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Honolulu the Resiliant City

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Honolulu, the “Resilient City”

I picked Honolulu, Hawaii, because I wanted to work on a place that I am familiar with and because I was lucky enough to have lived on Oahu for a year. It is one the most beautiful 8 million tourists a year who visit Honolulu seem to agree.

This in itself can causes a lot of problems. I.e., the sewage and sanitation systems struggle to keep pace, which means that raw sewage is currently piped about 36 miles out into the ocean. I feel like it would be a good place to research.

Currently its residents are concerned about the risk to Hawaii from climate change and about its reliance on the mainland for food to consume, and for oil to generate electricity. Hawaii has the most expensive electricity in the United States. Honolulu residents pay roughly three times the national average. And if food transportation halted tomorrow, say because of a zombie apocalypse, there would only be enough food on the island to last about two weeks.

Hawaiian agriculture cannot sustain Oahu. Honolulu has a population of 402,500 people, (while the island of Oahu has nearly 1 million in total) giving it a population density of 5,250 people per square mile on an island the size of Phoenix. Its high population density adds to the risk people living there may face when it comes to natural disasters.

Honolulu, the capital of the Hawaiian Archipelago which is as close to the ocean as a coastal city in America can be, is faced with the a particularly severe threat from climate change. According to a 2014 study by the University of Hawaii, cited by James Cave in the Huffington Post; by 2100, all of Honolulu proper could be submerged under eight feet of water if global warming continues at its current rate. Although the year 2100 seems far off, we must also take into account the fact that rising temperatures create increased weather turbulence. Of course, this isn't an absolute certainty, only a warning about what could happen if we don't change.

In 2016, Oahu was nearly hit by four tropical storms in a row, and although it avoided a series of direct hits, in the future the possibility of larger storms could pose a great threat to the city of Honolulu.

Honolulu is also at risk from tsunamis, although the city has taken steps to protect itself. For example, to combat huge waves, Honolulu has created wave breakers just outside of the reef, which dispel the kinetic energy created by the waves and disperses it out at angles. The only issue is that the breaks may endanger the outer areas of the city, because of the lack of tsunami walls to protect those areas. A second problems is the loss of beaches, as the wave breakers change the patterns of the current and sand is drawn out into the ocean.

When it comes to becoming more resilient, Honolulu has taken some steps. For example,

the city has created a well-designed evacuation plan to provide enough advance warning so that if a disastrous tsunami occurs, people can get to higher ground before it hits.

Aside from these issues, Honolulu and Hawaii have other regulations in place or that they are trying to enact that could improve resilience. One really large issue is recycling, because all of the recycled material must be sent by cargo ship to the mainland, which negatively affects the environment, and counteracts the positive effects of the recycling. There are a couple of waste-to-energy plants that exist on the island, that use certain recyclable materials such as high grade petroleum-based plastics, and burn them for energy. The only issue with this, is that it leaves behind carbon material, and releases noxious gases.

Currently Honolulu has a fairly well developed and affordable transportation system that relies primarily on busses.

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