How are developers preparing for sea level rise?

The Bay is expected to rise up to 10 feet in the next 80 years; how are local developers protecting their waterfront projects? According to the SF Business Times, “With the right planning, project designs and innovative construction, new developments can not only survive the effects of climate change, but in some cases, can help protect the region from flooding and erosion.”

Depending on what changes the world makes (or doesn’t make) to slow climate change, California estimates that waters will rise 1.1 to 2.7 feet by 2050 and between 2.4 and 10.2 feet by 2100. Most developers and project planners aim to be ready for 2 feet of sea-level rise by 2050 and 6 feet by 2100.

One solution is to truck in dirt to raise the level of the ground before building; Brooklyn Basin, a master-planned community on Oakland’s waterfront, elevated the land 3 feet with this method, and it is also being used on Treasure Island. The Treasure Island development is also using the strategy of siting buildings farther away from the shoreline to allow room for future retaining walls or levies. Terracing is also an option; India Basin and Pier 70 in San Francisco are building homes on sites that already sit well above the water, even if it means they’re a little farther from the waterfront. A more back-to-nature approach is restoring the Bay’s wetlands and marshes, which absorb water and slow flooding.

New developments have many strategies to survive sea level rise, but it remains to be seen how older buildings and infrastructure can be protected. There are currently 48,895 homes in the Bay Area worth a total of $31.8 billion that are at risk of flooding due to sea-level rise, on 48 to 166 square miles of threatened shoreline.

Source: SF Business Times