We’ve often accused Shanghai of trying too hard to emulate the other great metropolises of the world: London, New York, Paris. But it seems that, more and more, the city it will most likely resemble is Venice. According to a recent article by the Associated Press:
Shanghai, altitude roughly 3 meters (10 feet) above sea level, is among dozens of great world cities — including London, Miami, New York, New Orleans, Mumbai, Cairo, Amsterdam and Tokyo — threatened by sea levels that now are rising twice as fast as projected just a few years ago, expanding from warmth and meltwater. Estimates of the scale and timing vary, but Stefan Rahmstorf, a respected expert at Germany’s Potsdam Institute, expects a 1-meter (3-foot) rise in this century and up to 5 meters (15 feet) over the next 300 years.
A disproportionate amount of the world’s population lives in coastal areas, lured by the prospect of ocean views and sea breezes, and China is no different. Shanghai epitomizes this trend, with most of the city’s development occurring barely above sea level.
We’ve talked before about how Lujiazui is sinking (and we’re not the only ones who are worried). Shanghai officials have been visiting London and the Netherlands to see their water barriers and how they could implement such ideas into the city’s infrastructure, but otherwise it seems like little has been done to bolster the city in the face of rising sea levels. Instead, city planners have been carving the city up with new airports, highways, subways, and ridiculously huge buildings crisscrossing the city.
During the storms this summer and the typhoons this fall, we’ve all seen how easily Shanghai floods during an intense downpour. We can only hope that the rubber dinghy we like to mess around in during those floods doesn’t become our permanent form of transportation.
Also on Shanghaiist:
Achtung Achtung! Shanghai sinking
Shanghai submerged… but not really.