Urban Flood Protection: 

Urban Flood Protection
Begins with ...
                                                                THE FINAL FRONTIER……………….
                                                                                                          tm StarTrek franchise
What has space got to do with it?
Space is a Cities’ most precious resource. 
We don't need to be wasting it on traditionally space hungry levees, view destroying flood walls, or 100 miles of surge absorbing swamps.
What we need is a flood wall that rises to the occasion, and disappears afterwards.

In our past we pushed our technological and sociological barriers and created the modern urban idiom, skyscrapers.

In our future, we need to again push technology to create and society to embrace a new urban idiom, a rising shore line.
Levees, flood walls, bulkhead lines, sea walls, berms, are ancient solutions unchanged for a millennia, and as useful as ye ‘old castle now isn’t.
Movable flood walls, deployable flood walls, landscaped berms and park like levees, even monumental flood gates as deployed in the Netherlands are no more than the same eons old solutions that with enormous effort can move.
Just as skyscrapers have morphed from the single use solutions to multi – purpose buildings you may rarely need leave, our flood defenses also must become multi – purpose:
  1. Flood wall / Levee / berm / Flood gate
  2. Adaptable – to rising sea levels as well as other uses.
  3. Provide for the fulfillment of another vital societal need.
  4. Minimal impact on existing built and natural environment.
That our current responses to coastal flooding, storm surges, tidal surges, river flooding, even flash flooding and urban run off consists of structures that fulfill only one of the above is sad.  Our resource starved world can't tolerate this utter lack of imagination and inertia.
Wait you say, there is the green, back to nature solution that is not only the best, but oh so politically correct.  Start reading this again,  what is a city’s most precious resource SPACE.  What does every green, back to nature solution require?  Space, all the space the city sucked up creating itself.  Debating the elimination of our urban agglomerations is a fun, but futile discussion, it is a non – starter, especially in an already resource starved world.
What could meet ALL the requirements?
A self rising flood wall / flood gate of empty barges.
  1. As the flood wall rises it turns first into a levee, then a floodwall.
  2. The rising flood wall can accomodate current and future storm surge heights by attaching additional barge sections.
  3. A rising flood wall based on barges can have their decks can be used for docking facilities, parks, playgrounds, tracks, “soil less” hydroponics, fabric structures for tennis, driving ranges.  Interiors could even be utilized for similar uses, or for any “high volume / low dead load use” such as class rooms.
  4. Barges only a half dozen feet deep can displace thousands of tons, so instead of a 20 foot tall levee, berm or floodwall permanently obscuring view of the waterscape, you have a 6 foot tall barge, which is easily sloped up raising existing streets and sidewalks, or for the adventurous municipality, simply align deck with grade at the bulkhead line, and let the barge rise and fall with tides, storm surges and other floods (which limits some uses, enhances others).
  5. It will take less space than anything except a flood wall (if you wonder what a flood wall looks like around a city, just think “Berlin Wall”.  The barges can take up as little or much land area as is desired.  It can be water based floating with the tides or waiting on piles for only flood waters to raise it. 
Will it leak?  No matter what is used to link barges to each other and the land, you bet it’ll leak.  However, all comprehensive solutions to coastal flooding at least must include extensive internal water collection and pumping stations to remove it.  New Orleans, despite it’s massive canal system and pumps relies on street flooding to store large amounts of rain and seepage during hurricanes, heavy rains and even heavy thunderstorms.  Locals know you park your car on the neutral grounds first sign of big rain.
Don’t like this solution, how does your favorite respond to ALL of our urban environmental needs?


Save Our Swamps


Click here for the barge based solution to wetlands protection where we've ravaged those eco - systems.


Data byte:  Just last year the state of Louisiana sued to force oil and gas companies to backfill the access canals and cleared pools used by their drilling and pipe laying rigs after they've established wells and after they've abandoned the wells / facilities (as they've litterally thousands of mile of abandoned channels slicing through what's left of the delta.


In progress:  


Movable flood wall
Deployable flood wall
Permanent flood wall
Landscaped levee or berm
Coastal flooding
River flooding
Flap gate flood wall
Storm surge
Actually any city any where flood protection.
Imagine that, a mass producible surge barrier, imagine the market for hurricane protection, storm surge protection, river flood protection.
You could even make a emergency drainage channel that is normally a walkway, and as a thunderstorm, hurricane, typhoon, heavy snow melt swells a river channel, the overflow from normal drainage systems pours under the line of barges, and they rise forming a temporary storm discharge channel.
Imagine those monumental chasms in Los Angeles instead lined each side with 50 foot barges covered in walks, playground, seating, trellis, fabric structures, parking pads for food and concession vans, even some plantings. Instead of urban eye sores, baking away in the California sun super heating surrounding neighborhoods, they would be urban oases.
There are access and evacuation issues, but there’s no reason it can’t be a daylight only park with 5 PM announcement via speakers and flashing lights etc.. On days with predicted storms, just don’t open the parks. Finally, they barges would rise relatively slowly, and if you can’t figure out it’s time to hit the road when the ground under you hits 15%, only your good luck has saved you from being run over. It’s a new concept, it would take years to perfect the protocols, but there’s no technical or sociological barrier to implementation.
Barges are such great constructs too. Theres a million ways to build them using whatever is locally available. Quality can easily be overcome with mass. The Indian shipwreckers who provide the world with manhole covers come to mind as does anyplace with a surplus of fuel available to make massive amounts of cement economically, think all those oil fields burning off natural gas they can’t find a market for, or solar power towers in the desert between some seacoast and limestone mountains.
You don’t need a ship yard, specilly skilled workers, or customized fabrication equipment. They are big boxes made of smaller boxes and a prow of some sort, and these barges won’t need the prow. They can be built like a line of buildings along the shore, and launched one after the other with a few bulldozers. Equally, they are easily transportable en – mass long distances, allowing production facilities to amortize their investment selling to a wider area.
Urban agglomerations most short of space could even capitalize on the mammoth interior space within the barges. Hi Tech farms, running tracks, electronically enhanced driving ranges, batting cages, all weather childrens playgrounds, even classroom space. Any use that weighs little and needs lots and lots of space.
In ou