Four Resilience Stories You Might Have Missed in 2013

From typhoons in Asia to tornadoes in the American Midwest, the world grappled with disaster and resilience in a major way in 2013. But beyond the headlines, here are four important stories about resilience you might have missed:


“Moses” water barrier parts the sea in Venice

Studies show that Venice is sinking more than previously thought: an average of one or two millimeters per year. Combined with a rising Adriatic Sea, the Italian city could sink up to 80 millimeters by 2032. In October, Venice successfully tested a $7.3 billion water barrier system—called “Moses” for its sea-parting ability—that once fully implemented could protect the city from future extreme flooding.

3D printer to repair New York City’s harbors

The decaying pilings—wood and steel columns—holding up New York City’s waterfront are in need of repair. The innovative solution? Reinforcing the columns with 3D printing, which could save $2.9 billion. An Italian 3D printing company will scan each piling, design a custom reinforcement in concrete, and send a team of divers to put the reinforcement into place—all for just $50,000.

Rent a car from a Chinese vending machine

To meet China’s increasing demand for automobiles, a company called Kandi Technologies is bringing an hourly car rental service to Hangzhou, a city of 8.7 million. Unlike Western companies like Zipcar, Kandi is building giant vending machines that hold between 30 and 300 cars each. For just $3.25 an hour, Hangzhou residents can rent an electric vehicle resembling a Smart Car with a range of 75 miles and a top speed of 50 miles an hour—ideal for urban use.

Nigerian city planning gets smart

As part of Nigeria’s 100th birthday celebration, the country is planning to build a “smart city” in Abuja using biomimicry, the practice of applying lessons from the natural world to manmade efforts. For the Nigerian city, that means materials and food will be locally sourced, water will be left to flow freely through the city, and public transportation will be embedded into the new system.

Head photo: awaqas1, Flickr