It’s hard to imagine sea level rising and creeping over city streets, but if you live in Wellington you don’t have to. The city council has developed a virtual reality simulator, allowing users to travel anywhere in the city, stand on the street, and see the impact of different levels of sea level rise.

You can stand in the shadow of Te Papa and watch as the whole area is swallowed by the ocean. Or travel along Oriental Parade and watch the beech get washed away with only a metres rise.

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Futurologists say virtual hosts and raised streets in Wellington’s future At six metres rise – the absolute worst-case scenario – you can watch the waters creep to the steps of the beehive or flood the town of Makara. The creators say it’s the best way to turn something abstract and distant into hard reality.

Residents can see a simplified version at home from Monday afternoon, by visiting the council’s online simulator. Wellington City Council innovation officer Sean Audain said it was much easier to show people than to explain the impact of sea level rise would have.

“There’s a lot of science that shows us what’s going to happen to the oceans or the ice caps there not much science showing what’s going to happen to cities.” Gaming technology was overlaid with spatial maps of the city to create an interactive environment. Read more from stuff.co.nz…

thumbnail courtesy of stuff.co.nz