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Seasteading ‘08: Beat High Housing Costs - On the High Seas! - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Sep. 9th, 2008

10:40 am - Seasteading ‘08: Beat High Housing Costs - On the High Seas!

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Beat High Housing Costs - On the High Seas!

Mountain View, CA, August 18th, 2008.

Despite the recent downturn in real estate, the cost of a new home in many parts of the country remains beyond the reach of many people. For example, the median home price in the San Francisco Bay area hovers around half a million dollars. The Seasteading Institute, a new non-profit (*) based in Mountain View, CA hopes to reduce housing costs in a unique fashion — by promoting the colonization of the oceans.

“Building houses in the U.S. is heavily regulated, so the supply of new housing grows very slowly. As a result, the price of housing remains high.” said Seasteading Institute founder Patri Friedman. A study by University of Washington economics professor Theo Eicher found that between 1989 and 2006, the median inflation-adjusted price of a Seattle house more than doubled from $221,000 to $447,800. According to that study, fully $200,000 of that increase was the result of land-use regulations.

“There is plenty of room on the ocean, and by building there we can avoid the costs imposed by zoning and land-use regulation. Seasteads can be built anywhere in the world, then towed into place, so we can save costs by hiring third-world labor, while benefiting poor countries. Floating homes are also protected against rising oceans from global warming.”

Seasteading advocates point to the Netherlands as an example of a country that is gradually moving to an aquatic lifestyle. “In the Netherlands, many homes are built on floating platforms moored to canal bottoms. If the sea levels rise, the homes simply float on the water.”

Seasteaders acknowledge that the deep ocean seasteads face higher hurdles than houseboats. “We have to solve a lot of problems — how do you deal with rogue waves? Generate power? Find work? These are not easy, but given the amount of time people already spend at sea on cruises, we think the time has come for permanent ocean settlements.”

The Seasteading Institute will host the first annual Seasteading Conference in Burlingame, CA on October 10th, 2008, to explore these and other problems.

For more information, see the Institute’s website, www.seasteading.org.

The Seasteading Institute
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(The Seasteading Institute is a California nonprofit corporation that is in the process of applying for recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.)

Original: craschworks - comments


[User Picture]
Date:September 9th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
The NL has had floating homes for centuries, it's true that taxes are lower here on houseboats than on land, but there are so many other related problems with living on water that I wouldn't dare. However, some of the new constructions on water can be rather amazing (and very expensive, as all housing is here).
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[User Picture]
Date:September 9th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
Yes, seasteads will likely be more expensive than most land based housing initially. But with better engineering, economies of scale, and avoidance of much of the regulatory and tax burden of land based housing, I expect it will become less expensive.
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[User Picture]
Date:September 9th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
Don't know about NL, but in the U.S., shoreline houseboats can be more regulated than land development. In Seattle the only way to get a houseboat is to buy an existing one, it is impossible to get permission to build a new one. It's even difficult to get boat moorage with live-aboard rights.

Seasteading is, of course, about non-shoreline development.

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[User Picture]
Date:September 10th, 2008 12:37 am (UTC)
now if people actually start seasteading how long do you think it will be before the UN announces that the oceans are now there domain and any communities that develope in them will have to abide by international law and regulation.
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[User Picture]
Date:September 10th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
how long do you think it will be before the UN announces that the oceans are now there domain and any communities that develope in them will have to abide by international law and regulation.

The U.N. (among others) already makes such claims:


Escaping all regulation will be, I think, an impossible goal. Large marginal improvements however, are quite possible, if only for practical reasons. Burning Man, for example, demonstrates that law enforcement will largely leave you alone, even if you behave outside many legal (drug use) and social norms (nudity), if you locate yourself out in the middle of nowhere.
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