Metro Vancouver’s vibrant waterfront is severely threatened by sea level rise. DOT REEF proposes raising the shore as a protective flood control measure. It sets up a band of new public spaces that will serve coastal communities, while acting as a defensive barrier. This integrative design offers an opportunity to re-imagine the shoreline while enabling climate change resilience.

overview of the idea

DOT REEF imagines a physical infrastructure system that protects our coastal areas, while re-inventing the relationship between city and shoreline. Modular in nature, the system acts as a sea wall. It protects low-lying land from rising sea levels and storm surge, through increased height and wave attenuation. But DOT REEF is much more than a dike wall.

It breaks down this major infrastructural idea into small cylindrical nodes. This allows for off-site production, ease of transport by water, and adaptability to various programmatic uses. 

how it works

DOT REEF is an effective seaside defence strategy against the loss of billions of dollars of assets in affected Metro Vancouver areas. Controlling the influx of water to urban areas requires a massive consolidated effort. An infrastructural project of this nature has the possibility to be hugely detrimental, if designed in a way that is out of scale and context with the communities it serves.

Our solution is to break the project down into manageable pieces. DOT REEF is made up of pre-cast concrete cylinders that are produced in a series of sizes. Engineered and installed using the latest in monitoring and material technologies, the elements are modular in construction, allowing them to meet varying shoreline conditions and uses. DOT REEF is designed to be additive and versatile to meet Metro Vancouver’s needs as sea levels continue to rise.

DOT REEF marries function and innovative programming. It sets up a series of platforms for a diversity of public uses: recreation, entertainment, urban farming, energy generation and aquaculture. Instead of a barrier to the sea, DOT REEF improves community access to the natural shoreline. The new infrastructure expands on and extends existing Sea Wall promenades and offers new activity zones at the water’s edge. The system’s innate permeability and adaptability allows it to protect and enhance Metro Vancouver’s fragile ecosystems.


Dot Reef Poster

See a high resolution poster explaining more about REEF. Download.


How communities will adapt and thrive

Confronted with challenge of inundation from sea level rise and storm-surges, DOT REEF provides environmental resiliency while re-imagining how we might connect to our waterfront. Its modular nature makes it an adaptive tool that can be added to and customized to take on new uses over time.

DOT REEF’s new activity zones reinforce Vancouver’s most important resource, its natural setting. This enhanced public realm presents diverse waterfront possibilities that help celebrate our connection with the nature. Along with recreational spaces, these include commercial and institutional opportunities, and a framework for sustainable food and energy production.

DOT REEF on its own isn’t the answer, but it suggests an adaptive plan for Metro Vancouver communities to meet changing environmental needs. An innovative and robust solution, it offers a combined environmental and social resiliency to ensure our coastal communities can grow and evolve as healthy urban centres.

Community Summit Premier Sponsor

SFU Public Square Founding Council Member

Stephen A. Jarislowsky

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