clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Could Atlanta’s future growth be fueled by rising sea levels?

New, 77 comments

University of Georgia study says landlocked cities could see population surge from submerged coastal brethren

Recent construction in Midtown Atlanta as high-rises go up. Curbed Atlanta

Temperate climate. Fortune 500 companies. A bustling airport. Big yards, low cost, and friendly people. These are the engines that propelled Atlanta from being basically Birmingham East a half-century ago to an international metropolis.

Could future fuel for Atlanta’s growth come from melting icebergs?

That’s the conclusion of a new University of Georgia study that predicts more than 13 million people could flee coastal cities due to sea-level rises in the coming century.

The top destinations for flood-fleeing evacuees will be Houston, Phoenix, and Atlanta, researchers found, per a recent publishing in Nature Climate Change.

According to UGA Today, the study is the first to model where Americans affected by rising seas might relocate for dry land. And while Atlantans are famously a welcoming lot, the potential influx could exacerbate existing issues—namely, the scarcity of sufficient water supplies.

Ditto for other predicted destinations such as Las Vegas and Riverside, Calif., researchers found.

Cranes symbolize the pre-evacuee growth of Midtown Atlanta, as seen in November 2015.
Curbed Atlanta

In a press release, the study’s lead author, UGA’s Mathew Hauer, said the research should help motivate cities such as Atlanta to incorporate accommodation strategies regarding water and growth into longterm planning.

As Atlanta Agent Magazine points out, Zillow has estimated that two million homes—and 36 costal cities—will be submerged and lost by 2100 if oceans rise by six feet, as scientists are estimating.

And you thought Atlanta’s housing crunch was tough right now?