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Sustainable floating neighborhood is a glimpse of the future

Schoonschip is an Amsterdam housing development on water

Floating houses on canal Photo:  Isabel Nabuurs/Space&Matter via Fast Company

Amsterdam knows how to put its canals to architectural use, but this idea for a floating neighborhood of homes takes aquatic living to a whole new level. Architectural firm Space&Matter has been working with a handful of other organizations since 2010 to build Schoonschip, a floating community of houses that show what the future of coastal cities might look like.

Schoonschip began as an idealistic plan to make the most of Amsterdam’s useable space while future-proofing housing against rising sea levels. Each house contributes to a circular energy system in which solar panels account for most of the energy needed and a battery in the basement stores any extra. Neighbors can share electricity via a microgrid that’s also connected to the city grid so any excess electricity can be used by other homes.

The homes are equipped with water pumps that extract heat from the canal’s water. Most of the homes have a green roof where residents grow plants and food. The designers describe Schoonschip as an ecological alternative to high-rises, which also allow for more density in cities but ignore their environmental impact. Space&Matter says it’s aiming to finish the community of homes by 2020.

Via: Fast Company