Boston to Leverage Private Developers for a New Climate Resiliency Fund

It's going to take a lot of funding to build the infrastructure to protect coastal cities from rising seas as climate change takes hold. The city of Boston is starting to experiment with revenue sources that can fund the necessary improvements.

September 10, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A map of the Boston harbor with locations highlighted that will be vulnerable to sea-level rise.

Climate Ready Boston / Resilient Boston Harbor Plan

Boston planners are pushing a Climate Resiliency Fund to leverage private development in locations like the city-owned Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park in Seaport for the funding necessary to build protections from rising seas.

According to an article by Andy Rosen, the Climate Resilience Fund is and experiment in infrastructure funding: "asking developers eager to build in the park to help finance a sea wall and other defenses that will protect not just their glimmering new towers of lab space but also the remnants of maritime industry that still operate there."

The Boston Planning & Development Agency is leaning on private sector developers, reports Rosen, to help generate the $124 million needed to construct "the most urgently needed protections for a 191-acre area that in its current state could be prone to flooding as soon as the 2030s and could be largely under water at high tide by the end of the century."

The Climate Resiliency Fund works similarly to how the city "requires commercial developers to contribute a set amount to affordable housing funds, or often to pay for park space or infrastructure upgrades near their projects," according to Rosen.

For more on the city's efforts to prepare for the rising seas of climate change, visit the Climate Ready Boston website, launched on August 9, 2021, lists several initiatives for climate resilience, without mentioning the Climate Resiliency Fund. Rosen's coverage of the Climate Resiliency Fund was published before news that Boston Mayor Kim Janey was rescinding support for the Downtown Harbor Plan championed by the previous mayoral administration.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 in The Boston Globe

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