When I hear the words “city,” “underwater” and “screwed,” the first city I think of is Detroit, Michigan, and its economy or possibly Miami, Florida, and global warming. Those words don’t make me think of Atlantis, yet that’s exactly what a Japanese construction proposes as its design for a futuristic city under the ocean.
Shimizu Inc. worked with researchers from the University of Tokyo and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) to develop the idea for Ocean Spiral, an ocean city that would house and employ up to five thousand people. The city would be contained in a globe 500 meters in diameter, large enough for housing, hotels and businesses. The globe would be anchored to a giant corkscrew reaching from its bottom to the ocean floor, down to a depth of 4,000 meters.
When bad weather or tsunamis hit (this is Japan, remember?), the Ocean Spiral would spiral into the ocean down the corkscrew until it reaches a module on the seabed, where it would stay until conditions were safe again. When the globe is back on the surface, the corkscrew would act as a transport to the module, which could be used for experiments and mining.
To generate power, Ocean Spiral would have microorganisms called methanogens converting carbon dioxide from the outside air into methane and take advantage of the wide disparities in water temperatures at various depths.
Of course, this is still pie-in-the-sky or maybe corkscrew-pasta-in-the-water. The cost for Ocean Spiral in current dollars would start at $25.5 billion and some of the technology is not yet developed. Shimizu thinks the conditions will be right by 2030.
Donovan will be 84.