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Cities Sinking Due to Bad Location: A Global Concern

I read in the newspaper that, New York is sinking, I guess those who advocate sea level rise might rethink sea-level rise.
The world is home to numerous cities that are sinking, not due to climate change but primarily because of their poor location. This article will shed light on these cities and the reasons behind their subsidence.

Understanding the Phenomenon

Before I delve into the list of cities, it’s crucial to understand why cities sink. The primary reason behind sinking cities today is anthropogenic changes to soil-bearing capacity following heavy loading and excessive groundwater extraction (or oil and gas). Land subsidence can also have natural causes like tectonics, glacial isostatic adjustments, and natural sediment compaction.

The Sinking Cities

Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta is the fastest-sinking city in the world. Large parts of the city have settled two to four meters since the 1970s. The city is sinking due to excessive groundwater pumping, which could result in it being underwater by 2050.

Houston, Texas, USA

Houston has severe subsidence problems from groundwater pumping and oil and gas extraction. By 1979, almost 10 feet of subsidence occurred in the region. Houston’s continuous sinking makes it vulnerable to natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, which affected thousands of people.

Venice, Italy

Venice is sinking at a rate of 0.08 inches every year. The city is built on wooden piles driven into the marshy ground, which is not the most stable foundation. Over time, the town’s weight has caused the ground to compress, leading to subsidence.

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans is sinking at a rate of 2 inches per year. Both human and environmental factors are to blame for New Orleans’ sinking land. The city is built on soft, silt-heavy soil, and oil and gas extraction has also contributed to the subsidence.

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is sinking more than 1 centimetre yearly and may be below sea level by 2030. The city is built on a swamp, and the excessive groundwater pumping has caused the land to sink.

Miami, Florida, USA

It’s worth mentioning Miami, Florida. Miami is experiencing floods, contaminated drinking water, and significant damage to homes and roads. However, it’s important to note that the city’s sinking is primarily due to its location and human activities, not climate change. It does not build upon bedrock, mainly coral that is eroding.


It’s important to clarify a common misconception: climate change is not the primary driver of these cities’ sinking. While it’s true that climate change can contribute to rising sea levels, the primary cause of these cities’ sinking is their location and human activities, such as excessive groundwater extraction and heavy loading on the soil.

Research from the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that various factors, including temperature, salinity, and ocean water volume, influence sea level changes. However, the sinking of cities like Jakarta, Houston, Venice, New Orleans, Bangkok, and Miami is primarily due to their location and human activities, not sea level rise caused by climate change.

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