Posted by: nedpelger | March 17, 2009

Bored? Design a Floating City Block

With the continued challenges of consumer confidence and bank financing, many folks in construction are looking for work these days. If you are one of those souls looking for a job that’s rather hard to find, here’s a wierd idea for you to think about. Win $1,000 by submitting the best design concept for a 400′ x 400′ platform that floats on the ocean. The photo below illustrates the basic structure.

seastead_platform

Wouldn’t that be fun to help build? Can you imagine a bunch of these floating city blocks out in the ocean? What would you put on it? Well, that’s the basic question of the Seastead Design Contest.  A Seastead is a permanently floating platform that lets people settle the ocean as they do the land. The sample photo below gives one sense of what could be done.

seastead_sample_design

The options can overwhelm. Patri Friedman, the Institute’s co-founder, spoke at a conference in San Francisco last fall and, “notes that some enterprises – like euthanasia clinics – would incense local authorities, but almost all the ideas attendees [at that conference] come up with would capitalize on activities that skirt existing laws and regulations: Fish farming and aquaculture. Prisons. Med schools. Gold warehouses. Brothels. Cryonics intakes. Gene therapy, cloning, augmentation, and organ sales. Baby farms. Deafeningly loud concerts. Rehab/detox clinics. Zen retreats. Abortion clinics. Ultimate ultimate fighting tournaments.”

I suggest entering the contest a bit facetiously, since most of us don’t know how to use 3D drawing software. As I was researching this post, though, I came across Google SketchUp and Google 3D Warehouse. These are both amazingly powerful and free.

If you are out of work, consider learning how to use these programs. You can have some fun, maybe get something productive done, and learn some valuable skills. If you give these a try, let me know how it works for you.

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