“Floating village” eyed in San Jose’s Alviso area could ward off floods, quakes, rising seas

The Mercury News | 5/24/2018 | George Avalos
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SAN JOSE — A “floating village” project is being eyed in north San Jose’s Alviso hamlet by tech company Arx Pax, using a technology that would deploy a group of pontoons beneath the buildings to protect the development from floods and earthquakes.

Los Gatos-based Arx Pax invented the technology, which uses principles similar to the 1.5-mile-long Hood Canal Bridge that traverses Washington state’s Puget Sound.

Mission - People - Property - Communities - Disasters

“We sincerely believe that in our mission, we can protect people, property and communities from natural disasters,” said Greg Henderson, chief executive officer and co-founder of Arx Pax. “This is so important, but not just for our company.”

Arx Pax, the creator of the SAFE Foundation, or Self-Adjusting Floating Environment, wants to construct in Alviso a mixed-use village of homes, offices and retail atop a system of concrete pontoons.

Water - Site - Buildings - Purpose - Henderson

“We are deliberately going to introduce water to a site that is already flood-prone and make the buildings float on purpose,” Henderson said. “There are no stability issues.”

The system could also help coastal communities deal with rising sea levels should that become a long-term challenge.

Arx - Pax - Presentation - Ned - Thomas

“This is very interesting. Arx Pax gave a very compelling presentation,” said Ned Thomas, a division manager with San Jose’s planning department. “They are proposing three buildings in Alviso in a mixed-use development.”

Here’s how the SAFE Foundation would work, according to information obtained from the Arx Pax website. First, a site would be excavated. Then, water would fill the site to a shallow depth. Next, a series of platforms consisting of concrete pontoons would be interlocked and laid over the water. Finally, the development would be constructed atop the interlocked floating pontoons.

Mixed-use - Development - Proposal - Community - Vision

“The mixed-use development proposal is consistent with the community vision outlined in the Alviso Specific Plan,” said Erik Schoennauer, a San Jose-based land-use and planning consultant. “The patented foundation system is indicative of the innovation...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Mercury News
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