Search results for coastal resiliency


AHBE Landscape Architects is collaborating with Cal Poly Pomona landscape architecture students on a coastal resiliency design studio with Professor Barry Lehrman and his fourth-year undergraduate students. AHBE Lab will be highlighting selections of the student’s work nearly every Wednesday for the next several weeks. The project site is the coastline from the Port of Long Beach to Anaheim Bay. Students are in their third week of class (field-trip week) and this week they will be meeting with Dr. Christine Whitcraft of Cal State Long Beach Wetlands Ecology Lab; Carrie Metzgar and Larry Rich from the City of Long Beach’s Office of Sustainability in addition to exploring areas around the Long Beach waterfront.


The effects of a flood event, combined with sea level rise at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, could have a crippling effect on the transportation of goods around the country. Currently, more than $100 billion worth of cargo moves through the Port of Long Beach every year, and three feet in sea level rise would put several roads and petroleum storage facilities under water. It is a potential catastrophe, and not just an economic one.

Three feet of sea level rise would cause about 90% of Naples Island, the Peninsula, and Belmont Shore communities in Long Beach to go underwater. All low-lying coastal cities are vulnerable and to see what your coastal community might look like with different levels of sea level risen; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) interactive map shows which areas are vulnerable to these changes.

The long term effect of sea level rise will most likely cause displacement and disinvestment in these vulnerable areas. What globalization did to Detroit and industrial towns throughout the United States could predict what effect sea level rise will have on low-lying coastal cities. The speed at which a coastal diaspora happens will depend on continuing insurability of private property and, of course, the weather. Landscape architects can help by understanding and promoting landscape based strategies to help mitigate the effects of sea level rise (construction of barrier islands, increasing kelp forests, flood adapted infrastructure, or the conversion of formerly developed land) and by participating in policy making, planning, infrastructure design, and innovative construction practices.

I highly recommend checking out the Annenberg Space for Photography’s exhibit “Sink or Swim: Designing for Sea Change”, an exhibiting focusing upon the resiliency and vulnerability of our species, and the urgent need to put our collective minds together to help mitigate the effects of our changing climate.

Image: Jenni Zell

I’ve begun to notice a sense of urgency and focus surrounding coastal resiliency planning in Southern California lately. Scientists at institutions like NOAA, USGS, Scripps, and many other organizations have been sifting through data, modeling, mapping and making projections. All the while interest in this type of research amongst the science community and public also seems to be increasing.

At AHBE Landscape Architects, we recently partnered with Cal Poly Pomona landscape architecture students, to work together focused upon the goal of resiliency strategies for the coast of Long Beach. I have also been attending a class at the Aquarium of the Pacific , a course with the pessimistic title, “Can We Make our Coastal Cities Resilient to Climate Change or Are They Doomed?” Research from scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSB, UCLA, and the National Academy of Sciences have resulted in a variety of proposals: complete coastal retreat (let nature do her inevitable thing), reduce our collective carbon footprint, and generate durable and dynamic sustainability planning efforts.


Welcome to our last in a series of Cal Poly Pomona Coastal Resiliency posts, featuring the observations of 4th year undergraduate students in the Landscape Architecture program.

With today’s post we mark the conclusion of our collaboration with the Cal Poly fourth-year undergraduate studio.  In the course of 11 weeks, the students explored both natural and manmade strategies for adaptations and mitigation for coastal resiliency in Long Beach. Almost as important, as practicing professionals we’ve noted we too learned so much from these “bravely curious” landscape architecture students instructed by Professor Barry Lehrman.

The students presented strategies in proposal of applications to their areas of focus in Long Beach during their final presentation at AHBE. We wanted to share with you some of their amazing strategic diagrams, inventory, and analysis these students have been working on during this quarter.

Ecological hotspots in Long Beach Estevan C. and Amanda F.

“Mapping out observed bird sightings in the City of Long Beach, a pattern was shown that not only does the rich ecology try to follow bodies of water, lakes and the ocean, but the areas with the highest density were places with the highest density of people.” – Estevan C. (more…)

I was first exposed to the seminal short film produced in 1977 by the iconic team of Charles and Ray Eames, Powers of Ten as a student of landscape architecture at Cal Poly Pomona. I remember the mind-blowing film even today, one that takes viewers on a visual journey that begins with an aerial shot of a man lounging in a park, gradually zooming upward at scales of 10 further and further away, until the perspective is taken to the edge of the universe. From there the viewer is zoomed back downward back into the hand of the man lounging the park, eventually transported inward into an individual atom within the man’s body.