Preparing for the Rise: A Study of Boston’s Sea Level & Designs for Coastal Resiliency

Authors: Emilia Perez; Chase Gaudino; Lauren Kaija; Hannah Schulz; Trisha Worthington

Advisors: Suzanne LePage; Leonard Albano

Category: Undergraduate

Climate Ready Boston (CRB) began the work of assessing the impact of climate change on the City of Boston in 2016 by looking at the effects of increased temperatures, precipitation, storms, and sea level rise (SLR). The work pertaining to SLR was conducted in anticipation of 36′ of SLR by the year 2070. It is expected that new projections set to be released soon will show that Boston will experience 48′ of SLR by 2070 instead of 36′. This team was tasked with reassessing the effects of the additional foot of SLR on an area of the City. The team evaluated vulnerable neighborhoods within Boston, and then narrowed the scope of the project to focus on one area that will be impacted by the increase. The team created a GIS model reflecting the additional SLR effects in the neighborhood of East Boston, calculated the additional costs associated with the new prediction, and conceptually designed flood barriers to protect vulnerable residents in East Boston. These conceptual flood barrier designs would ultimately increase resiliency and the sustainability of a community. A team member conducted an additional community survey and workshop to inform and allow for discussion among residents within East Boston about sea level rise and future City projects. Further research was also done on international approaches to sea level rise protection measures and recommendations were made for future projects and planning efforts in Boston.

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