The subtitle of the article quoted below is:
Goodbye, MiamiBy century's end, rising sea levels will turn the nation's urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin
Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, 20 June 2013 (hat tip: NC)
Building major towns on swampy land does lead to some challenges, not much doubt about that.Even more than Silicon Valley, Miami embodies the central technological myth of our time – that nature can not only be tamed but made irrelevant. Miami was a mosquito-and-crocodile-filled swampland for thousands of years, virtually uninhabited until the late 1800s. Then developers arrived, canals were dug, swamps were drained, and a city emerged that was unlike any other place on the planet, an edge-of-the-world, air-conditioned dreamland of sunshine and beaches and drugs and money; Jan Nijman, the former director of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Miami, called 20th-century Miami "a citadel of fantastical consumption." Floods would come and go and hurricanes might blow through, but the city would survive, if only because no one could imagine a force more powerful than human ingenuity. That defiance of nature – the sense that the rules don't apply here – gave the city its great energy. But it is also what will cause its demise.
The full story is lengthy and pretty much puts to rest any likelihood that sea level won't be rising. Due to the expansion of the warming water in place, it's risen 9" since the 1920s; this all coming before any serious polar ice cap melt.