Floating city approved off South Korea coast

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The sea will be a key attraction in the proposed floating city

South Korea’s government has green-lit plans for a floating “city” in the sea, equipped with tennis courts, doctors’ offices and an office park.

The city will have 40,000 resident households, it says, though that is down from a first plan of 60,000.

It will also have a “water festival village” with space for 60,000 people and the artificial island will be 370 sq km (139 sq miles) in size.

The floating city, pictured above, is to be at the entrance to a sprawling industrial estate in the Seongnam area of the country’s northern coast.

South Korea is expanding its industrial capabilities after South Korea’s economic growth has slowed over the past year, partly because of the US-China trade war.

The country says the new technology of designing and building “offshore skyscrapers” could replace low-rise structures in industrial parks and provide living, work and leisure options for the many workers that end up at the site each day.

On paper, at least, it could offer one of the widest living quarters available in the country.

South Korea’s government has approved five “floating city” proposals, with another four already in development, Yonhap News Agency reports.

Construction of the Seongnam project, planned for 2024, will start in 2020 and construction is estimated to take between five and seven years, it adds.

The government says the new city could be home to up to 100,000 people.

Image copyright Yonhap Image caption Construction on the megapolis may start in 2020

Green groups are reportedly worried that nearby tidal power plants will damage the environmental impact of the project, but so far the Ministry of Science and ICT says there are no plans to build one.

Environmentalists are worried that nearshore plants could damage the seawater habitat in the area, while vibrations and pressure generated by loading and unloading heavy construction equipment and vehicles can also affect the sea environment.

Environment Minister Choi Min-soo says he is willing to talk to environmental groups.

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