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What can a coastal city like Boston do to prepare for the effects of climate change and rising sea levels? Consider, for example, Back Bay, which was once a marsh and now sits just four feet above high tide. Climate experts say, over the next 75 years, sea levels could rise as much as seven and a half feet, which would swamp the neighborhood.
One proposal is to welcome the rising waters with a series of canals — which might give Boston some of the watery charm of Venice or Amsterdam. The idea is just one of many from some of Boston's top urban planners, engineers and architects in a report released Tuesday by the local chapter of the Urban Land Institute.
Some of them are flashy — like transforming Boston into Venice on the Atlantic. Others are more basic, like building break-waters in Boston Harbor, or raising the Harborwalk along the waterfront to protect the city's buildings. Whatever the solution, they remind us of the inescapable challenge of rising sea levels for cities like Boston.
- "By the end of this century, the romance of Venice might be a lot closer to Boston than you’d expect — like just off Storrow Drive."
- "While many cities around the country grapple with drought and excessive heat this year, city planners in Boston have something else on their minds: the prospect of rising water."
This segment aired on September 30, 2014.