Boston Underwater: How Does Boston Plan to Prepare for Rising Sea Levels?

Presenter: Alexandra Medina

Research Category: Social Sciences, Business, and Law

With the rise of climate change, population growth, and over-exploitation of natural resources, societies are at risk of suffering natural disasters at a higher frequency than ever before. Boston sea levels are rising at an accelerated speed—about one inch every eight years. Solutions to this problem can be complicated because, although Massachusetts has coastal wetlands and beaches that protect communities and wildlife from flooding, these natural barriers are themselves at risk from sea-level rise. If Boston continues to neglect the evident need to address this issue and continues to partake in its individualistic behavior that hurts others and damages its social fabric, then it will suffer the resultant economic and political consequences. With the use of mixed research methods, I was able to begin to unveil the efforts the City of Boston is actually making to save the city from the inevitable assault of climate change. I used qualitative research by conducting semi-structured interviews with three different individuals who I believe play a crucial role in guiding the city towards an environmentally friendly and sustainable future. Although my research will not solve the climate crises Boston faces, it brings awareness to average day citizens that may not know the impact this will have in the near future. My goal is to create a platform for developers and city officials to be on the same page in terms of environmental regulations to ensure that property values do not decrease.