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Boston’s Seaport District, Where Building Started Before Flood Preparation

The Boston waterfront has been booming, but the area is extremely vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels. Measures to address those risks have come just recently.
June 22, 2019, 5am PDT | Camille Fink
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The Seaport District of Boston has seen immense growth in the last decade, with construction of a slew of new office buildings, condominiums, and museums. But the area is prone to flooding, and projections show the problem will only get worse.

Yet developers and the city, eager to see the Seaport District transform, are just now moving to protect buildings from climate change threats. “Developers are elevating ground floors, putting electrical and other critical equipment on higher ones, and investing in salt water-resistant materials and flood barriers to protect garages and other vulnerable areas of buildings. Boston is planning a series of sea walls, berms, and other structures that will act like a barricade against Mother Nature,” write Prashant Gopal and Brian K. Sullivan.

Other cities, including New York and Miami, are also putting flood-protection measures into place. But observers of the Boston waterfront development say that building took precedence over planning for climate change. "No American city has left such a large swath of expensive new oceanfront real estate and infrastructure exposed to the worst the environment has to offer, according to Chuck Watson, owner of Enki Research, which assesses risk for insurers, investors, and governments,” note Gopal and Sullivan.

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Published on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in Bloomberg BusinessWeek
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