Sinking Cities


Researchers have found that Beijing is slowly sinking, in some areas at the rate of 11cm per year.

The recent study revealed that an increased consumption of groundwater is causing soil compaction, leading to subsidence of the 20 million inhabitant city.

The rate of subsidence varies, and the uneven sinking could cause serious problems for Beijing’s buildings and infrastructure.

Beijing is not the only city to sink, with Mexico City, Venice, and Jakarta all facing a similar problem.

Mexico City also suffers from groundwater related subsidence. The city has sunk 10 metres over the last century. The area once held an abundance of ground water which has been perpetually bored since the time of the Spanish settlers.

Venice also faces sinking, however the problem comes from too much water rather than too little, with climate change causing higher tides and flooding throughout the city.

Jakarta was built on a swampy plane next to the Ciliwung River. The river has moved over time, as have a half dozen rivers in the area, which has caused the city to sink more than 4 meters over the past 30 years.

These examples paint a pretty grim picture but leave room for innovation in the construction and infrastructure space.

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