Cruising Taxes
Thesis Project, SCI-Arc, Los Angeles, USA, 2019

In a response to urgent sea level rise, this proposal questions the modern policy of national space. Where a country’s identity can disappear rapidly due to natural causes, it is important to start questioning the future of displaced population.

A 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that rising sea levels would completely submerge the Marshall Islands by the year 2055. While the nation currently has approximately 181 km2 of natural land, the 3636 registered vessels that occupy the majority of its commercial trade, create an occupiable space that covers 30% of its mass. As a radical way to adapt to climate issues and to preserve the existence of the Marshall Islands, this proposal suggests that commercial vessels registered to the Marshall Islands should legally become Marshallese floating possessions, so ships can actually be an extension of the Marshall Islands. This way, the currently 3636 registered ships would become part of the nation and used by the population throughout and post-climate change. This would enable populations threatened by climate change to maintain statehood and sovereignty while on board of vessels carrying their Marshallese flag. Through this new legal definition of which territories are eligible for “coastlines”, every ship now, as a sovereign state, carries its own maritime rights and EEZ adjacent to its “land”. With the 3636 ships and their EEZ area together, the Marshall Islands could then see themselves being in control of the entirety of the current international waters’ ocean bed, body and surface. The banner of the Marshallese flag will change under these circumstances, and with it a new definition of their coast by the creation of these manmade land masses supported solely by the efforts of its own economic growth.

Exhibited at A+D Museum, Los Angeles in 2019
Featured on Future Architecture and Archinect.