Everyone who's worried about the disastrous forecasts of the effects of climate change all agree that the best approach is two-fold: we have to change our habits now and prepare for the future. Tingwei Xu and Xie Zhang, two students from UPenn, have heeded the call and come up with a design for the flooding that will apparently make Manhattan look like Venice around the year 2200. Their idea is for a gigantic membrane made from highly intelligent materials that can adapt to changing weather conditions to be installed throughout the lower lying parts of the city, rising up over the bases of buildings like webbing.
As opposed to rigid structures like levees, this "soft infrastructure" would absorb incoming flood waters with its "spongelike sidewalks, marshes and manmade islands." Waterproofing building sounds like a step in the right direction, but overall the concept is "totally zany...too zany, actually. We doubt the technology is there," says Suzanne LaBarre, senior editor at Co. Design. "Besides, imagine trying to convince New York landlords to cover their valuable storefronts in a giant holey bib. Not gonna happen."
I dunno—a giant holey bib sounds better than diving underwater for a bagel on the way to work, but Xu and Zhang clearly have some kinks to iron out. Luckily, they have 200 years to work on it.