Informed by Climate Ready Boston, these Guidelines promote best practices for flood resistant design measures

BOSTON STRONG news BOSTON, MA: BPDA reports 9.13.2019 The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors voted to adopt the Coastal Flood Resilience Design Guidelines at its September Board Meeting yesterday. The Guidelines build on Climate Ready Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s ongoing initiative to help Boston plan for the impacts of climate change and build a more resilient future. 

“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. “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.”

The Coastal Flood Resilience Design Guidelines serve as a reference for residents, business owners and developers to translate flood resiliency strategies into best practices. The Guidelines include:

  • Resilience toolkit to address building form, building envelope and site access
  • Description and supporting information on technical and cost considerations, insurance factors and sustainable design co-benefits
  • Guidance on urban design, accessibility and public realm matters related to changes in elevation between a site and surrounding infrastructure
  • Measures to manage additional climate hazards 
  • Case studies that apply resilience strategies from the toolkit to representative building types in the future flood zone 

The Guidelines will also be used to administer a future Coastal Flood Resilience Zoning Overlay District.  Recommendations for the Zoning Overlay District have been developed and are currently under internal review. 

The Coastal Flood Resilience Design Guidelines were developed in collaboration with the City of Boston’s Environment Department, a consultant team led by Utile, Inc. and an Advisory Committee comprised of local stakeholders. Additionally,  BPDA and City staff held open house meetings in neighborhoods that fall within the future flood hazard zone, including East Boston, Charlestown, South Boston, Downtown, Chinatown and Dorchester. These meetings provided community members an opportunity to offer feedback on the proposed guidelines. 

“The adoption of these Guidelines is an important step in preparing architects and other building industry professionals to play a key role in helping building owners address the design and technical challenges of adapting existing buildings to the risks of coastal flooding, storm water, and extreme heat,” said Jean Carroon, FAIA, 2019 President of the Boston Society of Architects/AIA. 

In 2016 Mayor Walsh announced Climate Ready Boston, an ongoing initiative to prepare  Boston for the impacts of climate change in coordination with Imagine Boston 2030. These Guidelines execute one of the primary objectives of Climate Ready Boston, limiting damage and displacement related to current and future coastal sea level rise. 
About the Boston Planning & Development Agency

As the City of Boston’s urban planning and economic development agency, the BPDA works in partnership with the community to plan Boston’s future while respecting its past. The agency’s passionate and knowledgeable staff guides physical, social, and economic change in Boston’s neighborhoods and its downtown to shape a more prosperous, resilient, and vibrant city for all. The BPDA also prepares residents for new opportunities through employment training, human services and job creation. Learn more at www.bostonplans.org, and follow us on Twitter @BostonPlans.