In recent years HSH Prince Albert II has become an environmentalist with the creation of his Monaco Foundation for the Environment and his recent award as Europe's "Champion of the Earth" by the United Nations. However all is not well at home in Monaco... First there is a little matter about the Grand Prix Formula 1 car races being held there this weekend. But even more pressing, the tiny tax-free haven for the super rich is over-crowded and has run out of space. Perched on the side of a cliff, the second smallest country in the world after the Vatican is in need of more land to expand.
The answer is the creation of an island on stilts, jutting out from the coast. In addition to the luxury apartments, designer shops and yacht club, there will also be a museum, all designed by the super-star architects of the moment such as Norman Foster and IM Pei. But what about the flora and fauna, the marine environment and potential damage to the ecosystem. The Terre Bleu NGO says that the project risks damaging the coral reserves and sea plants along the coast. They said "If a new development is simply placed on top of the sea where these ecosystems are, they will be starved of the light that gives them life. That is very difficult to defend." The official response is that the new neighbourhood will be built over areas where "nothing remarkable" grows. "Not only will we protect the ecosystem but we will actually better the environment by putting in man-made reefs to allow species to thrive." This will be one to watch. :: The Guardian
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