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

A image of the World's Columbian Exposition overlayed with a picture of Keanu Reeves in the rain from the movie Point Break.

Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’

Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.

August 8, 2022 - Reel Chicago


Opinion: Aging Population, Declining Fertility Requires Long-Term Investments

Faced with the dire consequences of a one-two punch of aging populations and declining birthrates, one writer has suggestions for how policy can help ensure a better future.

August 9, 2022 - Financial Times

People gather on a street with no cars during the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers in the Meatpacking District of New York City.

The Tide Has Turned Against Open Streets

Once a promising development for advocates pushing for a less car-centric future in cities, the open streets movement has ceded significant ground to cars since the height of the pandemic.

August 14, 2022 - The New York Times

Three blue Amazon delivery trucks at bays at a distribution center

Key Warehouse Centers Challenge Distribution Center Expansion

Communities near major e-commerce distribution centers are increasingly resisting new construction, citing air pollution and other public health impacts.

August 16 - Bloomberg CityLab

Yellow house on residential street in Atherton, California

Another Silicon Valley Enclave Resists Multifamily Housing

Ultrawealthy residents have blocked a proposal to build townhouse developments in one of California’s most affluent communities.

August 16 - The New York Times

Galveston, Texas

Flooding 210 Days a Year—No Storms Necessary

It no longer takes a storm to cause flooding in many coastal areas of the United States. Galveston, Texas could eventually face floods more than half the days of the year.

August 16 - Houston Chronicle

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.