From the competitive ports of China, to the innovative flood gates of the Netherlands, to the shifting sands of the Outer Banks, the sea creeps farther up the coastline every single day, and the distance between the top of the water and the bottom of bridges decreases — a major issue for port economies. UNC American studies professor Rachel Willis searches for solutions to help these communities cope with the impact of sea-level rise.
Rising senior Morgan Vickers is an undergraduate research assistant for the Community Histories Workshop in the Digital Innovations Lab. She is a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow double-majoring in American studies and communications studies, with a minor in creative writing within the UNC College of Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on mapping historic cities now underwater, with attention to factors like racial dynamics, changing town infrastructure, and occupations.
Rachel Willis is a professor of American studies, global studies, and economics within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Her research focuses on how sea-level rise, drought, and increased storm severity threaten port communities, influence migration, alter global food sheds, and impact future access to work through complex water connections related to infrastructure for global freight transportation.