Florida Atlantic University Resilience in New York City

Question Description

Consider the following quote from Resilient Cities: Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change: “Resilience can be applied to cities. They too need to last, to respond to crisis and adapt in a way that may cause them to change and grow differently; cities require an inner strength, a resolve, as well as a strong physical infrastructure and built environment. (Newman, Beatley, & Boyer, 2009).

For this assignment, choose a U.S. city that you are familiar with or one you would like to learn more about. After choosing a city, write at least 1,000 words, double-spaced, font size 12, answering the questions below. Before tackling the questions, you may find it helpful to review the 100 Resilient Cities website, and specifically the City Resilience Index, which you can read about in this report and on this website.

  • Provide a brief introduction about the city and why you chose it.
  • What, if anything, makes this city vulnerable to climate change?
  • What might happen to this city in the future if it continues ‘business as usual’ and no steps are taken to increase its resiliency?
  • How can the city’s built environment be changed to increase its resiliency?
  • How can the city’s transportation system be modified to increase resiliency?
  • What might be an effective way to implement a resiliency plan for this city, or improve upon an existing plan?

Feel free to use GIS, photos, maps, or other creative visual images or techniques to illustrate your point.

Do not forget to provide references for where you get all your information and a bibliography with all consistently formatted references (see writing guide)

An example is provided in the attachments

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MacKay 1 Andrew MacKay Professor Meerow SUS 111 13 March 2019 Word Count: 1398 Resilient Cities: Boston Provide a brief introduction about the city and why you chose it. Boston is one of the oldest cities in the country, having been founded in 1630 along the eastern edge of Massachusetts (Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2019). The city has a long history of beautification, from contracting Fredrick Law Olmstead to create a network of urban parks in the early 20th century, to the cleanup of Boston Harbor in the 80s and 90s, which lead to it becoming one of the cleanest harbors in the world (Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2019). As of 2013, the city has an estimated population of 646,000 (100resilientcities.org, 2019). I chose Boston because I was born there and it was a huge part of my childhood. I remember taking the subway into the city and traveling around seeing all of the old historic buildings and sites. However, I moved away from there about 25 years ago, when the city was a much different place. Since it has been such a long time since I have been to the city, I am curious to see how such an old city has changed and how it has progressed to become a cleaner and more resilient place. Boston was always such a lovely city with a mix of old and new and beautiful green spaces and I’m sure that they have built upon and reinforced that mix to create an even greater sense of place. MacKay 2 What, if anything, makes this city vulnerable to climate change? According to the 100 resilient cities website, a prominent stress on the city is its aging and failing infrastructure (100resilientcities.org, 2019). Boston also realizes a need for greater emergency response integration across city systems and a need to develop a plan to respond to flooding and the impacts of sea level rise (100resilientcities.org, 2019). The city also has issues with inadequate public transportation systems (100resilientcities.org, 2019) leading to more automobile use, more greenhouse gas emissions, and thus adding to the inevitable effects of climate change. The combination of all these elements make Boston well under-prepared for the uncertainties of climate change. What might happen to this city in the future if it continues ‘business as usual’ and no steps are taken to increase its resiliency? Failing infrastructure and flooding is a recipe for disaster. If no steps were taken to fix these issues, the city can face a number of threats. Flooding from sea level rise can lead to sewage systems overflowing and entering the drinking water supply. The water can also damage fragile power grids causing blackouts, which is a detriment to both the economy of the city as well as the quality of life for its citizens. Failing power combined with inadequate public transportation systems means that people reliant on the subway system may be cutoff from their place of work or businesses if there is no adequate power to run the trains. More importantly, the city currently faces major economic and social inequalities (100resilientcities.org, 2019) that if also left unchecked would only add to the collapse of the city through the breakdown of social organization. Indeed, it would be future of riots, social unrest, poor quality of life, complete MacKay 3 infrastructure collapse, and the city most certainly would not survive, resulting in hundreds of thousands having to leave their homes for a more stable situation. How can the city’s built environment be changed to increase its resiliency? Boston’s major built environment issues come from its age. Not only are the city’s buildings and infrastructure failing, but there is also very little space for expansion. In order for the city to increase its resiliency, it’s going to need to start rebuilding and reinforcing this infrastructure in order to adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change. Boston is going to have to invest in replacing old pipes and sewage systems, electrical systems that have deteriorated, and reworking their electrical distribution system to address the possibility of system failure due to climate-related disaster. While this may be an extremely expensive undertaking, the city has the chance to incorporate more renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, as it rebuilds its electrical infrastructure, which can lead to economic and environmental capital through energy savings and reducing the need for non-renewable energy sources. How can the city’s transportation system be modified to increase resiliency? The transportation system in Boston seems to be an extremely critical issue in regards to the future resiliency of the city. Boston has done a lot to beautify its city through changes to its transportation infrastructure, with projects like the Big Dig, which created a massive, efficient, underground highway system out of site from the public and tourists, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway atop I-93, an urban green space and recreational area (Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2019). However, Boston still struggles with a lack of proper public transportation systems and seems to not have a plan to address and mitigate the damaging effects MacKay 4 this system is having on climate change. This is going to be a tricky problem to address however, given the narrow roadways and poor sidewalks I remember from walking the city as a kid. But I believe that the city can develop a plan to begin changing its roadways that will not only mitigate greenhouse gas emissions but also create a beautiful and healthier place to live. First, the city needs to incorporate a strong bike lane presence in the city. This can be done by removing certain parking spaces along the sides of the streets and putting in a wide bike lane. Now, this may seem like it would make people angry given the loss of precious parking spaces, but I feel like encouraging the use of bicycles will lead to less automobile use, thus reducing the need for parking spaces. Next, the city could incorporate an elevated rail or light rail system that could cut through the center of wider roads as well as the center of the massive highway system. This would allow more people to travel shorter distances within the city more easily, again reducing vehicle use. Lastly, the city needs to not only repair its aged sidewalks but also find ways to increase walkability through the city. Boston is a gorgeous city and it should be encouraged to take the time to walk around. I think the city could benefit by closing off certain portions of streets which are underused and transforming them into beautiful, green, walkable spaces. Again, closing roads may seem like it would anger people, but when you increase walkability and the idea that the city is a site to be seen, people within the city will chose to walk more often. I wrote a lot about this issue because I believe Boston can greatly increase its resiliency through major transportation changes alone and it’s something that needs immediate action. MacKay 5 What might be an effective way to implement a resiliency plan for this city, or improve upon an existing plan? I reviewed Boston’s resiliency plan and discovered that they are a city which is determined to address the adversity and discrimination minority groups have faced in the city, create a more inclusive, collaborative government, address the wealth gap issue, and create more connectivity with minority communities (Boston, 2019), all of which add to the social and economic capital of a resilient city. I feel like this plan could be greatly improved upon however, as it seems to be missing any real focus on mitigation or adaptation with regards to climate change, especially considering the city’s definite contribution and vulnerability to changes in climate. A strong adaptive governance plan and a greenhouse gas inventory would begin to address the causes and possible disaster scenarios of climate change, which could be a real eyeopener about failures in their infrastructures, thus increasing immediate action, mitigation and adaptation. One final change Boston could make to its resiliency plan is to focus on increasing its environmental capital. The Rose Kennedy Greenway is a great start, but it seems like it may be where the city stopped in terms of green spaces. I hope they continue to plan and create spaces like the greenway, as that would be not only a great way to increase environmental capital, but also create a greater sense of place and a beautiful, more healthy community to live in. MacKay 6 Works Cited 100resilientcities.org. (2019). Retrieved March 13, 2019, from 100 Resilient Cities: https://www.100resilientcities.org/cities/boston/ Boston. (2019). Retrieved March 13, 2019, from 100reslientcities.org: http://www.100resilientcities.org/strategies/boston/ Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. (2019). bostonusa.com. Retrieved March 13, 2019, from Boston: https://www.bostonusa.com/about-boston/history-lover/ …
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