28 February 2011

On Taking a More Nitty-Gritty Approach to Seasteading

More Designs Here

Up to this point, seasteading seems to be more about superficial design and "gee-whiz! futurism" than about actually building a seastead as an ongoing concern -- as a self-sustaining alternative to government monopoly. The Seasteading Institute has promoted a number of conferences and has achieved a good deal of media coverage. That is always helpful for raising interest in the general ideas, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty of making a life on the ocean, most of the ideas one finds on the site lack heft. In the end, a seastead will have to pay for itself.

It appears that aesthetics may be playing too great a role -- and economics too small a role -- in many of the themes and schemes thrown around in popular seasteading circles.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel in terms of basic marine structure. Actual commercial enterprises such as the oil & gas industry and marine mining concerns, have made significant engineering advances and continue to do so, in terms of habitable ocean-going vessels which are also working commercial platforms. It is possible that the movement could use the input of more no-nonsense marine architects and engineers, as well as that of more persons familiar with the ins and outs of making a living from the sea.

The early seasteads need to be tough, strong, and relatively inexpensive. There is no need to win a beauty contest. One relatively inexpensive building material which could be used to construct working seasteads is pre-stressed concrete:
Through innovation with precast and prestressed concrete, some latest trends are now focused toward the development and construction of floating ocean platforms used to extract minerals, energy, and other natural resources.

Precast and prestressed concrete platforms have been constructed to support phosphate processing plants, floating liquefied propane gas (LPG) processing and storage facilities, and oil exploration platforms that are transported afloat and grounded for drilling.

For ocean platforms, the size and weight of prestressed and precast concrete construction will provide the greatest dynamic stability due to its large inertial advantage. Long-term durability of concrete construction in an ocean environment has been proven by actual service of existing prestressed precast concrete platforms over the last several decades. _civil-online
If the trend toward more and more offshore drilling and mining enterprises continues, it is likely that a great deal of the preliminary testing of possible designs and materials will be done by industrial concerns.

By taking advantage of the lessons already learned and earned by offshore industries, seasteaders who are serious about pulling their own weight can find starting opportunities and niches. Focusing on "pay as you go" approaches is not nearly as glamorous as a lot of the ideas being thrown around at some popular seasteading sites and forums, but it is an approach that is more likely to work in the long run.

From an earlier article at Al Fin Potpourri

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share


Blogger yamahaeleven said...

I like this argument. Perhaps the earliest "Seasteads" will be resource extraction platform users attempting to reduce the cost of ferrying labor and supplies. Small floating towns could follow the drilling rigs around like mining towns popped up where ever there were strikes in the last couple of centuries. Some may be company towns and others simply camp followers looking for opportunity.

Monday, 28 February, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Now you're talking.

More specifically, what about a floating bordello (and health clinic for treating STDs) in international waters, located in the general vicinity of large numbers of offshore rigs?

R&R is very important to heavy industry workers -- who tend to be more virile than your average sociologist or philosophy professor.

As the cohesion of national states weakens around the world, such impromptu "camp followers" may become a necessity for freelance offshore wildcatters of all kinds.

Tuesday, 01 March, 2011  

Post a Comment

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts