The Los Angeles city council recently approved an ambitious project to build an extensive ocean research center on an unused pier in San Pedro, an economically depressed area. The project, known as AltaSea, will be a collaboration between public and private entities, including the Port of Los Angeles and several universities. It will span 35 acres of water and land, and include facilities for studying tsunami waves and other phenomena, classrooms, exhibits, labs and offices. The Southern California Marine Institute, which combines the marine studies programs of twelve universities, will be one of the first organizations to take up residence at AltaSea. The project will take 15 to 20 years to complete and cost $500 million, a good chunk of which has already been pledged by the Annenberg Foundation and private donations. The project is expected to generate nearly 8000 jobs for the community, and the gains it will make in our understanding of the ocean are incalculable.