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Boston is rethinking its relationship with the sea

Boston is rethinking its relationship with the sea

1 feb 2015 - Rising sea levels, sinking land. Cities on the US East Coast might find themselves in trouble in a few decades. Boston is thinking of a radical plan to cope with the imminent changes. They are looking to Amsterdam and Venice for inspiration. Boston will become a city of canals.

Vulnerable cities
- Boston is the world’s eighth most vulnerable city to financial loss because of sea-level rise, according to a 2013 World Bank study
- Other US cities ahead of Boston on this list are Miami (2nd), New York (3rd) and New Orleans (4th)
- The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) predicts sea levels will rise by between 3ft and 6.6ft on the US East Coast by the end of the century

Boston has experienced an increase in precipitation over the past few decades. Combined with sinking land, as the land around the West Coaste San Andreas Fault rises, makes up for a huge problem. It is clear to Boston’s city planner and architects that a radical change is necessary.

They are contemplating the idea of turning its waterside district of Black Bay into a network of canals.

“Much of the model has been how do we keep the water out? Everybody’s afraid of the water,” says Dennis Carlberg, sustainability director at Boston University and co-chair of Boston’s sea-level rise committee.

“So we wanted to turn that conversation on its head and say, well what if we let water in? How can we make life better in Boston by bringing water in?”

Boston is rethinking its relationship with the sea - Afbeelding 1
Urban Land Institute
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