A Growing Price To Pay for Trendy, Quirky Waterborne Housing

example of narrowboat on Regents Canal, London
Tarporley - Camden Canal & Narrowboat's Historic Northwich Narrowboat - Regents Canal, London, UK photo by Tonybowyer is licensed under CC0 1.0
This historic narrowboat is moored at an historic site. Land and moorings on London's canal system are experiencing development pressures.

A short time ago we explored with tongue in cheek a phenomena that supposedly originated in Thailand called ‘seasteading’. It’s hard to tell whether ‘seasteading’ — the idea of modern homesteading at sea — has attracted the attention of more than a handful of people.

Nevertheless, we persevered to find gainful employment for modern ‘seasteaders.’. Our proposal was the much needed enterprise of sailing (literally) slowly, aimlessly across the trackless ocean waves and collecting plastic trash. Stateless and taxfree, it could be Green New Deal Affordable Housing rolled int one! Try: The Future Of The Stateless, Taxless ‘Seastead’ Movement. We’ve Found It!

In fact, homesteading on the water is an old tradition for those in the shipping trade, or harvesting the riches beneath the waves. Whalers used to spend two or three years at sea. Canada’ first permanent European settlers were over-wintering Iberian fisherfolk. Expeditions of discovery sometimes ran even longer periods away from home. For some, the enterprises were family affairs, indeed a form of sea-going homesteading.

Closer to land, life aboard moored vessels has also offered a form of ‘homesteading.’ In periods of war, captured soldiers and sailors spent years of their lives in old naval vessels converted to floating hulks. 1 Most familiar and enduring over centuries have been the lives spent afloat in the coasting and barge trades, operating on seacoasts, canals and rivers and often run by live-aboard families — parents and children.

Recently, floating canal, river and harbour homes, both traditional and modernized, have been touted as affordable housing opportunities. But with the cost of housing rising everywhere, riverbanks, canal banks and harbour piers are quickly revealing themselves to be a very limited resource.

For more on the changing nature of waterborne accommodation, as well as the limitations of more tradition forms, read more about challenging times in the United Kingdom’s capital in The Guardian: London’s Property Crisis Spreads To The Water

Footnotes

  1. Try: Let’s Hear It For The Hulks: Affordable Housing At Sea, Cruising To Nowhere In Particular