The Growing Islands initiative is a design proposal that considers the impacts of rising sea levels on the island nation, calling for a solution that can actually grow landforms out of the ocean using pre-fabricated canvas ‘bladders’ filled with sand. The concept offers a vital sense of hope to other seaborn nations, including Micronesia and Kiribati, currently at risk of losing their entire existence and cultures to manmade climate change.
The 20-plus strong team of MIT researchers paired with the Maldives-based nonprofit Invena to develop the concept, which utilizes the power of wave energy to build up the artificial sandbar progressively. The first field tests began locally in February of 2019 and were continued back in Cambridge beginning in 2017, with supplementary weather studies being carried out by the team back in the Maldvies to provide important data into the differences caused by the region’s bi-annual season switch that will help them best strategize as to the optimal placement and positioning approach.
Overall, hundreds of experiments were carried out on campus. Satellite imagery, which helped researchers chart the progress of the accumulation over a period of years, will be presented in the exhibition, along with other data and other findings that proffer the design as a promising and effective tool for coastal communities that have been shown to host some 40% of the global population and are expected to continue to grow in the future.
The exhibition is on view now at the museum’s Gambrill Center location. More information about current exhibitions at the MIT Museum can be found here.
Read more about the Growing Islands Self-Assembly Lab Team and their progress here.
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