Land reclamation

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Land reclamation is either of two distinct practices. One involves a change from an area's natural state, the other restoring an area to a more natural state.


[edit] Creating new land

Image:East Coast Park Panorama, Mar 06.jpg
The entire East Coast Park in Singapore was built on reclaimed land with a man-made beach.

Land reclamation is the creation of new land where there was once water. Notable examples include parts of Washington, D.C. (which is partially built on land that was once swamp); the Cape Town foreshore; the Chicago shoreline, Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts; and the polders of the Netherlands. The southern Chinese cities of Hong Kong and Macau and the city-state of Singapore are also famous for their efforts on land reclamation. Monaco and the British territory of Gibraltar are also expanding due to land reclamation. The city of Rio de Janeiro was largely built on reclaimed land.

Artificial islands are an example of land reclamation. Creating an artificial island is an expensive and risky undertaking. It is often considered in places that are densely populated and flat land is scarce. Kansai International Airport (in Osaka) and Hong Kong International Airport are examples where this process was deemed necessary. The Palm Islands, The World and hotel Burj al-Arab off Dubai in the United Arab Emirates are other examples of artificial islands.

A related practice is the draining of swampy or seasonally submerged wetlands to convert them to farmland. While this does not create new land exactly, it allows productive use of land that would otherwise be restricted to wildlife habitat. It is also an important method of mosquito control.

In some parts of the world, new reclamation projects are restricted or no longer allowed, due to environmental protection laws. For example, draining wetlands for ploughing is a form of habitat destruction.

[edit] Creating agricultural or inhabitable land

Land reclamation is the creation of agricultural or inhabitable land, generally through irrigation.

[edit] Repairing damaged land

Land reclamation (also called land rehabilitation) is also the process of cleaning up a site that has sustained environmental degradation, such as strip mining. This can be done to allow for some form of human use (such as a housing development) or to restore that area back to its natural state as a wildlife habitat home.

[edit] Amount of reclaimed land in artificial islands

Singapore 20% of the original size or 135 km² as of 2003, plans for 99 km² more. [1]

Hong Kong 7% of the original size or 70 km² [2]

Macau 170% of the original size or 17 km² [3]

Tokyo Bay, Japan 249 km². [4]

Kobe, Japan in 1995 23 km². [5]

[edit] See also

ja:干拓 pl:Rekultywacja zh:填海

Land reclamation

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