What Sea Level Rise Will Mean in Boston

Emily Badger, reporting for the Atlantic Cities:

Now Boston must begin to contend with the reality that it could be even more vulnerable than New York to rising sea levels. Much of Boston was historically built on land filled in and created out of estuaries and wetlands, and the ocean itself. Logan International Airport was built on man-made land. So were many of the high-end residences in the city’s Back Bay neighborhood.

Boston, like many modern coastal cities, has two classes of land in this regard—that which was initially settled and that which was built on fill. We’ve seen it play out in New Orleans and New York City. San Francisco has it’s neighborhoods built on fill, too (liquefaction during earthquakes tends to be more a concern now than flooding, though that may change).

These maps may be new for Boston, but the basic idea has been floated before. Regardless of the city, studying the historic coastlines gives good idea of which parts will be safe from sea level rise and which won’t.

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