Rising Currents
April 21, 2010  |  Rising Currents
Rising Currents: The Impact of “Glocal”

Tidal flooding at the edge of shops and homes in Can Tho, Vietnam (one of the Rockefeller Foundation ACCCRN cities). Photo courtesy Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio

At the opening of the Rising Currents exhibition at MoMA, curator Barry Bergdoll used the word “glocal” to describe the impact of this exhibition. At first I thought I misheard, but then I realized he meant that the exhibition was part of the growing global grassroots movement to address the impact of climate change with smart, local solutions.

Local governments and civil society groups around the world are starting to “Ask the Climate Question” about what differences in everyday decisions it will take to make their communities more resilient in the face of climate change impacts. So instead of being immobilized by the fear of insurmountable climate problems or by the urgency of day-to-day challenges, they are finding a multitude of creative and innovative solutions that they can implement today to reduce current and future risks and costs. In most cases they are finding that these measures make their cities more livable, greener, safer, equitable, and productive now as a result.

Walking and riding through tidal flooding in Can Tho, Vietnam (one of the Rockefeller Foundation ACCCRN cities). Photo courtesy Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio

For instance, Durban, South Africa, has developed a Municipal Adaptation Plan and is testing different community-based approaches to climate adaptation. The rapidly growing city of Surat, India—a member of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network—has just launched a design competition aimed at developing disaster-resilient housing and planning solutions for residents living in areas in danger of high levels of flooding. This May, Bonn, Germany will be the site of Resilient Cities: the First World Congress on Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change, a meeting hosted by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), to share ideas and brainstorm about what measures to take. ICLEI is an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable development.

In the U.S., cities are also creating climate action plans. For example, Chicago’s plan includes priority measures to reduce the impacts of heat waves, poor air quality, and flooding, and the local government is engaging community groups and businesses in finding innovative solutions to climate challenges. New York City is a leader on this issue with Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC and the city’s own Panel on Climate Change, comprised of leading local experts on climate change and modeled after the Nobel Prize–winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Storm cloud over Bangkok, Thailand (where Rockefeller Foundation has a regional office). Photo courtesy Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio

These cities are all making wise investments that will pay off today and long into the future. So, yes, the Rising Currents exhibition is a “glocal” phenomenon—one that is engaging architects, planners, designers, community groups, NGOs, foundations, and businesses across the globe to find positive local solutions to a problem that will unfortunately be with us for decades to come.



Nice exhibition! You should come to the Netherlands, Amsterdam and check out Blijburg. You can see your project already realized there.

Imagine…the future is there more on the www. Currently, taking Authoring Tools class for Tech, I would love to know exactly what tech equipment you used for this discourse for the New quote “Einstein, creativity is more important than intellect” Please email info I would like to use this plan to discuss your use of tech. Many Thanks All encompassing as population will raise, jobs created, lifestyles and the economy tweaked. This is visionary, need to learn more. My husband works in laying piping VP let us know if he is a fit for your project

this sounds like a great project!!!! plz cum back to this musuem and think of more things !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this is very interesting

you should come to mexico because this is something that all the world most have to know


Awesome picture!

Why not think upside down in building. Juxta Positioning.

First time to MoMA! Love the projects of this room particularly! It shows the boundary of imagination of all human kind. My girlfriend is kinda tired tho, I guess she just does not understand art! LOL!

very gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood

It was awesome~!!!!!!!!!
I love it

If everyones so hot from global warming, why dont we just get giant air conditioners?

yah…i gotta charge my phone here…

I’m not sure I believe the premise of this exhibit. Where is the science supporting it?

A perfect place to leave the imagination goes. i am very agree with all porpuses. I hope it will be a reality………… I am from Bogot’a-Colombia.

innovative; modular therefore do-able w/i reasonable costs/budget constraints over time; worth trying in connection w/the EPA superfund clean-up go-ahead for the Gowanus Canal.

some of these art is very interseting. but some i have no idea what it is.

a good conversation but “shallow” pun intended.

the design profession needs to BE ecologists by training not just hire them as consultants (though also critical of course).

after a category 3 storm none of these solutions would be left to appreciate….back to the books.

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