Boston’s Plans For New Development At Odds With Flood Projections

Four of the five growth areas, including the booming Seaport District in South Boston, are vulnerable to flooding according to a new report

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | January 9, 2017

In Boston, two recent reports, one on the impact of climate change, and the other on planning for future development, provoked a hard look at the wisdom of building in increasingly flood-prone areas. The planning report, “Imagine Boston 2030,” identifies five priority growth areas in the metro area. Four of the five growth areas, including the booming Seaport District in South Boston, are extremely vulnerable to flooding according to the other report, “Climate Ready Boston.” 

Stephen Gray, assistant professor of urban design at Harvard Graduate School of Design, and a cochairman for Boston’s 100 Resilient Cities Resilience Collaborative, points out the contradiction in an opinion column in the Boston Globe. He asks: “How and where we decide to grow will have immeasurable economic and social consequences, so why would we intentionally grow in parts of the city that we know to be extremely vulnerable to flooding?”

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