New York is building a wall to hold back the ocean

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  • Published: 10 June 2019
  • Climate change is leading to increasingly violent storms. Can seawalls hold back floods?

    Join the Video Lab! bit.ly/video-lab

    Staten Island recently received funding for a nearly 5-mile-long seawall to protect its coast. But the plan raises a lot of questions. We’re living in a dangerously dynamic world: Hurricanes are getting worse, wildfires are rampant in California, extreme heat is melting roads in India, and sea levels continue to rise. Will a wall really be enough to protect our coastal cities?

    Alissa Walker from Curbed talked to us about how it’s too late to stop the changing climate, but not too late to change how we think about infrastructure.

    Check out some further reading from our sister site, Curbed.com:

    curbed.com/2017/2/15/14616928/trump-nasa-climate-change-california
    ny.curbed.com/2019/4/25/18515213/staten-island-usace-seawall-climate-change-photo-essay

    For more research and climate-related content:
    c2es.org/content/hurricanes-and-climate-change/
    climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/
    reuters.com/article/us-japan-disaster-seawalls/seven-years-after-tsunami-japanese-live-uneasily-with-seawalls-idUSKCN1GL0DK

    And for more on seawalls:
    scientificamerican.com/article/after-a-14-billion-upgrade-new-orleans-levees-are-sinking/
    news.mongabay.com/2018/06/on-indias-kerala-coast-a-man-made-solution-exacerbates-a-natural-problem/

    Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out vox.com.

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Comments • 2 815

  • Vox
    Vox   2 weeks back

    This piece was a collaboration with our sister-site, Curbed! Check out the original article here: https://ny.curbed.com/2019/4/25/18515213/staten-island-usace-seawall-climate-change-photo-essay


    And for more information on how to build a resilient city check out Alissa Walker’s piece https://www.curbed.com/2017/2/15/14616928/trump-nasa-climate-change-california


    - Kim

    • LONNIE DOBBINS
      LONNIE DOBBINS  2 days back

      @BLAIR M Schirmer
      Thank you!
      I wanted to read the comments and find someone that's actually thinking what all of this means.
      They're talking of building a wall around Staten Island Only. *What About The City?*
      What are they going to do for it?
      *Walls Are Impossible All Over The City!*
      They can raise homes up higher but not skyscrapers!
      Right now we need TOTAL Suspension Of All Emissions Just To Keep It From Being Worse. It's to late to stop it now.
      They need to think about moving.

  • Emmanuel Cabrera
    Emmanuel Cabrera  2 hours back

    All cause the reefs arr dieing. Reefs actually help contain this

    • Tise Ignite
      Tise Ignite  7 hours back

      It's just a waste of money. If the storm wanted to it could just dig a tunnel and sneak in. I'm just saying. 😧

      • Maria Gray
        Maria Gray  10 hours back

        The video: we are preparing for climate disasters of the future
        Me: well there wouldn’t be any disasters if we actually stopped destroying our planet

        • destiny velasco
          destiny velasco  16 hours back

          you know what we should just build a wall around the whole United states. then we can be on attack on titan.

          • The Resistance
            The Resistance  16 hours back

            What about offshore wind farms

            • YesIM mexican
              YesIM mexican  19 hours back

              Nothing comes good out of it when you challenge mother nature.

              • mike8055
                mike8055  23 hours back

                Building walls could make the waves/sea more powerful. Didn't the levees around the Mississippi river get breached because of that? When you try to stop nature, it just gets more aggressive.

                • Nico_Sama
                  Nico_Sama  24 hours back

                  Climate hits back with equal force because that's how physics work.

                  • Jerry Fitness
                    Jerry Fitness  1 days back

                    Trump: Did somebody say building a wall??!???

                    • Ilove Chocolate
                      Ilove Chocolate  1 days back

                      Why didn't they plant a mangrove forest?

                      • DJ Wise Pariah
                        DJ Wise Pariah  1 days back

                        Because, you know, it's not like the water can't just go AROUND the wall.

                        • cesar martinez
                          cesar martinez  1 days back

                          Nature: *Hurricane*
                          Humans: *Wall*
                          Climate change: Not on my watch! *makes intense hurricanes bigger then before*
                          Humans: meh

                          • Syd Clark
                            Syd Clark  1 days back

                            We live in a massive world, with land that nobody has ever stood on, yet we build on wetlands.

                            • Badr eddin
                              Badr eddin  2 days back

                              _So how many walls do you want?_


                              USA: *Yes*

                              • Herb Tenderson
                                Herb Tenderson  2 days back

                                Damn, thank God that the hurricane on September 11th 2001 decided to stop and then go the other way.

                                • Morgan Yoite
                                  Morgan Yoite  2 days back

                                  Make aquaman pay for it

                                  • Scarlet Inky
                                    Scarlet Inky  2 days back

                                    I wonder if that was what Trump meant by a great wall

                                    • Ryan Rodriguez
                                      Ryan Rodriguez  2 days back

                                      Resiliency is just the newest buzzword of landscape architecture and urban design. Cities need to work. Period. Now, tomorrow, and 100 years from now. Green infrastructure has been around for a while and resiliency is just a different way of saying it

                                      • Ryan Rodriguez
                                        Ryan Rodriguez  2 days back

                                        As someone with a masters degree in this area and have done studies on Jamaica bay in New York, I can say that a wall won’t fix anything. The problem with the New York coast is that it 1. Has no protection from storm surge which can be mitigated by land features such as man made sand dunes which would direct water where you want and 2. When water finally enters the land, it takes to long for it to leave. A solution rather than a single wall is creating infrastructure within the actual land rather than the coast for flooding. Infrastructure that will help guide water to a specific destination using the natural topography of the land.

                                        A single wall will only be as good as we can build it and eventually nature will become stronger. Some ideas here were good, but definitely not the wall.

                                        • camjamsdad
                                          camjamsdad  2 days back

                                          Walls don't work.
                                          Walls are immoral.

                                          • colonelmcdoogle
                                            colonelmcdoogle  2 days back

                                            That’s very oceanphobic of them.

                                            • Pathfinder Hazel
                                              Pathfinder Hazel  3 days back

                                              I wonder what the designers of these seawalls think.

                                              • Patrick Radcliffe
                                                Patrick Radcliffe  3 days back

                                                Build on fill and it starts settling below the water nice try pinning that on global warming.

                                                • Thomas Marshall
                                                  Thomas Marshall  3 days back

                                                  All of my cousins and extended family (225 people) live within the 5 Burroughs. I’m from Brooklyn originally. My cousins condo was on Mob Wives when Sandy hit. A boat washed up on the front stairs of her condo and they showed it on that episode. The island got trashed.

                                                  Anyway, I know Staten Island well. There is no way to keep the water back unless you put up a wall around the entire island. It’s below sea level in many parts. Putting up a 5 mile stretch of wall is the dumbest thing they could do. It’s just going to go around the damn thing.

                                                  • Ruben Bronco
                                                    Ruben Bronco  3 days back

                                                    WTF AMERICA, why don’t you use the Metric System wtfff

                                                    • Sven Lima
                                                      Sven Lima  3 days back

                                                      Build a 1mile high waterproof wall around the USA - and fill it up with water.

                                                      • Purple Purp
                                                        Purple Purp  3 days back

                                                        So walls work to keep stuff out?

                                                        • JC Korn
                                                          JC Korn  3 days back

                                                          Something tells me we were nomadic for a reason.....

                                                          • JC Korn
                                                            JC Korn  3 days back

                                                            So.....walls.....work?
                                                            I was told they don’t.

                                                            • S.A anderson
                                                              S.A anderson  4 days back

                                                              Building walls dont solve the problem its just kicking the can down the road

                                                              • Might Guy
                                                                Might Guy  4 days back

                                                                Scroll down, the comments will not disappoint.

                                                                • Draw Clearly
                                                                  Draw Clearly  5 days back

                                                                  Staten Island said: 🧠🚫

                                                                  • Skull
                                                                    Skull  5 days back

                                                                    Walls don’t work

                                                                    • mechadoggy
                                                                      mechadoggy  5 days back

                                                                      What happened to most of the comments?

                                                                      • Boshua Borman
                                                                        Boshua Borman  5 days back

                                                                        Jesus Christ, why not try and stop the climate change as well?

                                                                        • Boshua Borman
                                                                          Boshua Borman  4 days back

                                                                          Damn I should've thought about that.

                                                                        • Enuka Pasan
                                                                          Enuka Pasan  4 days back

                                                                          Maybe cuz Jesus Christ can't stop climate change ?

                                                                      • Brass
                                                                        Brass  5 days back

                                                                        Humans: *Builds cities on wetlands*


                                                                        Nature: *Hurricane*


                                                                        Humans" "wHy Is ThErE fLoOdInG????"

                                                                        • Logan Butcher
                                                                          Logan Butcher  5 days back

                                                                          Donald Trump would approve

                                                                          • Soleon
                                                                            Soleon  5 days back

                                                                            what is it with america and its obsession with building walls to solve its problems

                                                                            • Livovian Order Mapping

                                                                              Tsunami: **im gonna end this whole man’s career**

                                                                              • Countryman99 Rhec
                                                                                Countryman99 Rhec  5 days back

                                                                                They just admitted that walls work so why don't they want to agree that the wall on the southern border would work

                                                                              • Der Headbanger
                                                                                Der Headbanger  5 days back

                                                                                Do we all agree that fixing the symptoms is way more important than fixing the cause?

                                                                                • Rafael Palacio
                                                                                  Rafael Palacio  6 days back

                                                                                  How much time is there until when the weather becomes so destructive that people can't be living in parts of the country

                                                                                  • Federico Zorrozua González

                                                                                    As an architect I have to say this a terrible solution. The wall will cost millons and it won’t have the capacity to be “””resilient””” in time, because its fixed and is not able to adaptate to the change of tides. It also harms the natural ecosystems that interact in the coast. (oysters, plants, birds). This infraestructural point of view was rendered obsolete in the early 2000, when landscape urbanism came as a new way of thinking the relationship of the urban with nature. Landscape, rather than infrastructure, is much more capable of dealing with the tide because of the simple fact that right now it’s already doing it. The city should invest in landscape architecture solutions that could mediate the relationship between the coast and the water in a more “soft” way, capable of adapting, growing and shrinking as needed. A wonderful example of this approach is the dutch project called Zandmotor, a huge mass of sand that is moved by the tide to where is needed and prevents flooding. I think building a wall is going back to modernism, and we all know how that ended. Hard infrastructure can’t deal with tides because it cannot respond.

                                                                                    • 홍성탁
                                                                                      홍성탁  6 days back

                                                                                      Nah, we'll make OCEAN PAYING FOR IT!

                                                                                  • Ronald Cates
                                                                                    Ronald Cates  6 days back

                                                                                    Global Warming is a Hoax . . . Period 🔴

                                                                                    • cd
                                                                                      cd  6 days back

                                                                                      They preparing for invasion :P

                                                                                      • J Squad Vlogs
                                                                                        J Squad Vlogs  6 days back

                                                                                        Just drain the water and move it somewhere else . . . Duh 🙄

                                                                                        • kakuella
                                                                                          kakuella  6 days back

                                                                                          Building those walls are going to change the eco system there too.. Not sure what's more beneficial for long term 🙄🤔