Plans to build 20 000 new homes in The Thames Estuary in the United Kingdom which would add another 0.5 million people to the existing 1.5 million living under high risk of flooding caught my attention. Its metropolitan expansion beyond existing sea defences into vulnerable low lying land raised the question of how we should build/adapt cities for the future in which we can allow metropolises to expand but also combat flooding and the effects of climate change.
Based on maximum water level predictions by the Environment Agency UK of 2.7 meter by the end of this century, the diagrams above speculate on how a rise in sea level of 1, 2, and 3 meter would affect the Thames Estuary. The black areas indicate all low lying land that could disappear due to the rising sea.
The existing edge of East and South-East England have sea walls constructed along the coast forming a barrier between land and water. As a result of climate change storm surges will be more intense in the future with worst case scenario of the sea walls being overtopped.
Proposed here is an extended coastline with the use of soft-infrastructure to provide effective storm surge and wave absorption. It accepts a blurring of the edge between land and water and exist of terraced naturally occurring vegetated zones that offers a buffer zone to the existing shore line preventing erosion and accommodating tidal changes.
The existing condition of some of the coastlines along the south-east of England amongst recreational activities. With tides coming more inland in the future it will form a danger for the houses build near the coastline.
Super groins is a proposal that combines hard and soft infrastructure together and forms large strips of wetland placed perpendicular to the coastline and hold together by wooden robust frames. The frames stretches up to 500 meters into the sea and are suitable for absorbing waves.