Advisors: Timothy Stenson and Elizabeth Kamell

“Littoral” commonly refers to territory occupied by land and water, or sometimes by land, and sometimes by water, but it can also be understood more broadly. Things, geographies, concepts that are interstitial can be characterized as littoral, as thick boundaries. A river’s flood plain is littoral; so is the earth’s atmosphere. Littoral territories lie between ocean forces and the almost equally strong inertia of the land—terra firma. In the midst of violent fluctuation, where planet-scaled quantities of energy are spent, we squat—three billion people and counting, in increasingly vulnerable coastal locations. For millennia, water was a transportation infrastructure for colonization and trade. Now, it is a threat to 40% of the planet’s human population. Somehow, we are still managing to ignore the risk. We shield ourselves from evidence, we ignore facts, we stick heads in sand. We want the definite. We expect the unalterable. We want water that is cool, salty (and sweet), and predictable. We want rain, but not deluge. We want fire, but not wildfire. We want heat below boiling. What we get is Katrina, Harvey, Sandy, Andrew.

Climate change and population increase are combining to produce rapidly growing levels of distress and destruction within coastal regions, the planet’s littoral zones. Population increase and shift, with attendant increases in shoreline settlement, are placing ever-larger numbers of people and volume of construction in storm-vulnerable locations while simultaneously degrading the potential of these same coastal landscapes to absorb storm force. The intensity, frequency, complexity, and monumental tragedy of flooding disasters will not decrease. In fact, predictions are for the opposite. It is well established that rising global atmospheric and oceanic temperatures are linked to increasing carbon levels in the atmosphere. And further, that rising temperatures are changing global climate dynamics—wetter wets, drier dries, more frequent and powerful storms. As greenhouse is gases accumulate in the atmosphere, temperatures climb and climate change accelerates. These projects address sea-level rise in a variety of ways; some are dystopic and Biblical, others take cynical aim at the crisis of realpolitik. Each of them addresses the broad zone “in between.”

wednesday, december 15, 9am-4pm, room 208

9:00am Noah Bishop
9:45am Luying Peng & Cheng Liu
10:30am Ziyi Zhou
11:15am Yang Yang
12 noon Break
12:45pm Jonathan Reynolds
1:30pm Houston Parke
2:15pm Aly Abdel Baky