Kaitlyn Lund

Climate change, contrary to the belief of the current administration and others in disbelief, is the greatest issue of our today. Its impacts will not only damage natural ecosystems but additionally will further exacerbate inequality, poverty, and political unrest globally just to name a few. However, we need to address the current and foreseen impacts of climate change now by implementing solutions sooner rather than later.

In San Francisco for example, rising sea levels are one of the biggest threats as most of the cities’ infrastructure, residences, and critical facilities exist on the coast. Without any further action, one of the arguably most beautiful and expensive cities in the U.S. will be underwater as the impacts of climate change worsen. Many efforts are already being undergone in order to prepare for these effects. This involves the city performing vulnerability and risk assessments in order to narrow down and identify the areas of greatest risk to flooding. With these assessments, the San Francisco Planning Department identified a vulnerability zone to pay further attention to. This includes the creation of seawalls in order to protect and engineer buildings from rising sea levels. However, other innovative methods of preparing for flooding include creating natural infrastructures to absorb excess water such as the restoration of wetlands and marshes to lessen the impact. San Francisco is also raising buildings and residences so that the rising tide may pass underneath structures without posing any harm to the infrastructure. Imagine the creation of docks that put homes above the water. These type of innovative solutions need to be further implemented.

The efforts of San Francisco, although far from perfect, show the capabilities of design and innovation when adapting to the impacts of climate change. These plans rise above the fear of climate change and are letting the impacts of climate change shape infrastructure so that we can build resilience to live with the effects of climate change.


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