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Building Cities that Withstand Superstorms

Matt Ball on February 1, 2013 - in Emergency

Climate change and rising sea levels weren’t on our radar 20 years ago, nor were the imminent dangers of storm destruction so vivid to urban residents today. Current analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy–like storms may become annual events by 2100, and 80 percent of potential exposure can be found in the 30 largest cities in the world–with Miami near the top of the list.

Of late, there’s been growing public attention on how to make our cities “resilient,” able to bounce back quickly from the regular assault of the unstable environment. Our FEMA-inspired requirements in Miami were simple–raise the building above the incoming water in what we perceived to be a very unlikely event. It was the aqueous equivalent of preparing a building for an earthquake. But now climate change-driven disasters have become the earthquakes of the modern age–yet fiercer, only slightly less predictable, and more resistant to the application of brute intellect, concrete, and steel. Can we think and build our way to urban resilience with more than simple rules like floor-level height? We have the talent and the technology, but those factors alone are insufficient for the task at hand.

Read more via Fast Co.DESIGN

Matt Ball

About Matt Ball

Matt Ball is founder and editorial director of V1 Media, publisher of Informed Infrastructure, Earth Imaging Journal, Sensors & Systems, Asian Surveying & Mapping and the video news site GeoSpatial Stream.

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