Boston’s new flood protection plan centers on new parks

Initiative would add 67 acres of public open space.

October 31, 2018 |

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh recently unveiled a flood protection plan that keys on new parks and upgrades of existing ones.

City leaders were alarmed when storms last winter put parts of the downtown area and the Seaport district underwater for a more than a day. Recent sea level rise forecasts have added urgency to the issue.

The plan would add 67 acres of public open space in areas that could act as flood buffers, and some existing parks would be renovated to boost their elevation. Some low-lying streets would also be raised, and sea walls would be added along privately owned sections of the Harborwalk, a coastal pedestrian path. 

Business leaders expressed support for the plan, but some experts questioned how the money would be raised for the ambitious proposal. Boston already urges developers to plan for sea level rise in new waterfront buildings, but does not mandate that they do so. In the future, those provisions might become requirements, and landowners might have to help pay for the extensive work proposed by the mayor.

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