SeaCities pp 59-105 | Cite as

Lo-TEK: Underwater and Intertidal Nature-Based Technologies

Part of the Cities Research Series book series (CRS)


This chapter considers the underwater and intertidal nature-based technologies of indigenous cultures and explores their innovations as solutions for the impacts of climate change to low-lying coastal areas. Indigenous people have been living with and developing water-responsive infrastructures for generations that engage and support the complex ecosystems they inhabit. Rooted in traditional ecological knowledge, or TEK, these technologies work symbiotically with, rather than against nature, ushering in a more comprehensive approach to underwater and intertidal design. Indigenous peoples’ responses to sea level rise and storm events improve coastal resiliency, yet remain undocumented and unexplored in the evolution of contemporary solutions. This chapter places these technologies in the modern scientific framework, cross-referencing indigenous people’s local nature-based technologies using the five sea level rise response strategies outlined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2019 Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate: protect, accommodate, retreat, advance, and ecosystem-based adaptation. Reframed through an architectural and scientific rather than anthropological lens, the challenges cultures were facing and the resources that were available to them are explored to inform us in designing for global climate resiliency today.


Lo-TEK TEK Indigenous Nature-based solutions Hybrid technologies Resilience Climate change Coastal resilience Ecosystem protection Symbiotic design 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Design, Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.SeaCities, Cities Research Institute, Griffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia
  4. 4.Independent ScholarNew YorkUSA

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