As Okinawa and Kyushu prepare to take the brunt of what was until Monday categorized as a “super typhoon,” local infrastructure will be pushed to its limits, especially in Kyushu, where the area is saturated from heavy rains last week. — The Diplomat
Typhoon Neoguri is the strongest typhoon of the 2014 season, thus far. As it barrels through the Ryukyu island chain and towards mainland Japan, the storm is already taking its toll. Reports claim 25 people have been injured, thousands are without electricity, and 540,000 have been ordered to...
Aiming to avoid a humanitarian crisis, Kiribati recently purchased land in Fiji — about 1,200 miles away — where its residents would be relocated in the event that sea-level rise drowns the Pacific island nation and displaces its population of just over 100,000 people [...]
Contributing very little to the greenhouse gases that most scientists agree fuel climate change, Kiribati is among the least responsible for the present climate crisis. — Al Jazeera
As atmospheric CO2 levels near 402 ppm without any significant curtailing of industrial production by the major nations of the global economy, time is running out for many of the poorest and most vulnerable countries. The UN and other transnational bodies are beginning to seem like echo chambers...
U.S. disaster rebuilding has traditionally focused on merely replacing what has been lost. But a little-noticed federal design competition, Rebuild by Design, has done something different: engage communities to develop a more porous relationship between land and water that recognizes the dynamism of rising seas and more violent storms... — Al Jazeera
"...just as planning for response to an industrial accident doesn’t make an industrial accident more likely, so too planning for relocations should not make them more likely... It is .... likely that the slow-onset effects of climate change will lead many to voluntarily migrate in anticipation that conditions will worsen. Those who are left behind – and who will need government assistance to relocate – thus may be particularly vulnerable." — Brookings Institute
The pressure to start preparing for inevitable relocations due to global warming and the resultant rise in sea levels is growing for many communities around the world. For some, the time for preparation is already running out and the time for action is now. In the United States, the first "climate...
A major insurance company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments saying they knew of the risks posed by climate change and should have been better prepared. The class-action lawsuits raise the question of who is liable for the costs of global warming. [...]
“What the insurers are saying is: ‘We’re in the business of covering unforeseen risks... But we’re now at a point with the science where climate change is now a foreseeable risk.’” — washingtonpost.com
Last week I attended the seventh World Urban Forum in Medellín, Colombia, where more than 20,000 city leaders, urbanists, and planners from more than 160 countries met to discuss the future of cities across the globe. [...]
Unfortunately, a number of important countries, the U.S. and Canada among them, remain worryingly undecided about joining this widespread call for a city-specific SDG from countries as diverse as Germany, Colombia, and Ghana. — theatlanticcities.com
New York City and New Bern, North Carolina both face the same projected rise in sea levels, but while one is preparing for the worst, the other is doing nothing on principle. A glimpse into America's contradictory climate change planning. — spiegel.de
Architecture is stuck between past and future -- years of anticipatory planning designs a structure that, once constructed, is stuck referring to all that came before. A building can't actually predict the future, although it seems like the best ones always run the risk of trying. Jonathan...
I step out into the street but realize that I’d better not — there’s a current — and as my hallway fills, I remember the electrical panel in the basement. It shorts out, and I hear the breakers fall. Then there is an explosion outside, and the neighborhood goes dark. — Places Journal
In October 2012, as Hurricane Sandy approached New York, Alexandros Washburn defied evacuation orders and stayed fast in his home in Red Hook, watching as his street flooded and became a "full-fledged river." But he had good reason; the city's chief urban designer wanted to observe first-hand...
[It] is the same technology as we use in Holland. It’s made up of concrete caisson, boxes, a shoebox of concrete. We fill them with styrofoam. So with [these] you get unthinkable floating foundations [...]
The house itself is the same as a normal house, the same material. Then you want to figure out how to get water and electricity and remove sewage and use the same technology as cruise ships."
- Koen Olthuis — The Atlantic Cities
Dutch architect Koen Olthuis sees the future of architecture floating out to sea -- quite literally. Responding to undeniable ecological shifts of rising sea levels and seasonal flooding, Olthuis has proposed floatable-projects all along the social spectrum, designing prefabricated multi-use...
“The problem is we’re still building the city of the past,” says Jacob. “The people of the 1880s couldn’t build a city for the year 2000—of course not. And we cannot build a year-2100 city now. But we should not build a city now that we know will not function in 2100. There are opportunities to renew our infrastructure. It’s not all bad news. We just have to grasp those opportunities.” — dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com
Almost no one in America has heard of the Alaskan village of Kivalina. It clings to a narrow spit of sand on the edge of the Bering Sea, far too small to feature on maps of Alaska, never mind the United States.
Which is perhaps just as well, because within a decade Kivalina is likely to be under water. Gone, forever. Remembered - if at all - as the birthplace of America's first climate change refugees. — bbc.co.uk
By century's end, rising sea levels will turn the nation's urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin — rollingstone.com
We seem to have lost the political capacity to grapple with the big picture, the long range, the global scale. To a degree we've even lost the vocabulary. In design circles it's as if the perceived failures of mid 20th-century planning — exemplified by top-down urban renewal and personified by the power-brokering Robert Moses — have induced a kind of conceptual paralysis, an inability to formulate the public sector, or public works, in terms not beholden to a discredited history. — Places Journal
On Places, editor Nancy Levinson argues for an intensified political agenda for designers. As Barack Obama takes the oath of office for his second term, the longstanding tension between the pressing need for public action and the tenacious culture of privatization remains the critical dilemma of...
I looked back on resilience work designed for a Museum of Modern Art exhibition two years ago, called “Rising Currents.” It now seems prophetic.
Among the proposals by Susannah Drake of Dlandstudio and Stephen Cassell of Architecture Research Office was the “Sponge Slip,” which would have replaced a Lower Manhattan parking lot with a sunken park. The idea was to guide floodwaters into the park basin and away from the subway tunnels and electrical infrastructure that Sandy crippled. — bloomberg.com
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