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San Francisco As It Will Be
San Francisco

We don't know if our readers are as interested in coastlines as we are, but we do want to point out a new competition to generate ideas for a near-future San Francisco and environs inundated by sea level rise caused by climate change and with a population perhaps too unwilling to be displaced.

To grapple with the realities of sea level rise, a new suite of shoreline design concepts is needed. The Rising Tides ideas competition seeks responses to various design challenges, such as: How do we build in an area that is dry now, but that may be wet in the future? How do we retrofit existing shoreline infrastructure such as shipping ports, highways, airports, power plants and wastewater treatment plants? Can we imagine a different shoreline configuration or settlement pattern that allows temporary inundation from extreme storm events? And how do we provide flood protection inland of marshes without drowning the wetland when the water rises?

We're hoping not to see stilts and barges, because there are just too many of those littering other ideas competitions. How about more of this and less of this? But then again, we'll be eating everything up — any and all ideas — with sustained glee: monstrous Army Corps megaengineering; the Golden Gate Dam; stilt forests; mobile sewers; genetically modified water sucking post-arboreals; SpongeOakland; San Francisco, Utah; bay-to-river-to-rivulets land reclamation; Climate Refugee ID cards for an odd/even year system of temporary displacement; walking houses; container wetlands as wildlife preserves and wastewater treatment plants; The Super Awesome Supersurface of Super Awesomeness.

Submission entries must be postmarked by June 29.

  • Anonymous
  • May 6, 2009 at 2:37:00 PM CDT
  • Thinking that clever design will even begin to mitigate this problem is a very ivory tower perspective.

    Consider the social and economic implications of a society unraveling as cities drown. Do you really think that architecture will have much to offer? Shouldn't we focus on building sustainable social skills and food/water supplies if we as a species intend to survive?

    As you write "a population perhaps too unwilling to be displaced". This type of thinking due to either lack of initiative, laziness, or inability to move does not speak well for our survival as a species.

    We'll go down in designer prefab....

  • a.e
  • May 7, 2009 at 2:50:00 AM CDT
  • I think that "sustainable social skills and food/water supplies" would be completely useless if we're neck deep in water. Architecture could offer a lot.

    Also, I don't think that being "unwilling to be displaced" is caused by the factors you suggest. Perhaps it's more to do with senitment and territoriality. Which are not bad in themselves but of course could potentially be foolishness in light of the problems at hand.

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