A Floating Silicon Valley? Introducing Blueseed, the Newest Dream for a City at Sea

Lots of people want to start a technology company, lots of people want to work in the United States, and lots of people want to found a tech start-up and work in the United States. While starting a technology company is theoretically possible in many parts of the world, perhaps no place is as hospitable to the enterprise as Silicon Valley, land of the tech giants and source of seemingly endless investment resources. However, not just anyone can work in the U.S. (you need a work visa), but one might be able to work near the U.S., like on the Blueseed, a ship that, if built, would be a floating city of tech start ups where employees can both work and live long-term. Blueseed, which is both the name of the potential ship and the company that hopes to build it, would float 12 miles off the coast of California, in close proximity to Silicon Valley, but not subject to U.S. immigration laws, giving international tech start ups access to American resources without the hassle of work visas.

If all of this sounds vaguely familiar to our regular readers, it should. A little while back, we wrote a few articles about the proposed city at sea known as Freedom Ship. The Freedom Ship project appears to have stalled, but the idea of building a ship with long-term residents evidently has not died. However, whereas the Freedom Ship was supposed to be an enormous floating city for permanent residents and vacationers, the Blueseed would be set up for the practical business purposes stated above. The ship is specifically for international tech start ups that could benefit from the enormous U.S. tech industry, but could not simply start operating in the U.S. because of immigration laws.

Even though Blueseed’s plan, which requires millions more in funding to move toward fulfillment, is essentially pragmatic, this doesn’t mean the company doesn’t hope to build a pleasant environment for work and everyday life. Blueseed intends to remodel a cruise ship – as opposed to simply building an gigantic city structure on top of a floating barge (a la Freedom Ship) – but the end result will essentially be a city at sea, not an operating ship. A heavy emphasis will be placed on open spaces and vegetation, and the hope is that the ship’s “business district” – shops, cafes, etc. – will resemble an actual city, perhaps with employee suites overlooking the “downtown.” The office spaces will be designed with collaboration in mind, and effort will be put into making the work areas psychologically pleasing (with lots of bright colors, natural light, and so on). People could potentially be living on the ship for six months to a year with only occasional visits to land (for things like business meetings, if all goes accordingly), so the on-board experience needs to feel as unrestricted as possible.

Will the Blueseed ever be built? It’s hard to say, but it has already received millions of dollars in funding and there is seemingly a market for the services the ship will provide. And no matter what, the project strikes us as vastly more practical than Freedom Ship, which was arguably delusional in the scope of its ambitions (which perhaps explains why even after more than a decade of planning, there is not even a finished plan for Freedom Ship). However, Blueseed faces plenty of hurdles. Even assuming the ship and its operations are completely legal, there are a number of practical problems to solve, ranging from routine ship repairs to waste removal. There are also environmental concerns related to operating a huge ship in one place for extended periods of time. So, for now we’ll have to simply wait and see, keeping our readers informed if any new dramatic developments should come about.

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