Sea Level Rise, San Juan

Studies conducted by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) agree that sea level rise is directly linked to global warming.  In the last 100 years the planet has warmed by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit and sea levels have increased by 1 to 2 millimeters each year.

If current tendencies persist and temperatures continue to rise due to green house gases, the planet’s ice caps will melt at an accelerated pace.  For example, if the ice caps of Greenland were to melt completely, sea levels would increase by 7 meters, while a worldwide thawing would cause an increase of 80 meters.  This increase in sea levels implies drastic changes for coastal cities that will lead to the inevitable relocation of populations, infrastructure and, economic activity.

If sustainability has become the new paradigm in architecture, then climate change presents a new paradigm for urban design; this time, it is inevitable and it carries with it drastic consequences – something never before encountered in this field.  We begin our investigation with some hypothetical images of different sectors within San Juan, submerged in a new horizon that is 7 meters above the current sea level.

Leave a Reply