Global knowledge exchange meeting on floating and resilient development

Submitted by Ase Johannessen | published 18th Feb 2022 | last updated 5th Apr 2023
Different floating solutions - high end and low cost - housing and agriculture

Photo credits: High income solution (Bartels and Vedder); Bamboo dream house - low cost community housing (Nandan Mukherjee), high end agriculture (The floating farm, Rotterdam), low cost agriculture (Fahmida Akter). 

Thursday, 29 September, 2022 - 10:00 (Europe/Amsterdam)



The Community of Practice on Floating and Resilient Development conducted an exchange on the 29th of September, 2022,  to share information on solutions and engage in discussion with cities and interested planners and experts. All interested persons were welcome to register.

Objectives of the meeting:

1. Raise awareness and increase knowledge on the diversity and possibilities of floating and resilient solutions (housing, energy, agriculture) among planners and decision-makers. Showcase high-income solutions as well as affordable solutions for the most vulnerable populations.

2. Provide an opportunity for informal networking and sharing of implementation challenges and opportunities through breakout rooms.  

3. Building practical knowledge and capacity by interacting with experts on best/good practices across a variety of topics: technology, research, governance, social considerations, research, design, engineering and much more.  


There were 95 participants engaged in the knowledge exchange, including participants from South Africa, Poland, Netherlands, Colombia, Bangladesh, Australia, Singapore and other countries. The program began and concluded with a plenary session chaired by Rutger de Graaf-van Dinther from the Blue Revolution Foundationcore member of the community of practice There were two rounds of thematic breakout room discussions. 



Summary Report

The summary report includes emerging insights, key messages for policymakers and the knowledge gaps discussed in each breakout room.

Presentations and Recordings

Breakout room: Floating Future - large national research proposal for a resilient future

How can we keep our densely populated country, the Netherlands livable? There is an increasing demand for space for living, industry, energy transition and food production. To date, approximately 60% of the Netherlands is flood-prone, and due to climate change, the threat of flooding increased.  The water may however also offer an opportunity for creating flood-resilient living space by implementing large-scale floating developments. National Research Initiative “Floating Future” is a collaboration between more than 30 stakeholders including universities, research initiatives, companies, NGOs, and government agencies (national, regional and local levels). Floating Future integrates the science fields of Governance, Technology and Ecology to investigate how we can achieve upscaling of floating developments as a climate adaptive and responsible alternative that is socially accepted. We develop pilot cases for inland (lakes, rivers and polders), coastal (port city) and offshore (North Sea) applications. 

Breakout room: Floating agriculture - high and low-cost solutions

Increasingly, with climate change, vulnerable countries need to understand how to do things with less land and more water. Floating agriculture or gardens for herb and vegetable production is an ancient process that can be adaptive in the face of changes in water levels. 

Traditionally, farmers will construct a floating platform of greenery, such as water hyacinths, several feet into the water to create a base. This floating garden is then used to plant vegetables without the need for soil, creating conditions that adapt to even the rainiest of seasons. It’s a group effort where family members and friends create these structures that can be more than 50 m long.

Floating agriculture is regarded as a cultural heritage. Many traditional methods exist that have the potential to be revived and upscaled to fit contemporary needs.

Breakout room: Architectural design on the water - an attractive, sustainable, resilient  and affordable style of living

The room discussed architectural opportunities, considerations and sustainable design innovations for floating homes and buildings.

Breakout room 4: Environmental benefits of floating development

Floating solutions offer several opportunities for environmental sustainability, for example, the location on water provides many solutions for energy efficiency. In addition, floating development allows connectivity of rivers and water bodies, provides substrate and habitat and eases the pressure on sand mining. Read more here about this topic. 

Breakout room: Upscaling floating development- Sharing initiatives and plans for large-scale floating development

Blue21 has been working on the proof-of-technology of floating urban development for the past 15 years. With many floating projects now realized by different innovators, both in the Netherlands and internationally, the company thinks that the sector should be now moving towards the proof-of-scale. It is crucial to demonstrate that floating urban development can be a feasible alternative on a scale that is relevant to the size of the global challenges we are facing. In this breakout room, initiatives and plans within the network of Blue21 for large-scale floating development were shared.

Breakout room: Making flood-resilient housing affordable

The room explored opportunities and challenges for making affordable flood-resilient housing. The speaker discussed low-cost housing in the Philippines, cost-effective and flood-resilient amphibious buildings in India and Houses on stilts in Mozambique.

Breakout room: Floating solar

Floating solar photovoltaic (FPV) is not only about technical design and construction, but more importantly about inclusive design, taking into account ecology (deep or shallow water, stagnant or running water), water management, storm risk, etc. In this session, Johan and Bjorn shared with us some pilot examples: seasonal displacement, sun-tracking, and flexibility for mowing. A FPV example with light biobased construction which can be temporarily submerged in the event of bad weather were also introduced. 

Breakout room: Navigating regulations for floating developments

Seaphia works to best plan and execute innovative aquatecture projects with special regulatory frameworks. In the breakout, Seaphia architects shared examples of regulatory research they've conducted or are dealing with in some of the floating projects they are working on; from post-war regulations in communities on stilts, property titles and national parks restrictions, to energy rules for large-scale developments. In this talk, participants learnt about navigating various regulatory requirements they've encountered in the floating projects they are working on in Colombia.

Further resources


img 62341 - climate adaptation.

A message booard has been created for this event, join the conversation here:

The forum will be used after the event for sharing additional questions, insights and resources.