Land reclamation in Monaco
Land reclamation is done in Monaco because land is very scarce, as the nation is comparatively tiny, at 0.78 mi² (2.02 km²). To solve this problem and continue economic development, for years the country has been adding to its total land area by reclaiming land from the sea.
The entire district of Fontvieille was constructed on land reclaimed from the sea in the 1970s. It is the newest of the four traditional quartiers (districts) in the principality of Monaco, and one of ten Wards for modern administrative purposes. It is located in the western part of Monaco.
Prince Albert's father, Rainier III, was known as the "Builder Prince". In an attempt to further develop the economy of Monaco, he first supported the idea of land reclamation. Since it was impossible to extend into France, the only solution was to reclaim land from the sea. First, the Larvotto beach district was created in the early 1960s, then the Fontvieille industrial area, increasing the principality's surface area by approximately 20 percent. More recently, Port Hercules has been extended to welcome larger cruise ships on one side, and to provide land for a new Yacht Club on the other.
Prince Albert II is currently planning to reclaim even more land. He intends to build into the Mediterranean to create a new area about 12.5 acres in size. The new district will extend from the Fontvieille district at the western foot of the 'rock', where Monaco's palace and historic centre are situated. The project will cost an estimated €11 billion. It was suspended in 2009 due to the global financial crisis and the prince's concerns regarding the marine environment. However, the project was resumed in 2010 and is expected to be completed by 2014.
Monaco's coastline on the Mediterranean is already a fragile and vulnerable environment. Any further land reclamation projects threaten to disturb or damage the coastal ecosystem. Monaco's leaders have approached the prospect of further land reclamation with caution and have stated that new projects would have to meet strict environmental standards to limit damage to flora and wildlife.