Designing Urban Futures


Sea Level Stories
Market Street Prototyping Festival

Working with two other artists, I developed and fabricated Sea Level Stories -- a time travel machine that doubles as on-the-street-living room, data visualization and narrative collection tool. Sea Level Stories* invited people to explore how sea level rise changes the San Francisco Bay Area – in the past, present and future – and share their thoughts on what those impacts mean for their lives.

By walking inside the space, visitors were transported 200 years into the future, when sea levels have risen roughly 25 ft and the world is a much warmer place. They landed in the living room of a young urban designer renting them the use of her apartment through whatever version of Airbnb exists in the year 2200. The apartment was complete with objects useful for navigating the future San Francisco, including a paddle for a canoe, inflatable water wings, dry shampoo and waders for exploring more watery areas of the city. All objects came with audio instructions for guests' ease of use.

 
Before leaving, participants were invited to answer a series of questions on their hopes, dreams and ideas for adapting to future change. The answers to these questions fed into ongoing work on how to cultivate more approachable dialogues about climate change and its impacts on our lives and cities.

*Sea Level Stories was deployed on the street as a part of the 2016 Market Street Prototype Festival.