CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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How prepared are American cities for increased natural disasters? Over the years, Americans have insisted on expanding and building cities and suburbs in locations that are clearly threatened by natural hazards. This week’s monster tornado in Oklahoma demonstrates this. Cities and states have encouraged people to live in these areas through city planning, architectural design, and the so-called need for “economic development.”

Thus, instead of encouraging people to not live in these hazard zones, city leaders have created methods to help people survive relatively normal lives there. Houses in California must meet specific earthquake design standards, buildings in Oklahoma have “safe rooms,” and countless structures must be stable enough to handle floods and erosion along American coastlines. These are adaptations. Not good adaptations (I believe people should not be encouraged to live in these areas), but there it is.

With the climate changing, the impacts on communities are likely to increase. Incidences of natural disasters are expected to rise, costing many lives and causing a need for an endless stream of disaster aid.

Researchers at MIT teamed up with the non-profit ICLEI to survey cities around the world. The goal was to compare how they were adapting to climate change impacts, or preparing for future impacts. Progress, the researchers found, is very slow in the US, while cities around the world are far more advanced. 

It’s a great read, very visual so if you don’t have time you can skim it.

Survey: U.S. Cities Report Increase in Climate Change Impacts, Lag Global Cities in Planning

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