Have you ever wanted to live on the water? Perhaps wake up on a weekend morning and jump out of the window for a swim?
While there are already houseboats, a new floating neighborhood in Amsterdam, Netherlands is proving that it is possible to fulfill this dream!
Schoonschip, a Dutch word for a "clean ship" is a prototype of a floating neighborhood. This tight-knit community of 46 households, 150 residents, and 40 kids is the brainchild of Marjan De Blok, a Dutch reality TV director.
One-third of the land in the Netherlands lies below sea level and there is frequent flooding. De Blok imagined an alternate way to live, that not only addresses the need for more housing in cities but also allows homes to withstand rising sea levels.
The homes are designed to have a very small environmental footprint. They are powered by solar panels, and the houses are connected, such that surplus energy from one home can be used by another. The excess energy is also stored in batteries.
There are rooftop gardens for growing food, heat pumps to keep the houses warm, and rainwater is stored and used for flushing toilets. In the future, wastewater from showers and toilets will be converted back into energy.
The houses themselves follow the Dutch design principle of "gezellig" or coziness, which includes soft lighting and modern touches. Additionally, when adding heavy furniture such as pianos to a floating home, it must be balanced with bricks on the other side of the house. The homes are also insulated with sustainable materials such as straw, burlap, and bamboo.
The residents, most of whom are De Blok’s friends, share bikes, cars, and use a WhatsApp group to share resources.
Schoonschip has been attracting attention for its novel and sustainable design. For the nearly 800 million people living along the coast and at risk from rising sea levels by 2050, this may be their hope for the future.
Sources: Washington Post, World Economic Forum, Fast Company