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seasteading.org, sea steading institute
Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government The term is a combination of the words sea and homesteading

Seasteaders say such autonomous floating cities would foster faster development of techniques "to feed the hungry, cure the sick, clean the atmosphere and enrich the poor"12 Some critics fear seasteads are designed more as a refuge for the wealthy to avoid taxes or other problems34

Proposed structures have included modified cruise ships, refitted oil platform, a decommissioned anti-aircraft platform, and custom-built floating islands5 No one has yet created a state on the high seas that has been recognized as a sovereign state

As an intermediate step, the Seasteading Institute has promoted cooperating with an existing nation to prototype floating islands that are legally semi-autonomous within the nation's protected territorial waters On January 13, 2017, the Seasteading Institute signed a memorandum of understanding MOU with French Polynesia to create the first semi-autonomous "seazone" The "seazone" will be the location of a prototype seastead designed by marine engineering firm Blue 2167


  • 1 History
  • 2 The Seasteading Institute
    • 21 Progress
      • 211 The Floating City Project
  • 3 Blue Frontiers
  • 4 Design proposals
    • 41 Cruise ships
    • 42 Spar platform
    • 43 Modular island
    • 44 Monolithic island
  • 5 Other projects
    • 51 Sea Orbiter
    • 52 Blueseed
  • 6 Criticism
  • 7 Conferences
  • 8 In popular culture
  • 9 See also
  • 10 References
  • 11 External links


Many architects and firms have created designs for floating cities, including Vincent Callebaut,89 Paolo Soleri10 and companies such as Shimizu and E Kevin Schopfer11

Marshall Savage discussed building tethered artificial islands in his 1992 book The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps, with several color plates illustrating his ideas

Other historical predecessors and inspirations for seasteading include:

  • Ocean-going cruise ships, often described as "floating cities"
  • Oil rigs
  • The Principality of Sealand, a micronation formed on a decommissioned sea fort near Suffolk, England12
  • Smaller floating islands in protected waters, such as Richart Sowa's Spiral Island
  • Floating communities, such as the Uru people on Lake Titicaca, the Tanka people in Aberdeen, Hong Kong, and the Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria
  • The non-profit Women on Waves, which operates hospital ships that allow access to abortions for women in countries where abortions are subject to strict laws
  • Pirate radio stations anchored in international waters, but broadcasting to listeners on shore

At least two people independently coined the term seasteading: Ken Neumeyer in his book Sailing the Farm 1981 and Wayne Gramlich in his article "Seasteading – Homesteading on the High Seas" 199813

Gramlich’s essay attracted the attention of Patri Friedman14 The two began working together and posted their first collaborative book online in 200115 Their book explored many aspects of seasteading from waste disposal to flags of convenience This collaboration led to the creation of the non-profit The Seasteading Institute TSI in 2008

The Seasteading Instituteedit

The Seasteading Institute's "ClubStead"

On April 15, 2008, Wayne Gramlich and Patri Friedman founded the 501c3 non-profit The Seasteading Institute TSI, an organization formed to facilitate the establishment of autonomous, mobile communities on seaborne platforms operating in international waters161718

Friedman and Gramlich noted that according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a country's Exclusive Economic Zone extends 200 nautical miles 370 km from shore Beyond that boundary lie the high seas, which are not subject to the laws of any sovereign state other than the flag under which a ship sails

They proposed that a seastead could take advantage of the absence of laws and regulations outside the sovereignty of nations to experiment with new governance systems, and allow the citizens of existing governments to exit more easily

"When seasteading becomes a viable alternative, switching from one government to another would be a matter of sailing to the other without even leaving your house," said Patri Friedman at the first annual Seasteading conference161920

The Seasteading Institute TSI focused on three areas: building a community, doing research, and building the first seastead in the San Francisco Bay TSI advocated starting small, using proven technology as much as possible21

The project picked up mainstream exposure after having been brought to the attention of PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel Thiel donated $500,000 in initial seed capital to start The Seasteading Institute, and has contributed $17 million 22 in total to date He also spoke out on behalf of its viability in his essay "The Education of a Libertarian"23

As a result of Thiel's backing, TSI received widespread media attention from a variety of sources including 24 The Economist18 Business Insider,25 and BBC2627


In 2008, Friedman and Gramlich had hoped to float the first prototype seastead in the San Francisco Bay by 20102829 Plans were to launch a seastead by 2014,30 and TSI projected that the seasteading population would exceed 150 individuals in 201531 TSI did not meet these initial targets

In January 2009, the Seasteading Institute patented a design for a 200-person resort seastead, ClubStead, about a city block in size, produced by consultancy firm Marine Innovation & Technology The ClubStead design marked the first major engineering analysis in the seasteading movement183233

The Floating City Projectedit

In the spring of 2013,34 TSI launched The Floating City Project35 The project proposed to locate a floating city within the territorial waters of an existing nation, rather than the open ocean36 TSI claimed that doing so would have several advantages:

  • Easier to engineer a seastead in relatively calm, shallow waters
  • Easier for residents to travel to and from the seastead
  • Easier to acquire goods and services from existing supply chains
  • Would place a floating city within the international legal framework

In October 2013, the Institute raised $27,082 from 291 funders in a crowdfunding campaign37 TSI used the funds to hire the Dutch marine engineering firm DeltaSync38 to write an engineering study for The Floating City Project

In September 2016 the Seasteading Institute met with officials in French Polynesia39 to discuss building a prototype seastead in a sheltered lagoon Teva Rohfristch, Minister for Economic Recovery was the first to invite The Seasteading Institute to meet with government officialsThe meeting was arranged by Former Minister of Tourism, Marc Collins40

On January 13, 2017, French Polynesia Minister of Housing, Jean-Christophe Bouissou signed a memorandum of understanding MOU with TSI to create the first semi-autonomous "seazone" TSI spun off a for-profit company called "Blue Frontiers", which will build and operate a prototype seastead in the zone41 The prototype will be based on a design by marine engineering firm Blue 2167

Blue Frontiersedit

On January 13, 2017, the French Polynesian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding MOU with The Seasteading Institute to cooperate on creating legal framework to allow for the development of The Floating Island Project The legislation will give the Floating Island Project its own "special governing framework" creating an "innovative special economic zone"42

The Seasteading Institute announced the formation of a new company, Blue Frontiers, to construct the Floating Island Project4043

Design proposalsedit

Cruise shipsedit

Cruise ships are a proven technology, and address most of the challenges of living at sea for extended periods of time However, they're typically optimized for travel and short-term stay, not for permanent residence in a single location


  • Blue Seed retro-fitted cruise ship44
  • Freedom Ship45

Spar platformedit

Platform designs based on spar buoys, similar to oil platforms46 In this design, the platforms rest on spars in the shape of floating dumbbells, with the living area high above sea level Building on spars in this fashion reduces the influence of wave action on the structure32


  • TSI Clubstead33
  • Evolo retrofitted oil platform 47

Modular islandedit

András Győrfi's "The Swimming City"

There are numerous seastead designs based around interlocking modules made of reinforced concrete48 Reinforced cement is used for floating docks, oil platforms, dams, and other marine structures


  • The Floating City Project / Blue Frontiers49
  • Evolo Oceanscraper50
  • AT Design Office floating city concept51

Monolithic islandedit

A single, monolithic structure that is not intended to be expanded or connected to other modules


  • Evolo Seascraper52
  • SeaOrbiter53

Other projectsedit

Sea Orbiteredit

The SeaOrbiter is an oceangoing research vessel designed to give scientists and others a residential yet mobile research station The station will have laboratories, workshops, living quarters and a pressurized deck to support divers and submarines It is headed by French architect Jacques Rougerie, oceanographer Jacques Piccard and astronaut Jean-Loup Chretien The cost is expected to be around $527 million53


Blueseed was a company aiming to float a ship near Silicon Valley to serve as a visa-free startup community and entrepreneurial incubator Blueseed founders Max Marty and Dario Mutabdzija met when both were employees of The Seasteading Institute The project planned to offer living and office space, high-speed Internet connectivity, and regular ferry service to the mainland5444 but as of 2014 the project is "on hold"555444


Criticisms have been leveled at both the practicality and desirability of seasteading These can be broken down into governmental, logistical, and societal categories

Critics believe that creating governance structures from scratch is a lot harder than it seems56 Additionally, seasteads would still be at risk of political dominance at the hands of nation states18

On a logistical level, Seasteads could be too remote, and not offer sufficient amenities such as access to culture, restaurants, shopping to be attractive to potential residents18 It is also possible that seasteads can't be built to withstand open ocean conditions in an economical fashion5618

Seasteads may cause environmental damage from visual pollution, resource extraction, and waste production Some critics believe that Seasteads will exploit both residents and the local population, though it this is purely hypothetical56 Some believe that Seasteads exist primarily to allow wealthy individuals to avoid paying taxes3 Others believe that Seasteads will allow seastead residents to pursue anti-social ends, such as avoiding financial, environmental, and labor regulations356


The Seasteading Institute held its first conference in Burlingame, California, October 10, 2008 45 people from 9 countries attended57 The second Seasteading conference was significantly larger, and held in San Francisco, California, September 28–30, 20095859 The third Seasteading conference took place on May 31 - June 2, 201260

In popular cultureedit

L Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, and his executive leadership became a maritime based community named the Sea Organization Sea Org Beginning in 1967 with a complement of four ships the Sea Org spent most of its existence on the high sea, visiting ports around the world for refueling and resupply In 1975 much of these operations were shifted to land based locations around the world, especially in the USA eg Clearwater, FL and the UK Saint Hill Manor

Seasteading has been imagined numerous times in pop culture in recent years

  • Waterworld was a major motion picture that featured seastead communities at various points throughout the film
  • In video games, the idea of a city on the ocean to escape from any kind of government is the main plot of the games BioShock and BioShock 2, Brink, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, while in the Metal Gear games a fictional private military company named "Militaires sans Frontieres" Soldiers Without Borders maintains a base in the ocean, named Mother Base, that is independent from any government
  • Transhumania is a seasteading city in the novel The Transhumanist Wager by Zoltan Istvan
  • The Neal Stephenson book Snow Crash in part takes place on Rife's Raft, a floating refuge camp consisting of boats, rafts and anything that floats tied together
  • Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet is a Japanese anime that primarily takes place on a traveling city made of an interconnected fleet of ships in the oceanrelevant – discuss
  • Armada is the fictional floating city in China Miéville's novel The Scar

See alsoedit

  • Sustainable development portal
  • Micronations portal
  • Arcology
  • Artificial island
  • Biorock
  • Deep sea mining
  • Floating airport
  • Freedom Ship
  • Intentional community
  • HavenCo
  • Kiyonori Kikutake
  • Mariculture
  • Mobile offshore base
  • Ocean thermal energy conversion
  • Operation Atlantis
  • Pneumatic stabilized platform
  • Republic of Rose Island
  • Russian floating nuclear power station
  • Seawater Greenhouse
  • Semi-submersible
  • Telepossession
  • Underwater habitat
  • Very large floating structure
  • Wolf Hilbertz


  1. ^ Griffiths, Sarah 2015-07-08 "Will cities of the future FLOAT $167 million project using concrete platforms could be home to 300 people by 2020" Daily Mail Retrieved 2017-01-31 
  2. ^ Zolfagharifard, Ellie 2017-01-17 "Plans for world's first 'floating city' unveiled: Radical designs could be built in the Pacific Ocean in 2019" Daily Mail Retrieved 2017-01-31 
  3. ^ a b c Guardian: "Seasteading: tech leaders' plans for floating city trouble French Polynesians"
  4. ^ Razer: "Rich, white finance sector men build their own 'safe space' on a floating tax haven"
  5. ^ Mangu-Ward, Katherine April 28, 2008 "Homesteading on the High Seas: Floating Burning Man, "jurisdictional arbitrage," and other adventures in anarchism" Reason Magazine Retrieved 2009-02-28 
  6. ^ a b Carli, James December 10, 2016 "Oceantop Living in a Seastead - Realistic, Sustainable, and Coming Soon" Huffington Post Retrieved 2017-01-25 
  7. ^ a b BBC, News January 17, 2017 "French Polynesia signs first floating city deal" BBC Retrieved 2017-01-25 
  8. ^ "Vincent Callebaut Architecte LILYPAD" callebautorg 
  9. ^ "LILYPAD feature" archinectcom 
  10. ^ Rose, Steve August 25, 2008 "The man who saw the future" The Guardian London Retrieved May 23, 2010 
  11. ^ "12 Post-Apocalypse Floating Cities and Homes: From Crazy Concepts to Reality" TreeHugger 
  12. ^ "Explorers in the Valley still charting new territory" The Irish Times 19 September 2008 
  13. ^ "SeaSteading -- Homesteading the High Seas" gramlichnet 
  14. ^ Fingleton, Eamonn March 26, 2010 "Seasteading: the great escape" Prospect Magazine Retrieved 2017-01-31 
  15. ^ Gramlich, Wayne; Friedman, Patri 2002 "Getting Serious About SeaSteading" Andrew House Retrieved 2017-01-31 
  16. ^ a b Baker, Chris January 19, 2009 "Live Free or Drown: Floating Utopias on the Cheap" Wired Magazine Retrieved 2009-01-19 
  17. ^ "History" 
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Cities on the Ocean" The Economist 3 December 2011 Retrieved 6 December 2011 
  19. ^ "Peter Thiel Makes Down Payment on Libertarian Ocean Colonies" WIRED 
  20. ^ "City floating on the sea could be just 3 years away" CNN March 3, 2009 Retrieved 2009-03-10 
  21. ^ May Young, Niki May 22, 2008 "The Seasteading Institute established to develop permanent ocean communities" World Architecture News Retrieved 2009-02-28 
  22. ^ Wang, Brian January 13, 2017 "Peter Thiel on Trump, Seasteading and making futures more like the Jetsons or Star Trek" Next Big Future Retrieved 2017-01-30 
  23. ^ Peter Thiel April 13, 2009 "The Education of a Libertarian" 
  24. ^ "Seasteading: the great escape" Prospect Magazine April 2010 
  25. ^ "Seasteading Misconceptions - Business Insider" Business Insider 16 November 2013 
  26. ^ "BBC - Future - Ocean living: A step closer to reality" BBC Future 
  27. ^ Stossel, John 11 February 2011 "Is Seasteading the Future" 
  28. ^ Adam Frucci "Silicon Valley Nerds Plan Sea-Based Utopian Country to Call Their Own" Gizmodo Gawker Media 
  29. ^ "Libertarian Island: No Rules, Just Rich Dudes" NPRorg 21 May 2008 
  30. ^ "Meetupcom - October 2010 Seasteading Social at the Hyatt Regency SF" Retrieved 20 October 2010 
  31. ^ "Seasteading: A Possible Timeline" Retrieved 20 October 2010 
  32. ^ a b Gramlich, Wayne; Friedman, Patri; Houser, Andrew 2002–2004 "Seasteading" seasteadingorg Retrieved 2009-02-28 
  33. ^ a b "ClubStead" seasteadingorg 2009 Retrieved 2009-06-02 
  34. ^ Charlie Deist "The Seasteading Institute" The Seasteading Institute 
  35. ^ "Floating City Project - The Seasteading Institute - Startup Cities" The Seasteading Institute 
  36. ^ "Start" Startup Cities Institute 
  37. ^ "Designing the Worlds First Floating City - Indiegogo" Indiegogo 
  38. ^ "DeltaSync" deltasyncnl 
  39. ^ https://wwwseasteadingorg/2016/09/french-polynesia-open-seasteading-collaboration/
  40. ^ a b "Government of French Polynesia Signs Agreement with Seasteaders for Floating Island Project | The Seasteading Institute" wwwseasteadingorg Retrieved 2017-02-05 
  41. ^ Megson, Kim 2017-01-24 "French Polynesia could host world's first floating city after signing agreement with Seasteading Institute" CLADnews Retrieved 2017-02-03 
  42. ^ "Seasteading Institute Comes to Agreement with French Polynesia About Developing a Seastead" Reasoncom 2017-01-14 Retrieved 2017-02-05 
  43. ^ ""We are the Blue Frontier," says spokesman for French Polynesia Government | The Seasteading Institute" wwwseasteadingorg Retrieved 2017-02-05 
  44. ^ a b c Donald, Brooke 16 December 2011 "Blueseed Startup Sees Entrepreneur-Ship as Visa Solution for Silicon Valley" Huffington Post Retrieved 12 March 2011 
  45. ^ "World's first floating city back on course" NY Daily News Retrieved 2017-02-07 
  46. ^ McCullagh, Declan February 2, 2009 "Next Frontier: "Seasteading" The Oceans" CBS News Retrieved 2009-02-28 
  47. ^ "Oil Platforms Transformed into Sustainable Seascrapers- eVolo - Architecture Magazine" evolous 
  48. ^ "Apply Seasteading Concrete Shell Structures - The Seasteading Institute" The Seasteading Institute 
  49. ^ "Floating City Project | The Seasteading Institute" wwwseasteadingorg Retrieved 2017-02-05 
  50. ^ "Oceanscraper- eVolo - Architecture Magazine" evolous 
  51. ^ "Floating City concept by AT Design Office features underwater roads" Dezeen 
  52. ^ "Seascraper – Floating City - eVolo - Architecture Magazine" evolous 
  53. ^ a b Raj, Ajai 2014-06-14 "A SPACESHIP FOR THE SEA" Popular Science Retrieved 2017-02-04 
  54. ^ a b Lee, Timothy 2011-11-29 "Startup hopes to hack the immigration system with a floating incubator" Ars Technica Retrieved 30 November 2011 
  55. ^ Slideshare- Blueseed lessons learned
  56. ^ a b c d Denuccio, Kyle "Silicon Valley Is Letting Go of Its Techie Island Fantasies" WIRED Retrieved 2017-02-01 
  57. ^ "Seasteading Institute 2008 Annual Report" PDF TSI April 15, 2009 Retrieved 2009-08-12 
  58. ^ "Seasteading 2009 Annual Conference" TSI August 10, 2009 Retrieved 2009-08-12 
  59. ^ McCullagh, Declan 2009-10-11 "Seasteaders Take First Step Toward Colonizing The Oceans" CBSNews Retrieved 2009-10-12 
  60. ^ "Huffington Post: "Seasteading Institute Convention" June 2012" 

External linksedit

  • Blue Frontiers
  • Ephemerisle website/wiki
  • Ephemerisle videos
  • Seasteading Institute website

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