Project Overview

Chelsea, a city located just north of Boston, MA, is one of many coastal locations that is vulnerable to flooding. With over 35,000 residents in only 2.2 mi2, Chelsea is a small but densely populated city surrounded by water on three sides. Over the last 15 years, flooding caused by sea level rise and storm surge has cost the city and its residents approximately $16.8 million in property damage (City of Chelsea, 2014); a significant economic and social cost. Recently released models for 2030 and 2070 1.0% and 0.1% floods indicate inundation depths up to 10 ft., highlighting severely vulnerable areas of the city (Woods Hole Group, 2015).

Project Goal and Objectives

The goal of this project was to provide flood adaptation strategy recommendations and relative cost estimates for public buildings critical to the City of Chelsea. Specifically, we evaluated five public buildings within the City of Chelsea to determine their structural and geographical characteristics that cause them to be at risk for coastal flooding, as well as their sensitivity to current flooding and future flooding. In order to achieve our goal, we completed the following objectives:

  1. Identified structural and geographical characteristics of public buildings that cause them to be structures at risk for coastal flooding.
  2. Identified sensitivity of critical buildings by looking at their services and uses, during both day-to-day and flood events.
  3. Identified possible flood adaptation measures that could be used in conjunction with critical public buildings.
  4. Created a prioritized list of flood adaptation strategies with a level of urgency, in addition to cost and time estimates for proposed options.