Boston Coastal Flood Resilience Design Guidelines & Zoning Overlay District

As a critical step in the City’s Climate Ready Boston Initiative, Utile led the development of Boston’s first Coastal Resilience Design Guidelines and recommendations for a citywide zoning overlay in collaboration with the Boston Planning and Development Agency. The new design guidelines apply to existing and future developments, ensuring buildings are built or adapted to withstand the flooding risks posed by sea level rise and storm surge. These will be enabled by the future zoning overlay which covers areas with a 1% chance of coastal flooding in 2070.

Utile worked with Kleinfelder and Noble, Wickersham & Hart, LLP and an advisory team of HDR and Offshoots, Inc. using a multi-faceted project approach which integrated a study in national best practices, existing regulations, analysis of Boston’s built form, community input, and expertise in cutting-edge building technology. The Guidelines are designed to work with several initiatives the City of Boston is moving forward with as part of Climate Ready Boston, including neighborhood plans, public right-of-way guidance, and existing zoning. With the need for retrofits in mind, the Guidelines include case studies with short- and long-term adaptation strategies tailored to work for each of the most common building types in the floodplain illustrated clearly and effectively using a clear palette of graphics. Our zoning recommendations enable the implementation of these improvements while balancing private needs with impacts on the public realm.

“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 Boston Mayor Marty Walsh of this project. “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.”

Boston Coastal Flood Zoning Design Guidelines
Boston Coastal Flood Zoning Design Guidelines
Boston Coastal Flood Zoning Design Guidelines
Boston Coastal Flood Zoning Design Guidelines
Boston Coastal Flood Zoning Design Guidelines
Boston Coastal Flood Zoning Design Guidelines
Boston Coastal Flood Zoning Design Guidelines
Boston Coastal Flood Zoning Design Guidelines
Boston Coastal Flood Zoning Design Guidelines
Boston Coastal Flood Zoning Design Guidelines