Behind every city...

Behind every city...


Behind every city...

Imagine living in a city that can be rocked by a powerful earthquake any second, or in a city built on the world’s largest natural harbour.

Well, as hard as it seems, billions manage a safe existence in such metropolises, thanks to smart technology, immaculate planning, and the clever use of natural resources.
Discovery’s new series, Strip The City, gives us a rare glimpse into the inner workings of booming metros that have overcome disastrous natural phenomenon and managed to create a secure environment. The six-part series traverses continents and covers cities that have been blessed with natural resources, but are forced to face nature’s ire. The show has used computer-generated images to break down each city, layer-by-layer, to reveal a geological universe normally hidden under water, tarmac and concrete.

The show first covers San Francisco, the earthquake city, which is home to seven billion people who are sitting on a ‘tectonic timebomb’. How does a city that experiences 20 mild tremors a day, survive? The answer lies in the fact that the city is lucky to have hardworking experts who have explored several technological possibilities to make San Francisco a safe haven. After having witnessed two devastating earthquakes — in 1906 and 1989 — the city had to be nearly rebuilt twice from scratch. Each time, experts in the field managed to create wonderful structures that could withstand the strongest of tremors.

The first such wonder was the iconic Golden Gate bridge that has withstood the elements for 75 years. The bridge has been built with 60-feet-deep foundation and 1,50,000 tonnes of concrete, making it the strongest in the world. And if San Francisco is hit by the next big one, you would want to be on this bridge or at the Trans America Pyramid. The building, with 4,000 glass windows, has been constructed with tough steel skeletons, concrete floors and deep foundations.

However, the big question is — why is this city susceptible to nature’s wrath? Well, millions of years ago, a tectonic accident caused a tear in the landscape near the city, making it a precarious ground for inhabitants. Moreover, the city is also home to the steepest roads in the world, that have been caused by the 48 hills that the city has been built on. But to beat this hurdle, engineers have developed ingenious cable car and subway systems that have been a real boon to the transport system.

The next city featured on the show seems truly fortunate in every sense. The ultra-modern city of Sydney, with a population of 4.5 million, is built on a natural harbour and located on the edge of a scorched continent. This coal-rich country that has come up on sandstone deposits may paint a rosy picture, but this fast growing metropolis, which gets 5,000 immigrants every month, is grappling with some serious concerns.

The very foundation of the harbour city is balancing on ship wrecks that are found on the ocean bed from hundreds of years ago. And now the city has outgrown its long coastline and is gradually encroaching into the sea to cater to its fast growing population. Experts are now planning to build homes on extremely precarious grounds, using strong foundations going all the way down to the rocky surface of the earth. The city’s engineering marvel, Opera House, too was built this way.

Despite being a natural harbour, Sydney has been facing acute water scarcity, forcing the experts to create several reservoirs, dams and other alternative water sources. Brilliant use of technology, tapping into ground water, and clever water engineering have helped manage this crisis as well.

Strip The City is extremely informative and a visual treat because of the special effects and graphics that have gone into its making. Viewers will be taken deeper into each city, bringing to light an alien landscape of underground volcanoes, hidden rivers, subterranean cliffs, fragile fault lines and ancient catacombs that have shaped these cities and lives of the people above. So, watch Strip The City every Saturday at 9 pm, on Discovery Channel, and enter this wonderful world of the unknown.