Whether to leave is only the first of the hard questions: Where does everyone go? What claim do they have to what is left behind? Will they be welcomed by their new neighbors? Will there be work nearby? Who will be allowed to join them?

- Coral Davenport and Campbell Robertson, "Resettling the First American 'Climate Refugees,'" New York Times, May 3, 2016


As glaciers melt and water levels rise globally, the transformation is largely absorbed along edge conditions. The solid black portions depict the future morphed edges, or the slow and gradual process of transformation along the edges where water meets dry land. The reduced continental footprints, defined by the interior of the black transformation zone, abstract a future timeline of submerged land. Varying predictions suggest these water levels in the twenty-second century; how will the existing edge populations and settlements transition to an aquatic life?


A city can be described as layers of infrastructural systems, buildings, and the filigree of human artifice. Embedded in the bricks and mortar of a city is an accumulation of value that can take many forms, both tangible and intangible: energy, time, emotion, culture, history, resources, materials, and potentials. Projections of shifting environmental conditions, climatic forces, and flows of resource networks will position humankind to rethink its urbanism. Urban change in the Anthropocene has principally consisted of growth and expansion. But what about abandonment?


Chittagong maintains a precarious relationship with the sea. While the vessels along its shore represent a latent economic opportunity embedded in the global transportation network, rising waters threaten these low-lying spaces along the Bay of Bengal. The local and migrant populations that comprise the shipbreaking working class take on the perilous job of dismantling and cutting apart the hulking steel beasts that ceaselessly come to rest on their beaches. Yet as this population will inevitably be forced to search for higher ground with sea-level rise, the vessels that find their way to Chittagong could offer another sort of opportunity.


The filtration buoy aims to extract the ecologically destructive plastic microfibers before they settle to the mesopelagic zone and removal becomes an almost impossible task. A defining characteristic of the ocean - its constant state of motion with relentless persistence - provides the guiding design principles for both filtration and identification buoyage. By harnessing constant motion as a power generator, a pump can create localized flow patterns that move a mixture of water and microfiber through the buoy, where the microfibers can be filtered and contained. The ocean's motion is used as a constant power source for the filtration buoy. The water-intake valve is positioned significantly below the water surface to extract the suspended plastics within the epipelagic zone. In addition, the buoy drifts within the ocean currents, employing environmental forces as its infrastructure manager.

The filtration and identification buoy movement pattern choreographed by the ocean current establishes a predictable distribution network able to be overlaid with other ocean current dependent systems. The buoyage aims to remove plastic from the ocean by uncovering and acknowledging the specificity of place, engaging the embedded knowledge of the global water system.