With most major cities in Canada located with access to large bodies of water floating housing could be the answer. Toronto real estate has plenty of room to grow with Toronto Harbour or the various spots along the waterfront. Will we ever see more Toronto floating homes besides the ones in Bluffers Park.
Other cities throughout the world are looking at the same solution. In London England one design firm called Baca created the Floating Homes, which is a manufacturer specialising in flood protection type of homes.
The home is designed to be able to deal with rising water levels since it can float. The price is affordable since it is priced below the current one bedroom price of $500,000 in Toronto. The builder says that they see the possibility of using man made docks to expand the location of these homes.
In London England they think these type of housing can develop over 7,000 homes and it would not change existing neighbourhoods which does happen with some urban renewal projects.
In London dRMM architects won a competition to build the city’s first floating community in the Docklands part of the city.
The architects say that large rivers or large bodies of water can help address the question of density because these spaces are not being used.
Floating communities already exist in various parts of the world. One example in Asia along the Mekong river is a traditional housing community built along the water.
In Amsterdam the city is building artifical islands to help build housing in another urban center that has seen extreme shortage of housing. The community call Ijburg is a mix of expensive condos along with some affordable housing. At least thirty per cent of the housing being built is being allocated towards lower income social housing.
Also in Copenhagen, one of our favorite tiny home techniques, using shipping containers is being done to build some affordable student housing. If you take the current university dorm design you can easily build these units in shipping containers. These floating units share community spaces which are much like current student housing. The company who built these hopes to expand the program throughout Europe.
If these communities are built correctly they will be able to help the river systems and avoid a negative impact on the river environment. Floating designs can create good anchor structures that can help habitats develop in the rivers and lakes. Some of the existing river structures have taken underwater surveys and seen the evidence of benefits to the waterfront ecosystem.
With the increase in global warming the increase in water levels means that bthese types of housing will be needed.
For London architect Carl Turner, who has designed a pre-fabricated, open-source amphibious house specifically designed to float on floodwater, called the Floating House, climate change means needing to work with water.
“You either protect the house or protect the land,” he says. “Creating large-scale flood protection zones is expensive and in itself potentially harmful to the environment. Once breached, homes are left defenceless, as opposed to floating homes that can simply rise with flood waters.”