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How should New York City deal with rising sea levels? Five designers duke it out

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How should a low-lying city like New York deal with the rising sea levels associated with global warming? Five design and architecture firms devise solutions.

How should a low-lying city like New York deal with the rising sea levels associated with global warming?

Regardless of your political stance on global warming, we can all agree that rising sea levels threaten the highly populated urban areas that line our nations' shores. From Venice to Miami, Mumbai to Osaka, Tokyo to New Orleans, it's clear that many of the world's most picturesque cities are also the most vulnerable -- along with the millions upon millions of residents that call them home.

But this is no movie -- this is the real deal. What's the smartest way we can help preserve our most vulnerable coastal cities?

Barry Bergdoll, head of the architecture and design department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, tasked five leading designers with devising a solution for that city, located on the edge of the northeastern United States, an area twice as susceptible to rising sea levels, according to a 2009 Florida State University study.

The challenge: Figure out how a low-lying metropolis can handle rising sea levels and violent storm surges.

Their answers: Everything from sponge-like porous streets, to recycled reefs, to oyster farms to simply building right on top of the water.

Here's Adam Yarinsky and Stephen Cassell from the city's Architecture Research Office, or ARO, explaining the solutions with dlandstudio's Susannah Drake:

The five firms' solutions are as follows:

All five will be featured in the upcoming MoMa exhibit, "Rising Currents: Projects for New York's Waterfront," which opens on March 24.

[via New York]

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Andrew Nusca

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Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure