Sea Walls, Wetlands, and Porous Streets: Designing a Storm-Proof New York City

Storm damage in Sea Gate, Brooklyn (photo courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office Photo/ Edward Reed)

Would a $20 billion sea wall, stretching from Sandy Hook to the Rockaways, have prevented damage done to New York by Hurricane Sandy's storm surge?

Engineer Fletcher Griffis, speaking on Monday's Brian Lehrer Show, says yes -- "but gosh knows what it will do to the ecology in New York Bay."

Other ideas kicked around during the interview: porous roadways that could reduce flooding,  increased wetlands, and "soft" solutions like zoning changes and ending subsidies for flood insurance.

Listen to the interview below. And check out a data visualization from the U.S. Census Bureau about population growth near the coastline.