ArkPad’s are designed to be the most flexible seasteading platform that we can imagine. A lot of early seastead designs were based on the assumption that a single family would move into a floating home and stake a piece of the ocean for themselves. This idea is rooted in the concept of homesteading, the root of the word seasteading. Homesteading has historically consisted of single families moving onto undeveloped land and building a farm to put the land to good use. Most of America was settled by homesteaders, and in some sense it is homesteading that built America. While settling a plot of land and building a farm is undeniably productive, seasteads exist in a different environment than old colonial era American homesteads.
The nature of the ocean, and the nature of the modern economy, lend themselves to larger and more densely packed settlements. The earliest seasteaders may work remotely, a job in America, Europe, or Australia, and a home in the ocean. This setup requires a strong and robust WiFi network, a cell tower, and likely things like grocery stores and medical clinics for emergencies. These kinds of infrastruture needs suggest something similar to a small town of several thousand people at a minimum. The nature of the structure of a seastead suggests something similar. In almost all simulations, connecting multiple seasteads together usually leads to more stability, and the ability to carry larger and more varied amounts of weight. That means that while having one seastead by itself may allow you to live in most marine environments, having a community of seasteads attached to each other allows people to live in harsher environments, with bigger waves, stronger storms, and to have bigger homes on top of their seasteads.
When you envision seasteading, it makes the most sense to envision groupings of floating communities rather than individual floating houses. But what kinds of places will be in these floating communities? The ArkPad can hold up to 10 metric tons on its main platform, and when joined together with other ArkPads can distribute additional weight.
The first thing to talk about is location. The ArkPad will have a draft of around 12 meters. At this depth, floating communities must almost always be located at least around a kilometer away from the shore. At this distance, a different culture is likely to form on the water compared to on land. Floating coastal communites nearby to paces like San Diego or Los Angeles may see similar economies to their host cities, but with lower housing prices (an interesting twist considering seasteading is usually thought to be very expensive). Commutes in to work will also likely be much faster than if you lived on land, due to the high congestion which is prevalent in California.
In other countries like Singapore, or Indonesia, you will likely see early seasteads become hotspots for tourist activity, as these places already receive substantial tourism every year. You can imagine a floating community popping up in these areas to play host to many different seafood restaurants, diving shops, boat tour centers, and perhaps even exotic fish shops.
Pictured: a Beach House in Bali. you can imagine seeing a seastead community floating in the distance, just at the edge of the horizon.
One use of ArkPads is as floating AirBnB rentals off the coast of major cities or tourist destinations. In the early days, this could be one of the most lucrative uses for seasteads. In a novel environment like the ocean, wildly different types of architecture can be experimented with, and new and exotic looking homes can be built on top of ArkPads. They don’t have to each hold a separate structure either, they can be joined together and larger structures could be built across both of them.
Now that we have seen a glimpse of coastal communities, what about deep sea communities? It can be expected that tourism will still play a role in deep sea communities, but likely not nearly as much as coastal communities. Many people looking for independence and autonomy will likey be more attracted to deep sea communities, and likely work remotely for income. Once this initial population base has been built up, we will need to feed this population. A grocery store in a floating community will be tricky, as its inventory can only reach a certain weight. Dry goods like pasta will probably be the easiest to stock, canned goods come in next, and of course fresh fish and seaweed can always be readily available from local producers. People who want to open up a grocery store should consider starting small, and maybe building out their grocery store to cover two separate ArkPad’s later on, this will maximize interior square footing.
After we have taken care of the neccesities, schools, or in-home tutors for families with children will be next. For people living on a seastead who wish to earn their income there, it makes sense to become the teacher of a small group of children first, and then transition into running your own school over time.
Next are medical clinics, gas stations for boats, and other neccesities. When it comes to gas stations however, a full ArkPad may not be neccesary, a simple buoy can be put out into the ocean with a sealed tank beneath it, this can then be filled wth gas as needed and used to fuel and re-fuel passing boats. This is much lower cost than running an ordinary gas station, much less likely to be around open flames, and will likely sell larger amounts of fuel at a higher markup to customers.
So we have covered residential and commercial uses, but what about industrial? Since ArkPads can be joined together endlessly, a large flat space can be made as large as a company wants it to be, and it can be made to almost any shape they desire within about 10 meters (the width of one ArkPad). No structure has to be built over this large platform, but a large warehouse could easily be built on top of this large platform, and their would be plenty of carrying capacity left over to place heavy machinery inside of it. Large flat areas made out of joined ArkPads could also be used to simply hold shipping containers and create a deep sea port, although for this purpose more specialized and cost effective seasteading structures can be designed instead.
The real world applications of the ArkPad are nearly endless, this is the main strength of designing an all purpose, flexible seasteading platform.