State of the Planet Blog - Cities at a Turning Point (Earth Institute)
Scientists warn that manycities around the world may soon face big climate-change challenges: rising seas; shrinking water supplies; killer summer heatwaves;rises in water-borne diseases as temperatures go up and sewers are swamped. No one is predicting that, say,London orMiami will simply drop beneath the waves–but these and other citieswill probably have to be redesigned if they are to maintain their viability and vitality. A new book, Urban Climate Change Crossroads, explores what it might take to keep these places going. Published by the Earth Institute’s Urban Design Lab, with chapters by 18 contributors, the book was launched at this month’s Ecopolis conference in Rome.
In the lead chapter, architectRichard Plunz, head of the UDL, writes: The gamble for ecological survival has always been reliant on technology and design–and when the technological limits are obvious, the design adaptation has to be made. ... The design imperative appeared with Katrina in New Orleans. Now New York faces a moment of truth with hurricanes and sea-level rise. So does Bangkok, which is sinking as the sea rises. So does Quito, which is losing its water supply as the glaciers melt (fifteen years out). ... [but] how adaptation occurs goes beyond building seawalls; moving from flood plains; inventing more robust infrastructures.