Coastal flood resilience design guidelines, adopted by BPDA Board of Directors, highlight waterfront parks as district-scale strategy

The Coastal Flood Resilience Design Guidelines were adopted by the BDPA Board of Directors at its September Board Meeting. Click the image above to browse the full guidelines document.

The Coastal Flood Resilience Design Guidelines were adopted by the BDPA Board of Directors at its September Board Meeting. Click the image above to browse the full guidelines document.

Coastal flood resilience design guidelines have been approved and adopted by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors.

The guidelines, which incorporated community input from a series of open house meetings, are meant to be a reference for responsible private development that takes future coastal flooding into account, and augment Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s Climate Ready Boston initiative.

“Climate Ready Boston lays out strategies that think holistically about building a more resilient City—from protecting residents and homes to jobs and infrastructure,” said Mayor Walsh in a BPDA press release. “The Coastal Flood Resilience Design Guidelines are an important piece of this plan. They provide a tangible resource to ensure current and future developments coincide with our vision for a more resilient Boston.”

In the guidelines, residents, business owners, and developers can find resilient design principles, a guide to identifying site-specific risks, information on regulations, a toolkit for choosing resilient retrofitting or construction strategies, and several case studies. District-scale strategies highlight projects already being developed or considered through the Climate Ready Boston plans, including the development of new waterfront parks.

“An important advantage of preserving open space along the waterfront, as compared with adapting developed sites, is that space provides flexibility to further adapt and elevate waterfront areas should climate projections worsen in the future,” the guidelines document states. It adds, “Waterfront parks can be designed to enhance neighborhoods and the waterfront by providing open space for passive and active recreation, enhance access and connections throughout, natural landscapes, carbon mitigation, heat island reduction, and stormwater flood mitigation.”

As the Trustees explore potential locations for the One Waterfront Initiative, we evaluate sites based on (1) the potential to serve as a world-class destination, (2) community need and relevance, (3) climate resilience value, and (4) feasibility (Rendering courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.)

As the Trustees explore potential locations for the One Waterfront Initiative, we evaluate sites based on (1) the potential to serve as a world-class destination, (2) community need and relevance, (3) climate resilience value, and (4) feasibility (Rendering courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.)

The One Waterfront Initiative is working to create and manage a series of world-class, accessible, and resilient parks along Boston’s vulnerable coastline, parks that exemplify these many benefits. All of the park sites under consideration by the initiative fall within a proposed Coastal Flood Resilience Overlay District, which the guidelines will be used to administer. Recommendations for the Overlay District, mapped out within the design guidelines document, are currently under internal review, according to BPDA. The proposed area would cover portions of the city with a projected 1% annual chance of flooding in the year 2070 with 40 inches of sea level rise. The creation of a new zoning overlay district was one of the top recommended priorities of a report released by the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Sustainable Solutions Lab last September: Governance for a Changing Climate: Adapting Boston’s Built Environment for Increased Flooding.

“These newly adopted Guidelines are another example of the City of Boston being a leader when it comes to proactively addressing climate resilience along our vulnerable coast,” said Nick Black, Managing Director of the One Waterfront Initiative. “We look forward to continuing to work with the City and our partners on designing, implementing and managing a series of resilient and accessible parks to both serve the needs of the local communities while also helping to protect our shores.”

The Guidelines were developed by the City of Boston’s Environment Department, a consultant team led by Utile, Inc. and a local stakeholder Advisory Committee. Feedback from the community was gathered during Open House meetings hosted by BPDA and City staff in neighborhoods including East Boston, Charlestown, South Boston, Downtown, Chinatown and Dorchester.

To learn more, visit: http://www.bostonplans.org