Rethinking Urban Landscapes To Adapt to Rising Sea Levels
By Winifred Bird
02 March 2016
Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty
Kristina Hill, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Urban Design, was interviewed by Yale Environment 360 about her vision for modifying coastal communities, the limits to adaptation, and the promise of “cyborg landscapes.” She advocates blending natural ecosystems and human-made infrastructure to help cities adjust to rising tides.
Sea levels are rising faster than they have in at least 28 centuries, according to recent research, and by 2100, they are expected to rise by one to four feet — possibly even higher. If emissions go unchecked and polar ice sheets melt on a large scale, global sea levels could climb by dozens of feet in the coming centuries.
In the interview Hill argues that cities need to start planning now for impacts that will happen 50 or 100 years in the future. “It takes decades for us to get our act together and build things,” says Hill. "Future generations won’t have the luxury of decades. They’re going to be coping with two feet of sea level rise over 25 years, potentially.”