The phrases “melting polar ice caps” and “rising water lines” are so ubiquitous now that they’ve almost lost their meaning. It’s all too easy to think “it will happen to that city, not mine.” Well to give us a bit more perspective, Studio Lindfors has presented us with these hauntingly realistic post-flood visions of New York and Tokyo. In a future partially submerged by melting glacier water, gondolas reemerge as a form of travel, riverside plants nestle up against neon street signs, and aquaculture blooms under bridges. It’s Water World without Mel Gibson to ease the blow – scary.
Still the images are a bit soothing, like the calm landscapes of I am Legend or the long, poetic descriptions in Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us. But this post-apocalyptic landscape is very much populated by people: fishing, foraging, farming, boat-powered cityfolk. Hi-tech people-movers and blimps dot the sky over simple wooden boats. Lindfors also designed the exhibit for Design for the other 90%, so they’re familiar with simple, international solutions.
So yes, we adapt. We accept the loss of skyscraper ground floors everywhere, and start paddling. Regardless, it gives us the sense of more of a middle ground between the utopia-or-apocalypse scenarios that often arise in climate change debate.