A newly built concrete seawall in Kesennuma, Japan, one of the towns hit by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Researchers think that parks may offer an alternative to walls like this. | Photo by Carl Court / Getty Images
When a tsunami slams into a coast, parks with rolling hills could provide about as much protection as towering seawalls, according to the authors of a new paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
These tsunami mitigation parks, as they’re called, are designed to combine the protective qualities of an engineered landscape with the benefits of a more natural setting. The hybrid approach is especially appealing to less-affluent countries that are looking for alternatives to building pricey seawalls that also preserve coastal economies and ways of life.
“You can build a wall against anything. You can build a wall against a dog. You can build a wall against…