Living on Water: Our Future Neighborhoods

Living on Water: Our Future Neighborhoods

Floating houses IJburg East Amsterdam
Source: Marcel van der Burg and Arch Daily

The usually small and motorized dwelling known as a houseboat has become something a little bit larger: a floating home. Whether it’s because of spatial practicality or to create adventurous new neighborhoods, floating homes have become a popular real estate market in cities such as Amsterdam and Seattle. These houses are more along the lines of traditional real estate, hooked up to city sewage, electric lines and semi-permanent, held down by anchors and only moved when absolutely necessary. A large appeal for the homes is the environmental benefit—as sea levels rise and urban living becomes more expensive, architects are looking to the sea for potential future neighborhoods.

Still, even this new frontier isn’t cheap. In Seattle, the price of floating homes can range from 400k to 1.1 million dollars. The only economical thing about these homes is their size. In Seattle, most floating homes cannot be more than 3,000 square feet and in Amsterdam, where the homes are constructed in shipyards and tugged through numerous canals, they cannot exceed 6.5 meters or around 21 feet in width. Regardless of the location, there is a rising demand for floating homes that cannot be ignored. In areas of Seattle like Lake Union and Portage Bay, there are only 500 floating homes in total.  Hopefully, in the future, affordability and equity will become part of the conversation when this new real estate market is discussed.



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