Case Study: Boston Plans for Sea Level Rise and other Climate Impacts

Boston has been planning for the effects that climate change will pose on the city in the future. Currently, the city is facing vulnerabilities that must be mitigated in the coming decades to avoid chronic flooding by 2100. Much of the city is built on filled in wetlands and tidelands that are causing parts of the city to shrink up to 6 inches per year. In addition, 34 harbor islands working as buffers for coastal storms are becoming more at risk as the sea level rises.

Boston has been a leader since 1996 when they began enforcing LEED certifications for all new buildings. In 2013, the city expanded the rules to include taking into account climate change impacts on large buildings.  The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BDPA) created a Climate Change Preparedness and Resiliency checklist that include standards that must be met in order to be approved for construction. Some of the standards include energy usage, carbon emissions, emergency power, and the ability to withstand extreme heat events, precipitation events, and flood events.


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