Cities scale is where real climate change adaptation is taking place, now, whether or not we have national or international agreements on greenhouse gases. Cities and regions have to deal with weather emergencies and, it turns out, preparing for weather emergencies and other natural disasters is very much like adapting to climate change. The best of it can be climate mitigation, too.
One way cities are climbing the learning curve is by holding design competitions. In Boston, the city, the Harbor Association, the Redevelopment Authority, and the Society of Architects are hosting Boston Living with Water, an international call for design solutions that create a “more resilient, more sustainable, and more beautiful Boston adapted for end-of-the-century climate conditions and rising sea levels.” They will be announcing the finalist on Thursday, February 26 but you can vote on which of the 49 different plans you like until 12 pm (EST) on Wednesday, February 25 at http://www.bostonlivingwithwater.org/submission-gallery
The contest is based upon the recent reports by the Harbor Association on sea level rise and the Building Resilience in Boston study by the Green Ribbon Commission. Supporting documentation also includes “Designing with Water: Creative Solutions from Around the Globe” which presents twelve case studies from around the world [pdf alert]:
World-wide networks and best practices case studies can be very helpful.
Design proposals were for three different sites and at three different scales: building, neighborhood, and infrastructure.
The building is the Prince Building, a typical historic urban waterfront fabric of Boston, multi-owner residential buildings in the North End.
The neighborhood is the Fort Point Channel District The 100 Acres section, representative of the large urban mixed-use redevelopment opportunities across Boston, including “development sites, green and blue open spaces, multi-level infrastructure, and existing historic buildings.”
The infrastructure is Morrissey Boulevard, near the outer harbor and mouth of the Neponset River, the access to Columbia Point peninsula, where UMass Boston is, and “a range of residential, commercial, institutional, and open space areas,” exemplifying “the critical transportation infrastructure connecting Boston’s neighborhoods.”
The “Principal Challenges” for the designs were
End-of-century Sea Level Rise: Adapting to a five foot increase in sea level in Boston Harbor, elevation 18.5 feet BCB.
End-of-century Climate Conditions: Adapting to increased temperatures, heat waves, precipitation and storm severity.
Incremental Adaptation: Adapting to a continuously changing environment and incremental sea level rise.
The most popular proposals as I write are
Reconnect – Resist – Slow – Collect
A Life Aquatic: A Celebration of Living with Water
Open Circuit: Traveling Water
Each of them has over a thousand votes
East of the Sun, West of the Moon and Why Not Flooding? have the least votes, less than 30 each.
Preparing Buildings for Rising Seas and Severe Weather Events
Thursday February 26,
8:30 AM to 10:30 AM EST
Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress Street, Fort Point Room, Boston
RSVP at https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eadc14h371675a81&oseq=&c=&ch=
Climate projections for Boston indicate that the City will experience rising temperatures, increased storm intensity and higher sea-levels. Boston’s built infrastructure is at risk from these climate stressors, but there are technologies currently available to help asset owners increase the adaptability of both existing and new buildings.
Join A Better City at the release of their new report: Enhancing Resilience in Boston: A Guide for Large Buildings and Institutions; and its compendium online resiliency toolkit. The report and its associated online toolkit provide building owners with information on 33 available resilience actions and technologies. It also provides a preliminary assessment of potential regulatory touch points within the City and state for resilience actions and considers initial ideas for district-level resilience strategies for the Boston area.
Come and learn about: strategies for reducing risks to facilities located inside or outside the floodplain and current technologies used for flooding / sea level rise, storm water management, and urban heat island; and understand the costs and policy implications associated with the resiliency technologies.
8:00-8:30 Breakfast & Networking
8:30-9:00 Key Notes & Special Address
Rob de Vos, Consul General, Dutch Consolate
Rick Dimino, President & CEO, ABC
9:00 – 10:00 Report Presentation & Panel Discussion
Panel themes and questions to be addressed:
How to make the decision to install resilience technology at your building.
How does resiliency work into building economics?
What is the role of tenants?
How do we look to improve/streamline our local regulatory policies to facilitate resiliency investments within the private sector?
What are the lessons Boston learned from Superstorm Sandy?
10:00 – 10:30 Viewing of Boston Properties’ Aqua Fence
Contact Name: firstname.lastname@example.org
More at: http://environment.harvard.edu/events/2015-02-26-133000-2015-02-26-153000/preparing-buildings-rising-seas-and-severe-weather-events#sthash.kkg4NlSr.dpuf
These kinds of city scale design contests and projects are happening all around the world. The Climate CoLab at MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence has been running such climate design and proposal contests for years now. Currently, there are 22 contests listed there and Cambridge, MA just finished a Climate CoLab Contest on the Urban Heat Island Effect