In dense harbor cities like Boston, planners are only now coming to grips with the scale of the changes that will be required to cope with rising sea levels. As “100-year” storms become far more frequent and surges top 15 feet, the journal Environment@Harvard has predicted that the changing climate will likely “make most of Boston briefly part of the Atlantic Ocean” at least once by 2050 and suggested the damage would cost more than $400 billion in today’s dollars.
Plans to protect big cities from the sea usually focus on offshore infrastructure like the floodgates that protect London and Rotterdam, which cost billions of dollars. But a truly smart agenda would direct that investment into the city itself, inaugurating a new era of urban
resilience that protects Boston while also making it more livable and competitive.