Many shirts and expensive ties have been saved by the careful installation of precautionary bibs before disaster strikes. Are bibs also a possible savior of New York in the case of catastrophic flooding? Two University of Pennsylvania students, Tingwei Xu and Xie Zhang, think so. If predictions about global warming, increased sea levels, and more storms with attendant storm surges are correct, Manhattan and other parts of New York City could face massive flooding of its streets and infrastructure. After hard infrastructure measures like levees failed during Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans flooded, many parties began looking into the viability of softer anti-flood protections modeled after natural systems like protective marshes and barrier islands.
Tingwei Xu and Xie Zhang devised a system of protective absorbent bibs that would be draped over low lying areas of New York to forestall massive damage by huge floods. The material would change characteristics (e.g. hard vs. absorbent) with the weather. It's unclear if the city would ever agree to wear such protective anti-flooding measures, but if it did, would probably feel pretty damn foolish doing so.
· Architects Propose “Bibs” To Shield NYC From Global Warming’s Floods [Co.design]
· Architectural Membrane for New York when Sea Level Rises [evolo]
· Fun With Urban Planning [CurbedNY]