Space & Innovation

Ingenious Plans to Cope With Warming: Photos

Here are some possible ways to cope with hotter temperatures, rising sea levels and changes in precipitation patterns.

It's becoming increasingly apparent that we're not going to be able to avoid climate change and its potentially catastrophic effects, such as rising sea levels, more violent storms and droughts. So across the world, people are trying to rebuild to be more resilient in the face of what's to come. Here are some of the most ingenious designs for climate-proofing. After Hurricane Sandy battered New York City and surrounding communities in 2012, the U.S. government launched the Rebuild By Design competition to help make the region more resilient. One winning proposal, the BIG U plan, would build an elevated berm around 10 miles of low-lying lower Manhattan that would not only block floodwaters, but serve as a green space recreation area.

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Climate change could also alter precipitation patterns and result in potentially ruinous droughts as well. One possible solution: Condensation towers, such as this one envisioned by then-University of Kansas architect and computer scientist Fritz Helbert in 2012, could capture moisture from the atmosphere.

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In other places, climate change already is causing increased rainfall. The Velopark, part of London's Olympic complex, has a roof that's designed to harvest rainwater for purification and reuse as drinking water.

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The low-lying Netherlands already has a lot of experience dealing with flooding. The city of Rotterdam is building floating, bubble-domed structures that would be impervious to storms and rise with the floodwaters.

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Singapore's Garden by the Bay has "super trees" -- vertical gardens that collect solar energy, harvest rainwater and work as a natural cooling system as the planet's temperature rises.

In Thailand, architecture firm Site-Specific Co Ltd. designed this "amphibious house" for Thailand's National Housing Authority, which has steel steel pontoons filled with Styrofoam in the foundation. The design would enable houses and apartment buildings to rise up to 6 feet off the ground during flooding.

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