Sea Level Rise in Boston: How do you Prepare?

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By now you could be addicted to the Climate Central tool that forebodes flooding destruction.  The sliders show that if the sea level rises just 5 feet in 10 years, South End residents of Boston will not only have waterfront property, but may also be living Venice style using gondolas to get to and from Mass Ave.

If Boston’s sea level changes fascinate you like they do me, you may want to check out this month’s breakfast program from Massachusetts Building Congress on Thursday March 4th.

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Building Congress, Thursday morning, at the Revere Hotel Boston, a panel of distinguished architects, scientists, and owners will discuss safeguards needed for infrastructure and buildings as Boston prepares for future severe weather events.

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Amongst the renowned panelists, Dr. Ellen Douglas, PE, PhD, will be in attendance. You may remember her work when WeLoveBeantown shared her jaw dropping maps of sea level change.

Dr. Ellen Douglas is a hydrologist and engineer with broad expertise in the analysis of water-related issues. Her research utilizes computer modeling and data analysis to define and support sustainable management policies and practices related to water resources and climate change adaptation.

The current infrastructure here in Boston, and most US coastal cities, is inadequate to support sea level rise.

The city government plans in the next six months to include climate change preparedness as a required design component in the city’s development review guidelines, and to model new guidelines for better enforcing flood-proofing standards on existing buildings. [Badger]

New buildings built conforming to these standards could involve preventing installation of building utilities within basements, using this space to collect water during a passing flood.  Existing first floors of buildings “could be converted to uses that would withstand a passing flood, like parking lots.” [Badger] These are the types of changes that building owners and architects will discuss at Thursday’s meeting.

Established in 1921, the Massachusetts Building Congress provides business and networking forums within the A/E/C community.  The monthly breakfast programs are open to MBC non-members at an extra fee.  Information for becoming an industry member is found here.