The principality of Monaco – playground of the rich and famous – has a tiny population, and it’s crammed into the smallest of spaces.
Now Prince Albert II is trying to ease that overcrowding with an ambitious plan to reclaim about 12.5 acres of land from the Mediterranean.
The £10 billion ($16 billion) project was first proposed last year, but put on hold because of the financial crisis and the Prince’s concerns that it would damage the marine environment.
He’s very much a ‘green’ head of state – driving an electric car and travelling to the North Pole to measure the effects of global warming. He wants this project to be an eco-showcase that sets an example to the world.
So his idea is that the mixture of luxury property, offices and public buildings be built on stilts so as not to disturb the marine life underneath.
The Prince has asked three groups of international environmental experts to study sedimentology and currentology, marine bio-diversity and the creation of false reefs to support a wealth of marine life. They will hand in their conclusions in the next few months.
Major names from the world of architecture will then be asked to come up with new designs, with construction not expected to start before 2015.
by Andy Moreton, with Henry Samuel
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