BEACH is an interactive installation that uses virtual reality experiences to transport visitors to new beaches in the world. As rising sea-levels reshape vast stretches of our coastline, the Beach as we know it will become a relic of the past. Based on the simulated storm surge level within the next one hundred years, many currently landlocked spaces will now become new beachfronts. Four sites on Harvard’s campus have been selected to imagine and visualize this future — Gund Hall, Memorial Hall, Widener Library and the Carpenter Center. We invite you to take part in experiencing these new beach experiences through virtual reality — a 360-degree juxtaposition of a future yet-to-be against familiar sites.
Sea Level Rise Caused by Climate Change
Sea level in Boston harbor has always been changing, however the current rate of sea level rise could be expedited by global climate change should mankind stay on a high-emission trajectory into the future. Over the past century, the relative sea level rise in Boston has been 12 inch, 4 inch of which is due to land subsidence. Other important causes of sea level rise include warm water expansion and ice sheet melting. As the plant gets warmer, ice “shelves” –tongues of ice sheet that reach out into the ocean- will gradually disappear. As a result, discharge of giant iceberg into the ocean will be more rapid, and sea level will rise by at least several meters in the next century. Here we adopt the projection that global sea level will rise 6 feet by 2100.
Flooding from Storm
Another impact of the global climate change is the increased intensity and frequency of major storm events. Storm surge on top of rising sea level will make waterfront areas in Boston more vulnerable. Here we assume a major storm event will increase sea level by additional 5 feet over the next 100 years.
1. Sea change: Boston. Sasaki Associates. http://www.sasaki.com/project/360/sea-change-boston/
2. Hansen, James. Storms of my grandchildren: the truth about the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2010.
3. Sheppard, Stephen RJ. "Landscape visualisation and climate change: the potential for influencing perceptions and behaviour." Environmental Science & Policy 8.6 (2005): 637-654.
Yaqing Cai, Joanne K. Cheung, Yujie Hong, Xindi Cindy Hu, Namju Lee, Jiabao Li, Jenny Shen, Jiho Song, Kally Wu