Want to Invest in Climate Resilience Right Now? Here are 4 Ways to Do It

According to a piece on GreenBiz.com, by the year 2050, sea level will have risen two feet from its current point. Major storms will see seven-foot swells and category three hurricanes will bring 14-foot surges with them.

“…do we have to wait for a natural disaster in order to act and make change? We shouldn’t,” write authors Gina Ford and Jason Hellendrung.

“Where the cost-benefit of planning and acting proactively is 4:1, a strong economic case for proactivity can be made.”

Ford and Hellendrung, landscape architects and principals at Sasaki Associates continue with ideas for the future.

“How do we make that happen? In our experience with flood and storm recovery, we’ve recognized one truly essential ingredient: collaboration. Post-disaster, people help each other in unexpected ways. Transparency and open communication in the rebuilding process can help keep this momentum going, creating healthier long-term community relationships.”

Ford and Hellendrung are running their Sea Change: Boston initiative, which has given them the opportunity to research sea-level rise and design strategies for the city.

For true resilience, they say Boston and other cities will need to work at various levels – regionally, along coasts, in open space and in individual buildings.

Here are their four specific suggestions as they wrote them in the GreenBiz.com blog piece. Though they used Boston as an example, the methodology can be applied to other cities.

  1. 1) “First, Boston-area communities need to collaborate on a regional plan. Vulnerabilities — and potential solutions — cross municipal boundaries. A regional planning process should get all of the stakeholders at the table and facilitate new partnerships.”
  2. 2) “Second, Boston needs to make room for water in the city. Public space accounts for one-third of land in Boston. Rather than trying to keep water out, the city can leverage this existing space by designing areas that periodically accommodate flooding, storm water and high tides, such as canal streets, absorbent streets, floodable parks and underground cisterns.”
  3. 3) “Third, Boston needs to establish new building regulations. Future commercial and residential buildings should be built to a new standard of flood protection and accommodation. Existing buildings need to be retrofitted to keep water out.”
  4. 4) “Finally, Boston needs to adapt their coast, which today comprises public space islands, beaches, backyards and industrial facilities. The city has traditionally invested in armoring its coastal edge, using bulkheads, seawalls and revetments, but these inflexible structures make it difficult to gradually adapt to rising sea levels. Alternative edge conditions like terraced public spaces, floating neighborhoods, floodable open space and absorbent parks, are more responsive to changing water levels and provide engaging community amenities.”

 

For more information, visit the original piece here: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/06/11/collaboration-climate-change-resilience