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Boston contest to combat rising sea levels

Boston Herald

November 01. 2014 8:03PM

Boston is launching an international design competition to come up with solutions to combat rising sea levels after narrowly averting catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Sandy two years ago and two more recent powerful storms.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh yesterday announced "Living with Water" - a program that will solicit ideas to address three threats posed by encroaching sea levels to the city:

. How to safeguard the 97-year-old Prince Building in the North End.

. The best way to redevelop Fort Point, an area undergoing significant construction.

. Devising a plan to address the recurring flooding on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester.

"There's no issue more urgent in a lot of ways than climate action," Walsh said. "We need to do everything possible."

A jury of architects, civic planners and city officials will award $20,000 to the best submission, which is due by the end of January.

"We need to take this challenge and these lessons and really turn it into something real," said Keiros Shen, director of planning for the Boston Redevelopment Authority and a jury member.

Walsh also announced a climate change summit next spring when state and regional leaders will come up with potential solutions to climate change.

Any of the Boston area's three near-misses with major storms in recent years would have caused "100-year floods" if they had hit hours earlier or later, according to Brian Swett, the Hub's chief of environment, energy and open space.

Cambridge City Manager Richard Rossi said, "If we don't act regionally, we're not going to solve these problems."

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