World Urbanism Day

In honor of World Urbanism Day (aka Town Planning Day), I thought it would be interesting to take a look at what might become of some of the world's great cities if global warming's worst case scenario came to pass. Scientists estimate that, were all of the ice caps and snow pack on earth to melt, the sea level would be somewhere between 230-260 feet (70-80 m) higher than it is today.

While no one reading this post is likely to see this kind of damage, it's interesting to imagine what today's cities would look like in such a radically different world -- but the scale is so vast that it's hard to fathom. The following is a simple visualization of the landscapes of twelve major coastal cities around the world in three imagined futures: red overlays represent areas that will be submerged after a 50 foot (15.2 m) sea level rise; orange overlays represent areas submerged after a 150 foot (45.7 m) rise; and yellow overlays represent areas submerged after a full 250 foot (76.2 m) rise. The colors represent the fire-like spread of the ocean inland. Take these pictures for what you will; they are what they are.

While many of the cities represented were included for their global importance today, the visual impact of the colored overlays played a big part in determining what cities made the list. The numbers below each square image describe the approximate length of one side in miles/kilometers.

New York City, United States

Montreal, Canada

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

London, Great Britain

Stockholm, Sweden

Istanbul, Turkey

Mumbai, India

Sydney, Australia

Hong Kong, China

Pyongyang, North Korea

Tokyo, Japan


The images above were created using Google Maps and a filter from Hey What's That dot com.

World Urbanism Day (Wikipedia)

Google Maps

HeyWhatsThat.com (EDIT: I found a direct link to the tool that I used.)


Anonymous said...

This demonstration, alas simple, of flooding, should raise some eyebrows. I will like to know how it was done, I will like to see what the panorama will be like for Panama, a coastal capital of Republic of Panama *yes the one with the Canal*. Thanks in advance.

Brendan Crain said...

Sure thing. I whipped up a version of Panama City HERE.

As for the tool I used to make these images, it was created by HeyWhatsThat.com for Google Maps, and can be found HERE.