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Sea level rise is a threat that affects thousands of cities located in coastal areas. Every year, natural events such as hurricanes cause severe floods that are, in many cases, the result of inadequate planning since construction is allowed on potentially flood-prone land without proper provisions.

Image 1: Floods in Port Arthur, Texas, after the passage of Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

As Tomonaga mentions, there are different ways to protect cities from floods. To the previously mentioned by my colleague (planned flood, flood-proof structures and hard barriers), we can also mention the natural restoration, which is a form of soft protection that generates a transition zone between the sea and the built areas, that also allows to stimulate biodiversity and introduce a landscape design for these areas (Sutton-Grier, A. E., 2018).

Case study: New York City Coastal Protection Plan

This project includes the creation of a green corridor along the coasts of the city, which combines flood protection with the generation of public space. New York suffered severe flooding due to Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and its geographical location makes it especially vulnerable to the gradual rise in sea level.

Image 2: Flood risk in New York
Image 3: Visualization of the project

The New York plan is an example of urban resilience, which is a term that refers to the capacity of cities to adapt and seek opportunities in the face of potential threats, by generating spaces for the enjoyment of people they reinforce their link with natural elements, especially in one of the most densely urbanized areas in the world.

Image 4: Concept diagram of the flood protection.

Image 5 and 6: Visualizations of flooding public spaces for New York plan.

Architizer (n.d.). The Dryline. Available at:

LafargeHolcim Foundation (2016). The Dryline Urban flood protection infrastructure. Available at:

Meerow, S., Newell, J. P., & Stults, M. (2016). Defining urban resilience: A review. Landscape and Urban Planning, 147, 38-49

New York City Government (2013).  New York City Coastal Protection Plan. Available at:

Sutton-Grier, A. E., Gittman, R. K., Arkema, K. K., Bennett, R. O., Benoit, J., Blitch, S., . . . Grabowski, J. H. (2018). Investing in natural and nature-based infrastructure: Building better along our coasts. Sustainability (Switzerland), 10(2).

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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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