ATLANTIS source http://atlantis.haktanir.org/ch3.html

The idea of inhabiting the planets oceans and seas is a fascinating one that has been dealt with by designers and philosophers for centuries. Noah’s Ark, Atlantis, and most recently movies such as Water world have all dealt with inhabiting the water . Today land reclamation, dam habitations, and floating structures exist but remain underplayed in the urban planning and development strategies of flood mitigation in coastal cities. 

The Mediterranean sea will rise between 10mm to 20mm/ year on the coast of Lebanon in its best case scenario!

 Yet flood mitigation and utopic dreams of inhabiting the waters might become a must with the continuous rise of the sea levels. Strong evidence shows that global sea level will rise at an increased rate due to thermal expansion of ocean water and of the melting of land ice. Bindoff et al. (2007) states that Global sea level has been rising at a rate of 1.7mm/yr during the 20th century, and increased to a rate of 3mm/yr since. Specifically, the Mediterranean Sea, during the 21st century, is expected to become saltier and rise drastically (Marcos and Tsimplis 2008).  The map above shows a rise around the coast of Lebanon of about 10mm/year! This will imply that if we do not start dealing with the sea level rise a large part of Beirut will become under water by the next millennium. 

Beirut coast line today Beirut coast line in 1000 years

The next few entries will address Beirut, a coastal city situated along the Eastern Mediterranean coast at 33.5°N and 35.5°E.  Beirut's location and environmental condition sets it in the zone that will rise between 10 to 20mm/year in the best case scenario.  To start understanding this rise and the effects a look at Beirut's topography is required. Mapping the rise of the Mediterranean on Beirut. regarding its topography displays the results. The results are shocking and yet we remain unaware of them. What can we do and how can we build and plan our cities for the centuries to come?

Downtown Beirut in the next millenniums

 The reality of losing  coastal communities that  are an intrinsic part of our histories, contribute to the  economy, and are home to millions of residents should awaken us. Moreover, this should encourage us to start thinking of the future of our cities . The following entries are designed to provoke longer term thinking across a wide audience: from architects to government, to policy-makers, to planners, engineers and the general public.

Bindoff, N.L., J. Willebrand, V. Artale, A, Cazenave, J.M. Gregory, S. Gulev, K. Hanawa, C. Le Quéré, S. Levitus, Y. Nojiri, C.K. Shum, L.D. Talley, and A.S. Unnikrishnan. 2007. Observations: Oceanic Climate Change and Sea Level. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor, and H.L. Miller, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
Marcos, M. and Tsimplis, M.N. 2008. Comparison of results of AOGCMs in the Mediterranean Sea during the 21st century. Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans, 113 (12), art. no. C12028.


  1. The future rise of the sea water level in now taken more seriously into account in the design of sea-side cities and new waterfronts. After the last flooding, the city of Jeddah is working on total water management policies and action plans.
    On Beirut new waterfront, the sea defense is terraced on 3 levels. The caisson structure is designed with a height of 5.5 m... Not sure it is a 1000 year-plan though :-)

  2. well i think solidere already thought about that no?? they have at least thought about some kind of long term gains from what they did already to the waterfront..