Rising high from the ocean below, the elevated “Emergency Land” proposed by South Korean architect Jinman Choi and graduate student Ji Yong Shim is a structure topped by skyscrapers that serves the vital cause of housing the 11,000 residents of the Tuvalu Islands – islands that may soon be swallowed by the sea.

The nine islands of Tuvalu, eight of which have human residents, are located in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. Two of the islands are already experiencing significant flooding, and with elevated sea levels submerging the islands’ lands another 0.5-0.6 cm a year, experts fear the islands could completely disappear within the coming decades.

Choi and Shim are especially concerned with the residents of the islands, as they seem to have few options for escape at this point. The two explain that, currently, nearby Australia has not opened their borders, and New Zealand only permits 75 immigrants from the islands per year, As such, new solutions must be crafted for Tuvalu residents, and quickly. Their solution is to build grand, elevated landmasses anchored by bases on the seafloor and topped by massive skyscrapers to house the 11,000 residents needing new homes. The “arch-designed core” will allow for the balance needed to support the expanded mass of “land” above. The funnel-shaped platforms can be recreated continually to expand the amount of land available. This socially responsible design brings innovation and attention to the needs of a people whose land may, sadly, soon be forever submerged.

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