Aqualta by Studio Lindfors


New York designers Studio Lindfors have created a series of images imagining how New York and Tokyo might look like in a few hundred years as a result of rising sea levels.

Above: New York

Called Aqualta, the project predicts that communities will adapt to the changes by building piers and navigable canals to replace the existing transport networks.

Above: New York

The images depict rooftops used for growing food and oyster beds cultivated to protect the coasts.

Above: New York

See also: Flooded London by Squint/Opera

Above: New York

Here's some text from the designers:


AQUALTA by Studio Lindfors

Studio Lindfors has released a new series of images called Aqualta – a play on Acqua Alta, the increasing high tides flooding Venice – which visually explores what a coastal metropolis might feel like a hundred years from now due to rising sea levels. The images illustrate two cultural and financial epicenters – Tokyo and New York – adapting to, rather than resisting, rising waters.

Above: Tokyo

Aqualta imagines city dwellers migrating to higher and dryer elevations as water levels gradually increase. Piers, boardwalks and systems of navigable canals reestablish the transportation network lost below.

Above: Tokyo

Residents repurpose rooftops for farms and greenhouses. Wetland ecologies and oyster beds thrive and take root to better protect coasts from future storms. The cities are shown without combustion – engines, power plants, all emissions are rendered obsolete – resulting in cleaner, quieter neighborhoods. Aqualta reveals an adaptable city infrastructure capable of acclimating to nature.

Above and top: New York

Studio Lindfors is a design firm based in New York City. The firm is versed in a wide range of project types and dedicated to the pursuit of speculative proposals that explore the realm of the fantastic. Current projects include a restaurant in Houston, a film studio in Brooklyn and illustrations for the House of Inconvenience.

Posted on Wednesday November 25th 2009 at 7:06 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Amazing images, but it won’t be so glamourous if it happens.

  • caco

    some has a bit to much free time no,,,,whats the point of this ‘conceptual’ unrealistic speculation ?

    at least is good to know that Mama Mia is still gonna be playing in a few hundres years time..


    More beautiful and interesting than nowadays!!!

  • Matthias

    And they lived happily ever after… in a big sewer.
    Next slide, please.

  • Sakura

    after all: the furure doesn’t look too bad at all, still: let’s hope for copenhagen to provide a future sea level below street level of 5th avenue….

    great work, though! conrats!

  • Fantastic pics.
    It reamains a global advertising campain runed by called disel-global-warming-ready. Have a look at the link above, more comercial of course but same idea… Tropical Bird’s at St Mark’s place in Venice; Sand at China Wall or tropical plants growing at Paris…

  • Booh

    I like the idea of owning a zeppelin- I wonder how hard they are to park :P

  • m

    cliché story, but incredible photoshop

  • alex

    It’s a take on a dystopia, well executed and imagined.

  • 70% of car gazoline in NYC is used to find a park
    I hope to visit New York again with french designer Jean Marie Massaud ‘s “new Zeppelin hotel”… so i dunnot need to park…

  • i hope to see there more vetical gardens by french bio designer Patrick blanc

  • Massaud + Blanc + Roche are my dream team but it’s not photoshop …it’s new design + architecture in Paris… for a new world

  • bob

    nice pics, but there seem to be some millions of new yorkers and tokyoers missing. Maybe they all died in the big “2012-ish wave that roamed the earth.

    More realistic scenario: Rich cities like NY and Tokyo build a bigg ass land reclaiming wall and stay the same, while poor cities in asia drown without as much as a photoshop shot to prepare them.

  • Edmac

    in terms of mood I prefere Squint Opera’s last year project on a flooded London…

    I think there is a missed opportunity in all these projects. The responses shown are too obvious they dont investigate or come up with the kind of architectural response that would come if such conditions ever arise. As if developers or architects in general would not take commercial advantage of new situations like this to make a profit. These images actually have an aura of utopic living….everyone seems happy, theres no traffic jams, no crowds, no rubbish floating on the waters just idyllic enjoyement of the water both by humans and by nature ( there’s always lots of chirpy animals and lots of green stuff prospering in these scenarios). So maybe the underlying desire of these type of exercises is the hope that nature will clean up our mess and then we will all live happily ever after. It is a sublime thought, but again, future projects depicting sea level rise could focus more on the chaos and suffering that would occur if such events unfold, and then show what the human reaction to these would be (then the ball would be in our court we either get worse, or we respond and sort our selves out). Very good effort though, congrats.

  • The idea of zeppelin is for 2011 in Paris and also in New York.
    Paris will launch zeppelin to obseve urban traffic, air purity and stuff like that. But they plan to use zeppelin to reduce delivery service in the city, alos in New York, to reduce big trucks traffic by this new/old machine.
    It will be nice to see that in a few years.

  • see present and future by french photograph Yann Artus Bertand

  • Patrick

    This can only be one side of the medal. They have chosen to visualize the already informal parts of a metropolis. A place like Times Square on the other hand is very likely to remail a more prominent urban space after the flood. If the lights stay on, I can figure many more boats, hot dog stand canoes and yellow motorized water taxis.

    The dutch do a better job in visualizing and planning for this eventuality. More positive an pro-active thinking in the Netherlands. Mankind is inventive, you know…

  • 70% of car gazoline in NYC is used to find a park
    I hope to visit New York again with french designer Jean Marie Massaud ’s “new Zeppelin hotel”… so i dunnot need to park…
    i hope to see there more vetical gardens by french bio designer Patrick blanc

    Massaud + Blanc + Roche are my dream team but it’s not photoshop …it’s new design + architecture in Paris… for a new world

  • student101

    all i can think of is this fightclub quote

    “Imagine,” Tyler said, “stalking elk past department store windows and stinking racks of beautiful rotting dresses and tuxedos on hangers; you’ll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life, and you’ll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. Jack and the beanstalk, you’ll climb up through the dripping forest canopy and the air will be so clean you’ll see tiny figures pounding corn and laying strips of venison to dry in the empty car pool lane of an abandoned superhighway stretching eight-lanes-wide and August-hot for a thousand miles.” ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 16

  • Alfa R.

    Dumb question, but wouldn’t the water affect the foundation or the sturdiness of the buildings?

  • RM

    If your going to copy flooded London then you should at least try and do it better!

  • karlkoch

    Such stupid romantic visualizations. The retro-chic and indiana jones style mythification of a real problem is exactly what erodes designer’s credibility. If you try to illustrate a future scenarios do some research and be precise.

  • 2012 said…it is not going to be this way….

  • The only thought of seeing floods as a new way of life and not as the end of the world is fresh and gives me a sense of relaxation.
    Mountains have erupted perserving Pompeii and the sea level will give a new face to part of the earth. Why the nervousness? Lets get prepared and start humidesigning.

  • bob

    the london stuff was way better. This screams me too and poorly done at that. I’m keeping my dvd of the DAY AFTER TOMORROW…

  • see my french “dream team” : Massaud + Blanc + Roche + Artus Bertand …
    for a future scenario ….

  • Javier

    Worried about the future, but the present..

  • iain

    Im not saying that i want it to happen but it does look really really nice and i would quite like to live there. They are very nice to look at and easy to get lost in .

  • Friendy

    It`s nice 2 b there but,….. when will our world like that…???

  • ryan

    i really like what this artist is going at with the images and i know where the artist is coming from because i am like this artist like putting pictures together.