Last month, in a much-ballyhooed speech, Mayor Menino proposed a major redevelopment plan for East Boston that would rejuvenate the neighborhood's waterfront as some sort of Innovation District 2.0. But environmental activists and researchers (and researchers who are environmental activists) warn that the surrounding water, which Hizzoner wants to fill with ferries, might literally wash everything away. Or at least make it unpalatable to techies (though the city seems to think they can adapt to all sorts of living conditions, including micro-apartments).
To the right is an alarming map of which parts of our fair Hub might succumb to rising sea levels should climate change (or, if you prefer, coincidence) continues unabated and we do nothing to prepare for it. Per Jeremy C. Fox at Boston.com:
In a December phone interview, community activist Neenah Estrella-Luna cautioned that any new waterfront development has to be done with foresight. "One of my biggest concerns is how are they taking into account climate change in all of these waterfront development projects,” she said.
She fears that proposed developments along the waterfront could ultimately become damaged by rising waters, making them undesirable as residences. Rather than market-rate units, they could be transformed into low-income housing, similar to what happened decades earlier at the Shore Plaza East apartments on Border Street, she said."
Yes, some Hub homes may end up literally under water.
Other neighborhoods besides East Boston would be in deep... water should the sea level continue to rise over the next 50 to 75 years at current paces. (Most of the endangered Eastie space is that culled from landfill to create the neighborhood.)
With 2.5 feet of sea-level rise, only a few spots on the waterfront would be affected under normal conditions, but a map showing the city with a 5-foot increase depicts large areas of flooding across the South Boston Seaport, the downtown Financial District, and through large swaths of East Boston—all around Maverick Square and the northern edge of Logan Airport, across Constitution Beach and low-lying sections of Orient Heights. With 2.5 feet of sea-level rise and a 5-foot surge, only Jeffries Point, Eagle Hill, and the elevated portion of Orient Heights remain dry.
The future casino at Suffolk Downs seems to be in the clear, though.
· Activists Warn of Potential Sea-Level Rise Impacts in East Boston [Boston.com]
· Is East Boston the New Innovation District? [Curbed Boston]
· South Boston Techies Will Rescue East Boston Real Estate [Curbed Boston]
· South Boston to Get Hundreds of Manhattan Apartments [Curbed Boston]
· Downtown Crossing's Filene's Site, East Boston Casino: Tied? [Curbed Boston]