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Ghost Cities Of 2100

CityHere's some shocking predictions of what might happen to major cities around the world.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, forecast a 75% chance that San Francisco will be struck by a major earthquake of magnitude 7 or above by 2086. Some might argue that city dwellers will survive and rebuild, although the fate of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which flooded 80% of the city in 2005, offers mixed lessons.

San Francisco is also one of the fastest-shrinking cities in California, part of an overall population shift away from the expensive and geographically hazardous coast toward inland cities. A major disaster could accelerate that trend.

Rising sea levels threaten cities around the world. The industrious Dutch have strong enough dikes and clever enough engineering to survive a one meter rise in the oceans, even though two-thirds of their country lies below sea level. But Banjul, capital of Gambia in West Africa, is likely to sink entirely into the ocean due to a combination of erosion and rising sea levels, according to a 2002 World Bank discussion paper on cities and climate change. The same paper forecasts that sea levels will rise between 10 and 90 centimeters worldwide this century, affecting many coastal cities, including Alexandria, Egypt; Tianjin, China; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Bangkok, Thailand.

Whether from natural catastrophes, economic collapse or the slow encroachments of sand or water, it seems likely that at least some of today's cities will meet the same fate as Ozymandias, the king of kings who built a monument to himself. As the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote, "Round the decay / Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare / The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Read the full story after the jump.

Source: Forbes
Image: Flickr/R. Motti
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