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Can Your City Survive The Apocalypse

Rebuild By Design, launched in the wake of Sandy to discover and implement resilience measures, has initiated wide-ranging projects worth almost a billion dollars across the Northeast. These include the ‘Meadowlands’ led by MIT that would cultivate natural buffers as flood defenses in New Jersey, while the grandest scale project would protect Manhattan with a re-designed waterfront including water-based social spaces, waterproofed buildings and additional bridges.

Survive-The-ApocalypseRebuild by Design looked to the Netherlands for inspiration, which has always faced the threat of water damage and has been at the forefront of developing solutions.


  • Olthuis hopes to address poverty through his designs, and plans floating resources for slums in the Maldives.
  • This 'tsunami proof house'  from Designs Northwest Architects creates allows flood water in and out without causing serious damage.
  • Boston could be underwater by 2100, so 'Living with water' competition seeks to re-imagine the city for a new age.
  • The scheme emerged from a Rebuild by Design competition, which also proposed solutions for the Hoboken area, making an asset of flood water.
  • Dutch architect Koen Olthuis is at the forefront of these efforts and his designs are widely used in his homeland.
  • New York faces increasing threats from hurricanes, storms and flooding. A new $335 million project is being implemented to disaster-proof the metropolis.
  • One popular idea for resilience in areas affected by rising waters is artificial islands, as with this concept from architect Vincent Callebaut.
  • Shigeru Ban has won prizes for his low cost emergency relief designs, including paper partitions in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.


Dutch architect Koen Olthuis has pioneered an approach of building on the water itself, creating floating structures on a foundation of foam and concrete, using ‘scarless’ techniques that don’t damage the environment. His designs are in development from a hotel off Norway to a community in the Maldives, and the concept of building islands has become popular around the world.

About the author

Urban Survival Times Contributer

At Urban Survival Times our mission is to be the best survival blog providing a vast array of knowledge, tactics, and skills in the survival and preparedness fields, to any and all who wish to become more prepared for whatever may come.

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