PRINT Summer 2010


“Rising Currents”

POLAR ICE IS MELTING, warmer water is expanding, and coastal cities—confronted with projections of eroded coastlines and ever more frequent flooding—are grappling with the looming question of how to keep the water out. As early as 2004, researchers at Stony Brook University in New York were proposing the construction of three floodgates to protect New York Harbor. Sited at the Narrows between Brooklyn and Staten Island, at the upper end of the East River, and in the tidal strait between New Jersey and Staten Island, these defensive barriers would hem in the New York metropolitan area in the event of high water. While similar structures (such as the Delta Works in the Netherlands and the Thames Barrier in London) have proved effective in other coastal sites and are in development worldwide, the failure of New Orleans’s levees during Hurricane Katrina betrayed the potential hazards of this

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