Researching Sea Cities

Professor Dr -Ing. Joerg Baumeister has been a practitioner, educator, researcher and consultant for Architecture and Urban Design for more than 20 years throughout Europe, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Asia, and Australia.

Joerg is an award-winning Architect and Urban Designer. He continues to be an enthusiastic keynote speaker at international conferences and University educator with passion for "his" students. Joerg also has extensive experience on an executive University level as Research Centre Director, Chair, and Department Head.

As a researcher he has expertise in discovering new research topics and leading consequential research projects by attracting millions of dollars in grants. Several research projects have been applied and published in books and government reports.

Joerg is also consulting with government institutions strategically on the federal, state and regional level as well as NGOs and private industry leaders. Thereby his aim is to apply his current research interests which comprises ecological cities, affordable housing in serial building technology, and future innovation through creative thinking.

A new focus area lies in leading the evolution of the Cities Research Institute's "SeaCities" research group and the development and execution of government and industry research projects related to that. The aim is to create innovative design solutions for future water-adapted architecture and cities.


The SeaCities team is working on a number of exciting projects including:

  • UN Habitation - UN Habitation is an examination of the potential of floating systems that can support land-based settlements or - in the case of crisis - replace traditional terrestrial settlements while communities recover.
  • Sea Manta - The Sea Manta is a floating dive and recreation structure. Half of the structure is underwater and houses an artificial reef, while the above water areas host a bar and dive shop, a swimming pool and interactive aquarium displays.
  • Pelican Island - From sandbank to ecological real estate.

See more of what's happening here

The Challenge

More than 1 Million people of Australia's and 400 million of the world's population (4,5% / 5%) live in land areas where the elevation is less than 5 meters above sea-level (World Bank). This fact offers opportunities for cities for urban extensions like marine estates, aquatic food production, sea related industry, maritime transport, oceanic tourist attractions, and additional coastal ecological zones.

But anthropogenic effects like exponential rising sea levels, storm surge intensification, pollution of the sea, and population growth are also generating increasing pressure. Loss of land, threatened natural and built environments,  infrastructure vulnerabilities, human health risks and social disconnections, food insecurity and a more volatile economy are just some of the harmful consequences.

The urban interface between Sea and Cities generates, therefore, both burning issues and valuable opportunities and raises the question of whether it Is possible to solve (and finance) the former by exploiting  the latter?

The Methodology

Our research method combines Systems Thinking (which is based on a specific urban taxonomy model) with Scientific and Design Thinking (as a fusion between scientists' and designers' toolkits). This generates research-based, solution-directed approaches to arrive at linear and lateral created innovative solutions.

The holistic approach requires interdisciplinary collaborations. Several disciplines including Griffith Architecture and Design, Engineering, Planning and Environmental management, Business as well as research centres like the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management collaborate. More national and international collaborators are attracted also due to Gold Coast's unique geographical position between land and sea as the ideal location for the SeaCities Research Pool.

SeaCities International Symposium

The SeaCities group within the Cities Research Institute at Griffith University is a world-first research and development initiative focused on designing and implementing water adaptive settlements (aquacities) and floating sea structures (aquatecture) in response to the challenges of rising sea levels and rapid population growth.

SeaCities’ Urban Tactics for Flooding: From Risks to Opportunities

This symposium was held 3-4 March 2020 and was designed for urban planners, architects, engineers, ecologists, environmentalists and medical scientists with a shared interest in resolving the challenges of sea level rise and developing new and productive relationships between land and sea in coastal cities.

HDR and Undergraduate Students

Nikki Findlay

Despina Linaraki

Thang Nguyen

Connect and collaborate

If you would like to work, study or collaborate with us, get in touch