People are seen at their floating homes on Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia on April 2, 2015. (Kaley Portier/Flickr).
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Here’s a really interesting adaptation project in Nicaragua. As a specialist, I’ve seen countless “floating architecture” schemes over the years. Hardly one seemed viable over the long term, except this one.
The most famous floating home scheme is a project in New Orleans headed by actor Brad Pitt. With the help of famous architects and friends, Pitt helped build about 150 hurricane-proof homes in a vulnerable neighborhood in New Orleans. The media uncritically promotes the projects. A handful of the hurricane proof homes have the ability to “float” if water rises far enough.
It’s a sexy idea - what better way (besides not living in a flood zone) to fight hurricanes and flooding than to build tough structures that float? Very alluring, but is it viable? Consider that nearly 900,000 homes were destroyed by one event in 2005, Hurricane Katrina. Not to mention the countless millions of structures that were just plain lucky. Pitt’s 150 homes and a handful of inspired architects does not a safe-city make.
To me, CO2 Bambu’s floating home schemes is different. They’re targeting a smaller population. And the homes at risk are (frankly speaking) no more than wooden huts, making them cheaply replaceable. CO2 Bambu’s solution is to use the same local materials, but in a way that allows the homes to be stronger and last longer. Unlike Pitt’s project, which affects a very small real estate niche, these homes in Nicaragua can scale-up to the population size.
So, to me, their project seems more realistic and quite viable.
Video: Floods force nearly 1,000 residents in the Malacatoya river basin to evacuate nearly every year. And every year their homes and farms are severely damaged. Yet, the residents always move back to rebuild their homes.
A non-profit called CO2 Bambu is helping those residents adapt to the floods by building affordable homes that float.
This was another world. The docks and ramps intertwined like alleys and lanes, on ramps and off ramps. Some homes were for story book characters, some needed extra love. But they all had tons of charm. And I wanted one!