Look Into My Crystal Ball

Two themes have arisen in all my conversations with City Planners and scientists when talking about climate change:

  1. The impacts feel very far in the future to most citizens (which means there is a lack of urgency for action).
  2. It’s hard to show people the GOOD side of adapting to climate change. How do you show people how life can be improved through changes we can make? 

In 2012, San Francisco blogger Burrito Justice took both of these issues head on by generating a map of San Francisco in 2072, after 200 feet of sea level rise. The water increase is beyond any current projections (to the point of being farcical), but allows viewers to consider a drastically different landscape.


The map shows how utterly different the city will be. But also demonstrates how humans adapt: hills familiar to SF natives are now islands; favorite neighborhoods now covered by water provide the names of bays and capes. (A fan favorite of the map is Steam Anchorage, located where the current Steam Anchor brewery lives).

In addition to the map, he provides a fictional news report from the day. Life has gone on, as it always does. Taco trucks have become Taco Boats and still provide yummy snacks to urban workers; the city government has ceded prime land to an important local business.

In this fictional 2072, life has continued. The water kept rising but so did the people.

One of my goals with Martha’s (b)Rainstorm is to do the same: to show people a view of Boston in the future where life goes on in ways that are both different and the same; both awful to consider in terms of what we’ve lost, and beautiful to imagine in terms of what we might gain.

(Check out the Timesarticle on this map and more!)

To see Boston with only 6′ of sea level rise, turn to page 2020.
To see Boston with 200′ sea level rise, turn to the next page. 

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