By Victoria Masterson
- Living on water is a reality for more than 100 people in Amsterdam's Schoonschip neighborhood.
- It has 46 sustainable homes across 30 water plots.
- Population density and climate change is increasing interest in alternative accommodation options, including opening up underground spaces.
This is what the floating houses look like. Schoonschip / Isabel Nabuurs<p>"Since urban areas struggle with high density, we should make better use of the space on the water," says project architect, <a href="http://www.spaceandmatter.nl/schoonschip" target="_blank">Space&Matter</a>.</p><p>"With Schoonschip we want to set the example, and show how living on water can be a great and better alternative for people and our planet."</p>
Schoonschip / Isabel Nabuurs<p>The project is small in size — just more than 100 residents live in 46 homes on 30 arks floating — but it's also designed to be self-sufficient, with minimal impact on nature.</p><p>Solar panels and heat pumps provide heating. Wastewater from toilets and showers is converted back into energy and many residents also have a green roof, where they can grow their own food.</p>
The floating Dutch community of Schoonschip is designed to be self-sustaining, including generating its own energy. Schoonschip / Metabolic
Life on Water<p>Floating communities aren't new — they've been around for generations in some parts of the world. Examples include the <a href="http://www.natgeotraveller.in/the-floating-islands-of-perus-lake-titicaca/" target="_blank">Uros people</a>, who live on floating reed islands in Lake Titicaca, Peru, and the<a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/bajau-sea-nomads-diving-evolution-spleen/558359/" target="_blank"> Bajau people of Southeast Asia</a>, who live on small houseboats off the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.</p><p>In more recent times, interest in water living has grown as the world seeks solutions to the twin pressures of population density and climate change causing sea levels to rise.</p>
Schoonschip / Isabel Nabuurs<p>Projects elsewhere in the world include <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/flooding-homes-sea-levels-rising-floating-ocean-grimshaw/" target="_blank">modular water dwellings</a> being developed by British architect firm Grimshaw and Dutch manufacturer Concrete Valley.</p><p>These sit on a floating pontoon structure that rises with the water level to keep the home safe in the event of a tidal surge or flooding.</p><p>"With a growing global population and an increase of people living in cities, high land values are causing a shortage of affordable housing in urban areas," the designers say.</p><p>While in Denmark, end-of-life shipping containers have been used to create floating student accommodation in a design by architect firm <a href="https://www.urbanrigger.com/" target="_blank">Urban Rigger.</a></p>
Twin Challenges<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTU5NzY3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MzM5ODkwMn0.Ceu0kKdBN3WstLM7mktaXrJvRIdSr4CJCjB4zv_wsxk/img.jpg?width=980" id="967a7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="edf0b732f91576a681118457a6a79aff" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="6720" data-height="4480" /><p>More than 570 low-lying coastal cities will be threatened by sea-level rises of at least half a meter, by 2050, according to <a href="https://www.c40.org/other/the-future-we-don-t-want-staying-afloat-the-urban-response-to-sea-level-rise" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">C40 Cities</a>, a network dedicated to finding climate change solutions.</p><p>But the problem extends far beyond cities, to island nations, including <a href="https://collections.unu.edu/eserv/UNU:5903/Online_No_20_Kiribati_Report_161207.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Kiribati in the Pacific</a>, where 81% of households had been affected by sea-level rise in the decade between 2006 and 2016. Here, migration is considered the main solution.</p><p>As people move to cities to live and work, almost 70% of the world's population is expected to be <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">living in urban areas by 2050</a>, up from 55% currently.</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Can Copenhagen Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2025? - EcoWatch ›
- California Governor Signs Order to Ban Sale of New Gas-Powered Cars by 2035 - EcoWatch ›
More and more Americans are retrofitting their bathrooms with high-end bidets, allowing them to enjoy cleanliness and hygiene without creating as much paper waste. Not all bidets are created equal, however, and before deciding on a particular brand, it's important to do your homework. Take a look at our comprehensive Toto bidet review, and our reviews of Tushy and Omigo, to learn more about all of their options.
Toto USA<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/TOTO-BT500B-01-Piedmont-Vertical/dp/B00084P3GO/ref=sr_1_3?crid=ZG6AGN0U9VQL&dchild=1&keywords=toto+piedmont+bidet&qid=1613591898&sprefix=toto+piedmo%2Caps%2C188&sr=8-3" target="_blank">Toto's Piedmont bidet</a> offers an elegant, classic design, and it also comes with built-in safeguards that prevent it from ever overflowing. It is available in several color options, and will look good with any contemporary bathroom design.</p><p><strong>Why buy:</strong> This is the most affordable standalone bidet in Toto's catalog. This bidet is a good option if you are remodeling your bathroom or are building a home and want to save water and paper waste from the start. Priced starting at $533, you can find it through other retailers for around $280.</p>
Toto USA<p>The <a href="https://www.amazon.com/TOTO-BT930B-01-Vertical-Cotton/dp/B0015IVUOQ/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=toto%2Blloyd%2Bbidet&qid=1613592001&sr=8-2&th=1" target="_blank">Lloyd bidet</a> has a much bolder, "skirted" design, but it also shares the Piedmont's flushing rim and integral overflow features, which keep you from ever experiencing spillage.</p><p><strong>Why buy: </strong>This is a fancier product with a more striking appearance, and is mainly suited for a larger, more formal design. It retails for a slightly higher price point: The Lloyd model starts at $780 in total, but you can find it for $526 through other retailers.</p>
Toto USA<p>The company's flagship standalone bidet is known as the <a href="https://www.amazon.com/TOTO-BT784B-01-Clayton-Vertical/dp/B0018L9JUC/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=toto+clayton+bidet&qid=1613592108&sr=8-2" target="_blank">Clayton</a>. It includes the same overflow safeguards as the other two, and of course, each of these products is backed by Toto's longstanding commitment to excellent craftsmanship.</p><p><strong>Why buy: </strong>This is the most traditional in its visual style, and, with a number of colors to choose from, it will look great in almost any bathroom design. The Clayton starts at $734, but is available through other retailers for around $426.</p>
Toto USA<p>This electronic smart bidet seat fits onto your existing toilet bowl and offers a number of comfort features, including a heated seat, automatic air deodorizer, adjustable warm water, warm air dryer, self-cleaning wand, and a wireless remote control.</p><p><strong>Why buy:</strong> We chose the <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UCIOX2Q/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&aaxitk=-XjvJQOmffOcAmiCOZvtAA&hsa_cr_id=7413316040901&pd_rd_plhdr=t&pd_rd_r=0e0e7f3d-0baf-4977-85d3-663f618a76d8&pd_rd_w=Yi3yF&pd_rd_wg=LUFHB&ref_=sbx_be_s_sparkle_lsi3d_asin_1_img" target="_blank">Toto C200</a> as the overall best bidet in <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/best-bidet-toilet-seats-2650502928.html" target="_self">our review</a> of top brands. In addition to the features mentioned, its dual action oscillating and pulsating spray and pre-mist function provide a comfortable and sanitary clean.</p>
Toto USA<p>The <a href="https://www.amazon.com/TOTO-SW3046-01-Electronic-Contemporary/dp/B078GTKSXK/ref=sr_1_2?crid=15NGPC9YFANKH&dchild=1&keywords=toto+s500e&qid=1613960063&sprefix=toto+s500e%2Caps%2C171&sr=8-2" target="_blank">Toto Washlet S500e</a> bidet seat includes the features found in the C200, plus instantaneous water heating, front and rear wash functions, two-user preset memory, and the company's <a href="https://www.totousa.com/technologies/ewater" target="_blank">EWATER+ technology</a>. This system uses electrolyzed water to keep the wand and toilet bowl clean.</p><p><strong>Why buy:</strong> This high-end Toto electric bidet seat can help you reduce water and toilet paper use, and it can help reduce the need for chemical cleaning products with its EWATER+ technology.</p>
Toto USA<p>The <a href="https://www.amazon.com/TOTO-SW2014-01-Electronic-SoftClose/dp/B0165UFOGS/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=30E9Y1LAN9ZRW&dchild=1&keywords=toto+washlet+a100+elongated+bidet+toilet+seat&qid=1613589664&sprefix=toto+washlet+a100%2Caps%2C167&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFBR1FMUTdJR1hXNUEmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTAyNjIwOTkxUE1EWk5CQjg2QTZPJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA0NDc1MzExSk1UMk5CQzJYVUhVJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==" target="_blank">A100</a> is an entry-level Washlet bidet attachment, but still offers numerous comfort features. It includes a heated seat with temperature control, aerated warm water with a dual action spray, and an attached arm control panel.</p><p><strong>Why buy: </strong>One of the most affordable Toto bidet options, it still lets you adjust the water temperature and pressure settings, and features rear and front cleaning functionality for a feminine wash.</p>
Could this be the future of public transportation? Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the world's first autonomous bus—and it actually works.
The "Future Bus" just completed its first 12-mile journey "without steering, accelerating and without brake pedal" on public roads in the Netherlands, according to Daimler Buses, the company working with Mercedez-Benz.
The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot is semi-automated with traffic light, obstacle & pedestrian recognition. https://t.co/NKWG8oIrft— Mercedes-Benz (@Mercedes-Benz)1468965317.0
Using CityPilot autonomous driving technology, the full-sized bus successfully navigated through bends, passes, tunnels and traffic lights along the route between Amsterdam's Schiphol airport and the town of Haarlem.
Daimler said its bus drives up to 43-miles-per-hour and can recognize obstacles, especially pedestrians on the road, and brake autonomously.
Thanks to CityPilot, as Wired UK explains, the bus is connected to the city's wireless network, "so it can communicate directly with traffic lights and other city infrastructure for a smoother ride. The built-in camera systems can even scan the road for potholes and avoid bumpy areas the next time it travels on them, sharing that information back to the city."
In the video below, the driver does not touch the wheel as the bus whisks through the city streets and picks up passengers. The cockpit has a large screen that displays information the driver might need.
The Future Bus is equipped with a GPS system and about a dozen cameras that can scan the road and surroundings. A long and short-range radar systems constantly monitors the route ahead. It can even handle bus stops without driver intervention, as the doors open and close automatically.
"Connectivity plus camera and radar systems with data fusion are catapulting the city bus into the future," Daimler said.
As Wired UK pointed out, even though the bus can drive itself, regulations require a human operator in case he or she needs to intervene, like during an emergency.
As for its design, the 39-foot bus features a sleek exterior and open-plan interior inspired by the layouts of city squares and parks, the German automaker said.
Designer seats are loosely arranged along the walls to allow for open seating, grab rails branch upwards like trees and the ceiling lighting resembles a leaf canopy.
The #MBFutureBus: Divided in a Service and a Lounge Area. https://t.co/fVkwtyh17f— Daimler AG (@Daimler AG)1468857826.0
The bus even offers wireless charging.
Not just a detail: Wireless charging in the #MBFutureBus https://t.co/xNUIgSazS6— Daimler AG (@Daimler AG)1468857316.0
Besides the obvious environmental benefits of public transportation, automated buses have a number of eco-friendly traits. A bus that's connected to a city's communication network could relay and receive information to operate more efficiently and with better fuel economy than perhaps a human driver can. It could also help alleviate city traffic in densely populated areas.
Europe is particularly friendly towards self-driving vehicles. This past April, the transport ministers of all 28 European Union member states signed the Amsterdam Declaration, in which EU member states and the transport industry pledged to "draw up rules and regulations that will allow autonomous vehicles to be used on the roads."
Daimler tweeted that it invest approximately €200 million to further develop its city-bus portfolio by 2020. It is currently unclear if or when these buses will become a reality or even if they will make it stateside but for a sustainable transportation future, these buses can not come soon enough.