Selected Project Sea Level Stories
Sea Level Rise Stories. Rendering courtesy of project team.

Johanna Hoffman
Landscape Architect

Tony Gannon

Genevieve Hoffman
Artist and Designer




A combination of data visualization and narrative collection, Sea Level Stories invites you to explore how sea level rise changes the San Francisco Bay Area – in the past, present and future – and share your thoughts on what those what those impacts mean to you.

The piece does so through a 5-step process. Steps 1-3 are static images, layered with graphics of how shores have changed in the bay, beginning with the end of the last ice age (when the Bay was a riverine valley) and ending with projections of sea level rise in the 22nd century. Changing sea levels are presented at 3 scales and views – step 1 presents the larger Bay scale in aerial view, step 2 shows the more zoomed in city-wide scale in birds eye view, and step 3 illustrates a street view of the Pier 15 site over time. All these scale views show phased images of how sea level rise has changed the shape and character of the Bay. Step 4 uses Q-R codes printed on to the images to connect viewers with access to smart phones to interactive time-lapse videos taking viewers on a deeper dive into changing sea levels. Step 5 provides users with the chance to share their impressions of sea level rise, what it makes them think about, how it scares and/or excites them.

By contextualizing sea level rise as an ongoing fact of life along the water, the project presents an opportunity to cultivate a different kind of dialogue about climate change, one that’s more about embracing change than fearing the unknown. Presenting the process of rising tides at a range of scales is a way to help people relate to this large phenomenon on a more personal level. Allowing people to share their impressions after seeing these visualizations provides a place for meditation on the issue and generates a valuable wealth of data on public perception of sea level rise. Both are hugely important.

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