Transcript: When Houses Float Instead of Flood | May 27, 2019

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a spotted gray blazer over a white shirt.

A caption on screen reads "When houses float instead of flood. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says HEAVY FLOODING HIT PARTS
OF ONTARIO AGAIN THIS SPRING.
IT'S BECOME A COMMON OCCURRENCE
AND RAISES MAJOR ISSUES ABOUT
HOW TO COPE AND PLAN FOR THE
FUTURE.
ELIZABETH ENGLISH IS AN
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF
ARCHITECTURE AT THE UNIVERSITY
OF WATERLOO.
FOR HER, IT'S ALL ABOUT LEARNING
TO LIVE WITH WATER.
SHE IS ALSO FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR
OF THE BUOYANT FOUNDATION
PROJECT WHICH DESIGNS AND BUILDS
HOUSES THAT FLOAT RATHER THAN
FLOOD, AND SHE JOINS US NOW FOR MORE.

Elizabeth is in her late fifties, with short gray hair. She's wearing a striped purple satin jacket.

Nam continues WELCOME.
IT'S VERY NICE TO HAVE YOU TO
THE PROGRAM FOR THE VERY FIRST
TIME.

Elizabeth says THANK YOU.

Nam says THANKS FOR BEING HERE.
WHAT IS THE BUOYANT FOUNDATION PROJECT?

The caption changes to "Elizabeth English. University of Waterloo."
Then, it changes again to "Guarding against rising water."

Elizabeth says THE BUOYANT FOUNDATION
PROJECT IS WHAT I CALL MY
UMBRELLA RESEARCH GROUP.
SO IT'S AN ORGANIZATION NAME
UNDER WHICH I CONDUCT THE
RESEARCH FOR DEVELOPING
AMPHIBIOUS CONSTRUCTION, DESIGNS
FOR AMPHIBIOUS HOUSING, BUT
MOSTLY RETROFIT.

Nam says THAT LEADS US INTO THE
NEXT QUESTION.
WHAT IS AMPHIBIOUS CONSTRUCTION?

The caption changes to "Elizabeth English. Buoyant Foundation Project."

Elizabeth says WELL, AMPHIBIOUS CONSTRUCTION
REFERS TO DESIGNING A BUILDING
SO THAT IT LOOKS LIKE AN
ORDINARY BUILDING MOST OF THE
TIME, BUT WHEN A FLOOD COMES,
AND ONLY WHEN A FLOOD COMES, IT
WILL FLOAT UP, STRAIGHT UP,
DIRECTLY UP, AND THEN AS THE
FLOOD GOES AWAY, COME BACK DOWN
AND REST ON ITS ORIGINAL
FOUNDATION AGAIN.
SO IT NEEDS BUOYANCY TO MAKE IT
FLOAT, AND IT NEEDS A VERTICAL
GUIDANCE SYSTEM SO THAT IT
DOESN'T FLOAT AWAY.

Nam says I MEAN, FOR YOU I KNOW
THIS IS WHAT YOU DO ALL THE
TIME.
SO WHEN YOU SAY IT, IT SOUNDS
LIKE, OH, YEAH, THIS IS WHAT'S
HAPPENING.
FOR ME THAT IS OUTSTANDING.
LIKE, THAT IS SUCH A FASCINATING
CONCEPT.
HOW DID YOU START DOING THIS
WORK?

Elizabeth says I STARTED DOING THIS RIGHT
AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA.
SO I'VE BEEN WORKING ON THIS FOR
13 YEARS, BUT I WAS ONE OF THREE
FULL-TIME FACULTY MEMBERS AT THE
LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
HURRICANE CENTRE.
AND I WENT THERE BECAUSE I'D HAD
25 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AT THAT
POINT OF WORKING ON WIND EFFECTS
ON BUILDINGS, DOING WIND TUNNEL
STUDIES AND ANALYZING WIND
EFFECTS ON BUILDINGS.
SO AT THE HURRICANE CENTRE, I
WAS THERE TO DEAL WITH WIND, BUT
HURRICANE KATRINA HAPPENED, AND
I VERY QUICKLY REALIZED THAT
THIS WAS A FLOOD EVENT NOT A
WIND EVENT, AND THAT THE FLOOD
EVENT... THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE
FLOOD EVENTS WERE EVEN MORE
CATASTROPHIC, AND I EXPERIENCED
QUITE A BIT OF THE TRAUMA THAT
PEOPLE WERE GOING THROUGH, AND
IT ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIED ME.
AND I SAID THIS DOESN'T HAVE TO
HAPPEN.
MAYBE I CAN DO SOMETHING TO HELP
PEOPLE NOT HAVE TO SUFFER LIKE
THIS IN THE FUTURE.

Nam says SO HOW DID YOU COME UP
WITH THIS IDEA OF NECESSARILY
NOT, LIKE, PUTTING YOUR HOUSE ON
STILTS BUT MAKING IT BUOYANT, AS
YOU SAID?

The caption changes to "Elizabeth English, @BuoyantFndProj."

Elizabeth says WELL, THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY
MANAGEMENT AGENCY IN THE U.S.,
WHICH IS THE GROUP THAT COMES IN
AFTER A FLOOD AND TRIES TO HELP
PEOPLE...

Nam says FEMA?

Elizabeth says FEMA, YES.
SO FEMA WAS TELLING EVERYBODY
THAT THEY HAD TO PUT THEIR
HOUSES UP ON STILTS OR ON HIGHER
FOUNDATIONS, BUT THERE'S A WAY
OF LIVING IN NEW ORLEANS THAT IS
VERY CLOSELY TIED TO BEING VERY
NEAR THE SIDEWALK, VERY SLIGHTLY
OFF THE GROUND, SITTING ON YOUR
FRONT PORCH AND TALKING TO YOUR
NEIGHBOURS AS THEY WALK BY, AND
THE HOUSES ARE ALL CLOSE BY
TOGETHER.
AND IT'S THE HOUSING TYPOLOGY IS
SUCH THAT IF YOU START PUTTING
SOME OF THE HOUSES WAY UP ON
STILTS, IT'S GOING TO BE
COMPLETELY DISRUPTIVE.
NOT JUST VISUALLY TO THE LOOK OF
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD BUT ALSO TO
THE WAY OF LIFE.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Nam says I GUESS BECAUSE PEOPLE
WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO GO DOOR TO
DOOR, SIT ON THE PORCH.

Elizabeth says THEY CAN'T SIT ON THE FRONT PORCH AND HAVE THEIR NEIGHBOUR
WALK BY, NOT FARTHER AWAY THAN
YOU ARE FROM ME AND HAVE A CHAT
ALONG THE WAY.
SO THE NEIGHBOURHOODS THAT
DEVELOPED WERE VERY CLOSELY TIED
TOGETHER, AND TO START
FRAGMENTING THEM IN THAT WAY,
AND ALSO FORCING PEOPLE TO
CHANGE THEIR LIFESTYLE, AND THE
ARCHITECT IN ME OBJECTED TO
THAT.

Nam says WELL, HOW DID YOU LEARN
ABOUT AMPHIBIOUS CONSTRUCTION,
THAT THIS COULD BE THE OPTION?

Elizabeth says WELL, I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT IT,
BUT I STARTED THINKING ABOUT
WHAT COULD BE DONE SO THAT
PEOPLE COULD CONTINUE TO LIVE AT
THE LEVEL THAT THEY ARE CUSTOMED
TO LIVING, JUST A METRE OR SO
ABOVE THE GROUND, BUT STILL BE
SAFE WHEN THE FLOOD COMES.
AND FLOATING UP WITH THE FLOOD
SEEMED LIKE MAYBE AN IDEA.

Nam says AND THIS HAS BEEN DONE
ELSE WILDERNESS ROAD?

Elizabeth says WELL, THEN I DISCOVERED THAT
THEY WERE DOING THAT IN THE
NETHERLANDS, AND SO I LEARNED
ABOUT THAT, AND THEN I HELD A
COURSE AT LSU DEALING WITH THIS,
AND ONE OF THE STUDENTS IN THE
CLASS WAS FROM A FAMILY THAT HAD
A SUMMER PLACE ON A LAKE WHERE
PEOPLE HAD BEEN DOING THIS FOR
ALMOST 30 YEARS AT THAT POINT.

Nam says WAS THAT SOMETHING THAT
JUST KIND OF MADE YOU FRUSTRATED
THAT, YOU KNOW...

Elizabeth says NO.
I WAS FRUSTRATED THAT PEOPLE
DIDN'T KNOW MORE ABOUT IT, BUT I
WANTED TO HELP PEOPLE KNOW MORE
ABOUT IT.
I WAS THRILLED TO FIND THIS
WORKING EXAMPLE WHERE THEY'D
ALREADY TESTED OUT A LOT OF THE
IDEAS THAT I WAS TRYING TO
DEVELOP, AND SO THEY BECAME MY
GOOD FRIENDS AND MY TEACHERS.

Nam says AND SO I GUESS THE WAY
THIS WOULD WORK IS THIS WOULD BE
DONE TO HOMES THAT ALREADY EXIST?

Elizabeth says THAT'S WHY I DO... WELL, I DO
EXISTING HOMES FOR TWO REASONS.
THE FIRST REASON IS THAT WHAT I
WANTED TO DO WAS HELP PEOPLE WHO
WERE ALREADY IN COMMUNITIES AND
DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE THEIR
COMMUNITIES FRAGMENTED, DIDN'T
WANT TO HAVE THE LOOK AND FEEL
AND WAY OF LIFE IN THE COMMUNITY
DRAMATICALLY CHANGED BY PUTTING
THEM WAY UP IN THE AIR, AND ALSO
DIDN'T WANT TO BE FORCED TO MOVE
AWAY, DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE NO
OTHER OPTIONS BUT EITHER PUT
THEIR HOUSE UP OR MOVE.
OR LIVE IN DANGER.
AND SO I WANTED TO WORK WITH
EXISTING COMMUNITIES AND PEOPLE
WHO ALREADY HAD HOUSES, AND THIS
WOULD BE A WAY TO MAKE THEIR
HOUSES SAFER, PROTECT THE HOUSE
AND THEIR BELONGINGS.
NOT FOR STAYING IN THE HOUSE
DURING THE FLOOD.
SO THE PEOPLE EVACUATE, BUT THE
WONDERFUL THING IS THAT WHEN
THEY COME BACK, THEY DON'T...
THEY'RE NOT HEARTSICK OVER THE
DAMAGE AND LOSS AND EVERYTHING
THAT'S DESTROYED AND THE PROCESS
OF GOING TO LIVE SOMEWHERE ELSE
WHILE THEIR HOUSE IS BEING
CLEANED OUT AND EVERYTHING'S
THROWN OUT.
IT'S A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLY
TRAUMATIC SITUATION THAT PEOPLE
FIND THEMSELVES IN.
WHERE IF THEY GO AWAY AND
THERE'S A TERRIBLE FLOOD, BUT
THE HOUSE GOES UP, SITS ON TOP
OF THE FLOOD, THE WATER DOES
WHAT IT WANTS BECAUSE THE HOUSE
ISN'T IN THE WAY OF THE WATER,
AND WHEN THE WATER GOES AWAY,
THE HOUSE COMES BACK DOWN.
LOOKS JUST LIKE IT DID
BEFOREHAND, AND THE PEOPLE COME
BACK AND THERE'S NO DAMAGE.

Nam says WE ARE TALKING ABOUT
THIS IDEA OF RETROFITTING HOMES.
WE SHOULD SHOW PEOPLE MAYBE HOW
IT WORKS.
WE HAVE A VIDEO HERE.
CAN YOU SHOW US... CAN YOU
EXPLAIN TO US WHAT'S HAPPENING
IN THE VIDEO, PLEASE?

A clip plays on screen. In animation, an aerial view shows a detached, one-storey house in a residential neighbourhood. The house and the framing float up leaving only the foundations. A wooden grille under the floor floats up too and reveals the concrete base of the house.

As the animation continues, Elizabeth says OKAY.
WELL, FIRST, THE HOUSE AND THE
FRAMING ARE FLYING OFF VERY
FAST.
AND THEN THE PERIMETER WALL GOES
UP A LITTLE BIT AND THEN THE
VERTICAL GUIDANCE POSTS DROP IN,
AND THEN THE PRE-MANUFACTURED
DOCK FLOATS THAT PROVIDE THE
BUOYANCY, AND THEN THE FRAMING
THAT TAKES THE UPLIFT FROM THE
BUOYANCY, AND THEN THE REST OF
THE HOUSE COMES BACK DOWN, AND
NOW THE FLOOD COMES...

In the clip the neighbourhood floods and the house floats without moving from its spot.

Elizabeth continues AND THE
TELESCOPIC POLES HAVE... IT'S A
POLE INSIDE A POLE ATTACHED TO
THE INNER SLEEVE AT THE TOP OF
IT, AND SO WHEN THE HOUSE GOES
UP, IT PULLS THE INNER POST UP
FROM THE SLEEVE.
LIKE AN OLD FASHIONED CAR
ANTENNA, OR LIKE THE HANDLE ON
YOUR ROLLER BOARD SUITCASE.
SO IT PULLS UP AND THEN IT GOES
BACK DOWN.

Nam says SO WHEN IT SENSES THE
WATER, IT GOES UP?

Elizabeth says IT'S ATTACHED TO THE FLOOR FRAMING.
YOU SAW THERE WAS SOME STRUCTURE
GOING IN TO TAKE THE UPLIFT FROM
THE BUOYANCY BLOCK.
THAT HAS LITTLE TABS THAT STICK
OUT FROM UNDERNEATH THE
PERIMETER OF THE HOUSE, AND
THOSE TABS ATTACH TO THE TOP OF
THE INSIDE POLE.

Nam says OKAY.

Elizabeth says SO WHEN THE FLOOD COMES AND
THE BUOYANCY LIFTS THE HOUSE...

Nam says OH, THE WATER LIFTS IT.

Elizabeth says THE WATER LIFTS THE HOUSE.
THE WHOLE THING HAPPENS ENTIRELY
PASSIVELY.
THERE'S NO MECHANICAL SYSTEM.
THERE'S NO BUTTONS YOU HAVE TO
PUSH.
YOU CAN BE FAR AWAY ON VACATION
WHEN THE FLOOD COMES AND YOUR
HOUSE WILL DO THIS BY ITSELF
WITHOUT YOUR BEING THERE.
YOU HAVE TO DO... YOU HAVE TO
MAKE ACCOMMODATION FOR THE
UTILITIES, BUT THAT'S A STANDARD
PROCESS AND IT'S NOT DIFFICULT.

Nam says DOES THIS WORK WITH
HOUSES THAT HAVE BASEMENTS?

Elizabeth says IT'S NOT SO GOOD FOR
BASEMENTS AT THIS STAGE.
THIS IS VERY EARLY DEVELOPMENT
OF THE TECHNOLOGY, SO WE'RE
DEALING WITH THE EASIEST THINGS
FIRST.

Nam says IT LOOKS EXPENSIVE.

Elizabeth says IT'S NOT EXPENSIVE.
IT'S ACTUALLY REALLY INEXPENSIVE
BECAUSE COMPARED... AT LEAST
COMPARED TO PUTTING A HOUSE UP
ON STILTS OR ELEVATING, BECAUSE
WHEN YOU ELEVATE A HOUSE, PUT IT
ON STILTS, YOU HAVE TO PUT IN A
WHOLE NEW FOUNDATION SYSTEM.
BUT IF YOU'RE DOING A RETROFIT
AND THE COST OF THE RETROFIT IS
LESS THAN 50 percent OF THE VALUE OF
THE HOUSE, THEN THE NEW
CONSTRUCTION CAN BE WHAT WE CALL
GRANDFATHERED IN, WHICH MEANS
THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO BRING
EVERYTHING IN THE HOUSE UP TO
THE LATEST STANDARDS.
YOU CAN USE WHAT'S THERE.
SO YOU CAN USE THE EXISTING
GRAVITY, LOAD-BEARING FOUNDATION
SYSTEM FOR THE HOUSE, AND YOU
DON'T HAVE TO PUT THAT... PULL
THAT OUT AND PUT THAT BACK INTO
THE EARTH AGAIN THE WAY YOU DO
IF YOU PUT A HOUSE UP ON STILTS.

Nam says SO YOU WOULD GO INTO A
CRAWL SPACE THEN?

Elizabeth says YES, YES.

Nam says AND ONE...

Elizabeth says SO THAT'S WHY WHEN WE WERE...
WHEN I SAID NOW THE PERIMETER
WALLS, THE FOUNDATION WALL IS
BEING RAISED A LITTLE BIT,
THAT'S BECAUSE THE CRAWL SPACE
ON THAT HOUSE WASN'T DEEP ENOUGH
FOR THE BUOYANCY BLOCKS.

Nam says OKAY.

Elizabeth says SO YOU HAVE TO JACK THE HOUSE
UP A LITTLE BIT.
IT DOESN'T HAVE TO FLY AWAY.
JACK IT UP A LITTLE BIT SO THAT
THERE'S ENOUGH ROOM TO GET
UNDERNEATH THERE AND THEN IF
THERE ISN'T ENOUGH SPACE TO FIT
IN THE FRAMING AND THE BUOYANCY
BLOCKS AND HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF
SPACE LEFT BETWEEN THE BLOCKS
AND THE GROUND, BECAUSE YOU
DON'T WANT THE BLOCKS SITTING ON
THE GROUND, THEN YOU HAVE TO
HEIGHTEN THE PERIMETER WALL A
LITTLE BIT, BUT NOT... DOESN'T
HAVE TO BE TOO MUCH.

Nam says THIS IS SO INTERESTING.
IT SOUNDS LIKE... IT'S SUCH A
COOL IDEA.
WHEN YOU FIRST SAW THIS IN REAL
LIFE, WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION?

Elizabeth says WELL, WHEN I FIRST SAW IT, IT
WAS THE VACATION HOMES IN OLD
RIVER LANDING, LOUISIANA, ON A
LAKE WHERE PEOPLE WENT TO GO
FISHING.
AND I SAW IT THERE, AND IT WAS
AMAZING, BUT I HAD ALREADY HAD
THIS VERY, VERY SIMILAR IDEA IN
MY MIND.
AND SO THIS JUST CONFIRMED THAT
THE IDEA THAT I HAD COULD
ACTUALLY WORK, AND IN FACT THESE
PEOPLE HAD BEEN SHOWING HOW IT
WORKS FOR 30 YEARS.
NOW THEY'D BEEN, YOU KNOW, DOING
IT WITHOUT A LOT OF CALCULATIONS
FROM PROFESSIONALS AND WITHOUT A
LOT OF APPLICATIONS FOR BUILDING
CODES, BUILDING PERMITS, AND
WITHOUT A LOT OF ATTENTION TO
THE BUILDING CODES BECAUSE
THEY'RE ACTUALLY IN A PLACE THAT
IS OUTSIDE THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
LEVY SYSTEM.
IT'S ON A LAKE THAT... A LONG
SKINNY CURVED LAKE THAT USED TO
BE PART OF THE COURSE OF THE
MISSISSIPPI RIVER, BUT THE
MISSISSIPPI RIVER BEFORE IT WAS
CONCRETED IN USED TO CHANGE ITS
COURSE QUITE A LOT.

Nam says SO THERE WERE HOUSES
THERE.

Elizabeth says NO, SO THERE WERE NO HOUSES
THERE.
IT WAS A PIECE OF THE RIVER, AND
THE RIVER JUMPED, BASICALLY
JUMPED TO THE OTHER SIDE OF AN
ISLAND.

Nam says WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO
EXPAND THIS BEYOND LOUISIANA?

Elizabeth says PARTLY BECAUSE FEMA WOULDN'T
ALLOW ME TO DO IT.

Nam says WHY IS THAT?

The caption changes to "From Louisiana to Ontario."

Elizabeth says BECAUSE FEMA, FOR VERY GOOD
REASON, IN GENERAL, IN THAT FEMA
DOESN'T WANT THE TECHNOLOGY TO
BE DEVELOPED TO THE POINT THAT
DEVELOPERS CAN COME IN AND
CREATE NEW NEIGHBOURHOODS IN
FLOOD PLAINS AND HAVE THEM BE
SAFE PLACES FOR PEOPLE TO LIVE.
SO IN ORDER TO PREVENT NEW
AMPHIBIOUS CONSTRUCTION IN
INAPPROPRIATE PLACES, AND I
ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH THAT.
WE WOULDN'T BE SHOULDN'T BE
PUTTING IN NEW COMMUNITIES IN
FLOOD PLAINS.
BUT BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T WANT TO
SEE THAT HAPPEN, THEY WERE JUST
MAKING A BLANKET STATEMENT THAT
YOU COULDN'T DO AMPHIBIOUS
CONSTRUCTION AT ALL.

Nam says DOES THIS IMPACT
INSURANCE IN ANY WAY?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Elizabeth says YES, IT DOES.
AND IN THE U.S. THERE IS THE
NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE
PROGRAM, THE NFIP, WHICH IS
ADMINISTERED BY FEMA.
SO THIS IS THE STICK THAT FEMA
HAS.
SO THEY TOLD ME IF I PERSUADED
ANYONE TO GIVE ME ANY
MUNICIPALITY TO GIVE ME A
BUILDING PERMIT, THAT THAT WOULD
SERIOUSLY JEOPARDIZE THAT ENTIRE
COMMUNITY'S GOOD STANDING WITH
THE NFIP.

Elizabeth says WHAT ABOUT THE WORK YOU'RE
DOING IN CANADA?

Elizabeth says SO I'VE BEEN IN CANADA FOR 12
YEARS, AND I ARRIVED HERE
SHORTLY AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA
AND AFTER BEING AT THE LSU
HURRICANE CENTRE, AND IT WAS
POINTED OUT TO ME THAT THE TYPES
OF COMMUNITIES THAT I WAS
WANTING TO HELP IN LOUISIANA
WERE NOT THAT DIFFERENT FROM
SOME OF THE FIRST NATIONS
COMMUNITIES IN CANADA, IN THAT
THERE ARE SUCH VERY, VERY STRONG
TIES TO THE LAND THAT YOU CAN'T
PRY THE PEOPLE LOOSE.
YOU DON'T WANT TO.
MOVING IS NOT AN OPTION.
YOU WANT TO FIND A WAY OF MAKING
IT POSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO
CONTINUE TO LIVE IN THE SAME
PLACE, BUT SAFELY AND WITHOUT
THAT KIND OF DISTRESS FROM
FLOODING.

Nam says MM-HM.
WHAT IS THE NATIONAL RESEARCH
COUNCIL PROJECT YOU'RE WORKING ON?

Elizabeth says SO TWO YEARS AGO I WAS
AWARDED A GRANT FROM THE NRC TO
DEVELOP AMPHIBIOUS CONSTRUCTION
IN CANADA TO START DEVELOPING
AMPHIBIOUS CONSTRUCTION IN
CANADA AS A CLIMATE CHANGE
ADAPTATION STRATEGY FOR FIRST
NATIONS COMMUNITIES.
SO THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO.

Nam says DO YOU THINK THAT THIS
IDEA IS NOW MORE PEOPLE ARE I
GUESS MORE RECEPTIVE TO
UNDERSTANDING IT MORE THAN WHEN
YOU FIRST SUGGESTED IT?

The caption changes to "Sink or swim."

Elizabeth says OH, ABSOLUTELY.
WHEN I STARTED, I COULDN'T
MENTION IT WITHOUT BEING LAUGHED
AT.
IT WAS ROUGH.
I GOT RIDICULED A LOT, BUT
NOBODY LAUGHS AT ME ANYMORE.
EVERYBODY REALIZES THAT THERE
ARE NOT ENOUGH GOOD SOLUTIONS
OUT THERE, AND THIS IS NOT, IT'S
ABSOLUTELY NOT A ONE SIZE FITS
ALL SOLUTION, BUT FOR THE TYPES
OF SITUATIONS WHERE IT CAN HELP,
IT CAN BE HUGELY HELPFUL AND IT
WORKS MUCH, MUCH BETTER THAN ANY
OF THE OTHER OPTIONS

Nam says IN THE OPENING I
MENTIONED THAT WE NEED TO LEARN
TO LIVE WITH WATER.
HOW DO WE AS A SOCIETY NEED TO
LEARN TO LIVE WITH WATER?

Elizabeth says WELL, THAT'S ONE OF MY
FAVOURITE THEMES.
SO I LIKE TO DESCRIBE WHAT THE
AMPHIBIOUS... RETROFITTED
AMPHIBIOUS HOUSE DOES AS SITTING
LIGHTLY ON THE LAND AND THEN
LIFTING WITH THE WATER.
SO THE WATER IS ACTUALLY NO
LONGER THE ENEMY BUT THE WATER
IS THE FRIEND THAT'S LIFTING THE
HOUSE TO SAFETY.
AND IT WORKS IN SYNCHRONY WITH
THE WATER.
IT LETS THE WATER FLOW WHERE IT
WANTS TO.
IT DOESN'T TRY TO CONTROL THE
WATER OR MAKE IT GO HERE OR MAKE
IT GO THERE.
IT LETS THE WATER GO WHERE THE
WATER WANTS TO, WHERE I
BELIEVE... AND THIS IS MY BELIEF
SYSTEM, BUT I BELIEVE THE WATER
OUGHT TO BE ALLOWED TO GO AND
THAT WE ARE MAKING A MISTAKE AS
A HUMAN CULTURE TO TRY TO PUT
THE WATER BEHIND WALLS AND INTO
CHANNELS AND LEVIES AND SEAWALLS
AND ALL OF THAT.
BECAUSE EVENTUALLY THERE'S GOING
TO BE A PROBLEM.
WE BECOME COMPLACENT.
AND I BELIEVE THAT IF WE PICK A
FIGHT WITH MOTHER NATURE, WE'RE
GOING TO LOSE.

Nam says SO WE HAVE TO LEARN HOW
TO LIVE AND WORK AROUND IT.

Elizabeth says WE HAVE TO RESPECT MOTHER
NATURE.
WE HAVE TO RESPECT THE POWER OF
THE WATER, AND WE SHOULD DO TO
THE EXTENT ABSOLUTELY AS MUCH AS
POSSIBLE WE SHOULD TRY TO DO THE
ACCOMMODATING.
THERE ARE PLACES WHERE THE
LEVIES AND THE WALLS ARE ALREADY
IN PLACE, AND REMOVING THEM
WOULD BE VERY, VERY DIFFICULT.
BUT WE DON'T NEED TO AMPLIFY
THAT SYSTEM.

Nam says WE HAVE ABOUT 30 SECONDS
LEFT, BUT I WANTED TO GO BACK TO
THIS IDEA OF AMPHIBIOUS
CONSTRUCTION TAKING A HOLD AND
WHY WE SHOULD BE PAYING
ATTENTION TO IT.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE MESSAGING
IS STARTING TO TAKE A HOLD NOW?

Elizabeth says BECAUSE PEOPLE REALIZE THAT
THE OTHER OPTIONS ARE
INSUFFICIENT.
WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TOOLS IN
THE TOOL KIT, AND THIS IS
ANOTHER TOOL.
AND RIGHT NOW I RECOMMEND USING
IT FOR WHAT WE CALL PIER AND
BEAM CONSTRUCTION, WHICH IS
SOMETHING WITH A CRAWL SPACE.
BUT EVENTUALLY WE'LL DEVELOP
THIS SO WE CAN USE IT FOR
BASEMENTS AND WE CAN USE IT FOR
SLAB ON GRADE CONSTRUCTION.
THE OTHER TYPES OF CONSTRUCTION
WILL COME ALONG, BUT RIGHT NOW
THE EASIEST AND THE CHEAPEST IS
THE SYSTEM THAT HAS THE CRAWL
SPACE.
AND FOR ME, THAT'S ALSO THE
PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THE GREATEST
NEED.

The caption changes to "Producer: Katie O'Connor, @KA_OConnor."

Nam says WELL, ELIZABETH, I WISH
WE COULD TALK ABOUT THIS MORE,
BUT THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR
COMING ON TO THE SHOW AND
EDUCATING US ON THIS.
IT'S SO FASCINATING.
THANK YOU.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Elizabeth says THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING
ME. IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE.

Nam says THANK YOU.

Watch: When Houses Float Instead of Flood