The Challenge

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Overview

Sea level rise flooding has affected many parts of Metro Vancouver in the past, including the District of West Vancouver, the District and City of North Vancouver, the City of Vancouver, the City of Richmond, the Corporation of Delta, and the City of Surrey(1). Now recent reports predict the ocean that surrounds our Metro Vancouver communities will rise by 1metre by 2100(2), putting housing, transportation and ecosystems at major risk while causing significant economic losses(3).

In 2008 the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) at the University of British Columbia predicted agricultural land salinization, crop failure, and a 50% reduction in biodiversity in high marsh ecosystems(4).  In 2011, The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy predicted sea level rise could cost between $2.1 and $7.6 billion in damages by 2050 for British Columbia (primarily in Metro Vancouver)(5).

Provincial Government Recommended Global Sea Level Rise Curve for Planning and Design in BC (2)

The response to sea level rise in Metro Vancouver at municipal, regional and provincial levels of government takes on a variety of forms, often technical in nature. However, in a broad sense there are four commonly associated strategies proposed in response to sea level rise: Protect, Accommodate, Retreat and Avoid(6). Increasing our resilience, the magnitude of disturbance that our system can experience before it shifts into a different state(7), is a guiding principle for adapting and thriving in a future defined by uncertainty.

Read up on the latest research related to sea level rise in Metro Vancouver to understand the issues and insprire your thinking.

Your Challenge

All entries to the competition must answer the same challenge:

“How can we design Metro Vancouver communities to adapt and thrive in the context of a 1metre rise in sea level?”

We are looking for high-level visionary ideas. But what issues you focus on and how you tackle them is up to you. Your ideas could be broad enough to address multiple social, economic and environmental issues related to sea level rise in Metro Vancouver. Or you could focus on a specific area of community life such as housing, transport, infrastructure, parks, ecosystems, or the regional economy.

Take RISE where it matters to you most. Your task is to define what is important to your community, and be innovative about how to adapt and thrive in the context of sea level rise. Review the prize categories and judging criteria to focus your thinking, and you’ll be in a great place to start coming up with ideas.

References
1. Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) (2012). Adaptation to Sea Level Rise in Metro Vancouver: A Review of Literature for Historical Sea Level Flooding and Projected Sea Level Rise in Metro Vancouver. Prepared by Patrick Forseth.

2. BC Ministry of Environment (2011). / Climate Change Adaption Guidelines for Sea Dikes and Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use: Draft Policy Discussion Paper.

3. Hallegatte, S, Green, C, Nicholls, RJ, Corfee-Morlot, J, (2013). Future flood losses in major coastal cities, Nature Climate Change, Vol 3, pp802–806 doi:10.1038/nclimate1979

4. S. Shephard, A. Shaw and T. Krisit, (2010). Technical Report on Local Climate Change Visioning for Delta: Findings and Recommendations. Vancouver.

5. National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (2011). Climate Prosperity Paying the Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change. Government of Canada, Ottawa.

6. Carbon Talks, (2013). Flood-proofing Vancouver: Policies for a Resilient City. Prepared by Tamsin Mills.

7. Holling, CS, (1973). Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol. 4: 1 -23.

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