Hurricane-Proof Construction Methods Can Prevent the Destruction of Communities
New hurricane-proof construction methods and flexible building materials have the potential to save buildings and the people who live in them.
The four hurricanes that slammed into heavily populated areas from the Caribbean to Texas this summer are inching toward a half-trillion-dollar price tag in damages—to say nothing of the work and wages missed by shutting down entire cities. Buildings are the most visible marker of a place’s resilience after a disaster strikes. Surveying the catastrophic damage forces a difficult question: How can it be rebuilt better?
It’s a question people will be asking as climate change contributes to hurricanes’ increasing intensity and rainfall. And certainly, where you build is as important as what you build. But new materials, in a wide range of experimental and off-the-shelf options, can help fortify buildings against a hurricane’s suite of hazards: winds, flying debris, and flooding from rain or storm surges. Understanding how built environments can coexist with worsening hurricanes will require mapping the most useful, and cost-effective, applications for hurricane-proof building materials and technology.
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