With half a million cars ready for the scrapyard in Houston alone we might want to think of adaptive mobility solutions

Do we need resilient car design?


Published in Climate Action by

Again we’re confronted with scenes of devastation, now in the Caribbean where hurricane Irma is raging with wind speeds up to 350 km/h. Irma is the strongest storm ever measured in the Atlantic. Such winds are catastrophic, but even more damage is caused by higher flood waves and heavy rainfall as a result of rising sea levels and warmer water temperatures. We need more resilient design solutions to be able to withstand these extreme weather conditions.

In addition to the tragic human loss, the damage to buildings, infrastructure and property mounts up to hundreds of billions (an estimated $150 to 180 bn in Houston alone). The hurricanes in the Atlantic region and monsoon flooding in Asia are clear incentives to invest in resilient architecture. Earlier superstorms including Sandy and Katrina already boosted a lot of adaptive construction in the affected regions.

500,000 totaled cars

Food and shelter are the most important necessities for people, of course. But the staggering figure of up to half a million ‘totaled’ cars due to hurricane Harvey alone, makes you think that we might start considering resilient car design too. All those cars with water up to the windows in most cases are ready for demolition. After Hurricane Sandy battered New York and New Jersey in October 2012, an estimated 250,000 vehicles were scrapped. The waste of raw materials and energy is staggering.

Water resistant, floating or modular cars with easy to replace parts, alternative adaptive mobility systems – a huge task lies ahead for car designers. Ideas anyone? The WDCD Climate Change Challenge is all about adaptation. Send in your ideas before 24 September 2017.


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