6

I can offer you some subjective specifics and also some sources: Specifics:

1.) people walk at 200’ per minute - thus “walkable,” a positive urban context might be 8 to 10 minutes from the center —worth walking for a cup of coffee.
2.) “Cone of vision” during the Renaissance architects came to realize that the human eye focuses on a horizontal vision —thus building heights that contain a space in a square are at a specific ratio to the size of the plaza.
3.) Human density, measured in FAR, coverage, height, is directly correlated to a sense of place and the land economics of cities.
4.) Public spaces are like the space between the sounds between the notes in music no spaces no music just noise.
5.) Visit Project for Public Spaces and read “Holly White.” — Ted

(Bob LLewellyn) #7

Someone once used the term Sea Gypsies for people who lived on boats. There may have been someone in charge but it never showed. I enjoyed evenings when someone would brake out a guitar and I would play along on the harmonica and maybe a couple would sing or just listen as the soft serenity of the waves lapping against the sides of the boat and the music would drift over the water like a cloud.

There is always a light show under the stars but when Christmas comes around, the boaters light up the night with their decorated boats. No one designed that, it is just what comes from the heart, and that’s what you will find out there.

Also, you will need everything sheltered. The sun can be very cruel for the unprepared. The water reflects ultra violet so you get hit from the top and sides. Cover the top and use the refracted light from the sides to see with. The temperature on the water is cooler than on land. Water absorbs infra red. It sort of acts like a solar battery, absorbs the heat when it is hot out and gives it off again when the nights turn cool.

Larry asked what would people move for. I have one answer, peace, probably a type of peace unknown by the masses today. A soul calming peace that stays with you, becomes part of you. A healing peace that is un-explainable in a logical universe. I don’t know what it is our where it comes from. I will be very interested in seeing how you will factor these intangibles into your design. I hope you will share your project with the rest of us, when its done of course.

(.) #8

An open ocean environment would probably need a thing similar to the flip ship. I would guess a hexagonal tube with a hemisphere on the top.
The structure could be ballasted up and down to decrease the effect of waves.
( the picture is not ment to be a double entendre ).

Un environnement océan ouvert aurait probablement besoin d’une chose semblable au flip ship. Je devine un tube hexagonal avec un hémisphère sur le dessus.
La structure pourrait être balayée vers le haut et vers le bas pour diminuer l’effet des ondes.

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The Quality of Complexity:

(Hervé Le Bayon) #13

Bonjours je découvre le cite et les différents aspects des projets. Je suis de votre avis des cellules hexagonale de type tubulaire offre énormément d’avantage et de modularité ! Merci a tout les personnes qui favoriseront un projets respectueux des écosystèmes et qui valoriserons le biomimétisme !

(.) #14

Bonjour et bienvenue dans le forum de la seasteading.
La convivialité (respectueux des écosystèmes), et le biomimisme
(le biomimétisme) sont très importants.
Merci pour votre commentaire.

Hello and welcome to the forum of steasteading.
Eco friendliness and biomimicry are very important.
Thank you for your post.

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(Theodore M. Amenta) #17

Isabella ---- What is the status of your Urban Design thesis? I offered thoughts concerning human interaction in geometry. I think I might have missed the response. Let me offer a second level of design principals — Floor Area Ratio (FAR) — What is the human density of your urban design. 1 floor? 10 floors? 100 floors?. What is your coverage ratio? 10% public space? 30% public space for parks and streets? — I encourage you to respond. Where are you doing your thesis? — Ted

(Isabelle Cabrera) #18

Hi, Ted. Thank you so much for your comments. Apologies I was not able to respond immediately. I will be on leave from work from June 24 until the 30th and will reply in detail re progress of thesis and the topic in general. I’m working online with a company in Dubai.(Environmental Graphics design) while taking Master’s Degree in Architecture in University of San Carlos, Philippines. By the way, in case you are in need of some apprentice on works related to Urban Design and Architecture, I can volunteer after I finish my studies March of 2018. Thanks and talk to you soon.

(Isabelle Cabrera) #19

Hi Ted,

If you are interested, I would like to send you a draft of my thesis. It is the first draft so a lot of mistakes or disorganized thoughts.

(Isabelle Cabrera) #20

Thanks for your reply. I have yet to go through those link. As with my thesis, its still on its first draft. Extract as follows:

As to its contribution to the field of architecture and urban design, it should be noted that through time and practice, Architecture, though designed to be structurally stable, aesthetically pleasing, and mostly serving for the comfort and needs of people quite efficiently, had always been static, rigid and monumental. This study shall introduce another set of elemental properties that should necessarily be embedded within the scope of architectural practice. Among these qualities are, resilience, self-sufficiency, flexibility to suit the demands changing times, and its ability to accommodate current and emerging technologies with lesser constraints as compared to that of a terrestrial setting of buildings and open spaces. With this, comes a chance for Architectural Studies to collaborate closely if not to merge entirely with other major disciplines of engineering and social studies thus, employing an absolute “Generalist” approach to solutions in the design and engineering processes. Architecture shall merge for example, with Marine and Ocean Engineering for the structural stability; with Marine Biology with respect to the need of protection for the very sensitive Marine environment and organisms. It shall merge quite naturally with the practice of Naval Architecture for the solution of a more efficient use of spaces and for travel distances and mobility, (vehicular and pedestrian-wise.) It shall merge likewise with the study of Aquaculture and Mari culture as it aims to be self-sufficient- with less reliance or completely without reliance on the products produced in the mainland. Very importantly, it aims for the production of its own power supply through harvesting of renewable energy, thus it merges with the most innovative ideas in energy generation and consumption as well as the production of potable water supply and waste management technologies. To obtain these, it is important to apply as it is likely more possible to experiment with new economic models such as the Knowledge-based Economy, Resource-based Economy and Circular Economy which shall be introduced in the next chapters.