Above the Rising Seas: 13 Climate Change Concepts

Climate change is already causing the seas to rise fast, and cities around the world – from New York to Bangkok – are at risk of being inundated. How can we prepare for these effects, and preserve all of the functions of a bustling metropolis? These 13 fascinating architectural concepts include membranes that wrap around the base of Manhattan, artificial islands for the Maldives, innovative levees for San Francisco and huge floating cities that can produce their own food.

Latticework Bib to Protect New York City

(images via: inhabitat)

Can latticework ‘bibs’ save Manhattan buildings from the rising sea levels caused by climate change? Designers Tingwei Xu and Xie Zhang of the University of Pennsylvania think so, envisioning a network of draping membranes planted with trees that can soak up and divert water away from the surface of the city. Acting as a soil substitute, the membranes would essentially create marshes and wetlands that form a protective barrier around the city to prevent it from being inundated by floodwaters.

New Aqueous City: A Vision for New York

(images via: treehugger)

Here’s another cool idea for New York City’s possibly watery future: ‘New Aqueous City’, designed by nArchitects as part of a the ‘Rising Currents’ project sponsored by MoMA and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. The design brings much of Manhattan’s basic functions out onto the water, embracing an Amsterdam sort of arrangement in which canals become an essential part of the city. Porous streets could drain rainwater and stormwater into protective wetlands, making water “the new connective tissue between the city and the harbor.”

Global Warming City: 70 Meters Above Sea Level

(images via: evolo.us)

If a true catastrophe occurs and the land is entirely flooded, Earth’s population will have three choices for their new civilizations: under water, floating on the surface, or rising sky-high. This concept takes the latter approach, creating a ‘secondary city’ nearly 230 feet above sea level. City(e)scape, by Turkish architects Sinan Gunay and Mustafa Bulgur, takes city functions to a highly sci-fi looking structure in the sky. Details are scarce, so it’s hard to say just how practical this particular design would be, but vertical living is definitely a viable idea.

Hydrotower: Sustainable Skyscraper on Water

(images via: evolo.us)

Massive artificial leaves spread out from a vertical tower in this concept for a sustainable skyscraper on the water. ‘Hydrotower’ would be connected to the land via bridges or piers, sitting on a floating base that turns sea currents into power. Largely self-contained, the tower would include housing as well as places to work, play and row food. The ‘leaves’ would presumably collect water and/or solar and wind energy.

Rising Islands for the Maldives

(images via :inhabitat)

The rising seas may just take over the Maldives some day, as these 1200 islands are no more than six feet above sea level. As the island nation works to educate its citizens on climate change and begins building walls around each island, the government is also working with Dutch architects Waterstudio.NL on plans for floating artificial islands. These tiered star-shape islands certainly can’t ever replace the natural beauty of the Maldives, but they would be able to house the nation’s residents and still provide a tourist destination complete with pools and golf courses.


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