Boston: Faneuil Hall Could End Up Underwater

City begins to prepare for expected flooding
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2012 9:59 AM CDT
Boston: Faneuil Hall Could End Up Underwater
The city skyline is seen at dusk on Boston Harbor in Boston, Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Parts of Boston could end up looking a lot more like Venice, thanks to climate change. The city is prepping for rising water and floods prompted by global warming—certain locations, including the area around historic Faneuil Hall, could actually end up under as much as 10 feet of water. The buildings in these areas were built on top of marshes and mudflats in order to expand the city. "Now, today, more than 50% of downtown Boston is filled tidelands," the expert who helped create Boston's climate action plan tells NPR.

The sea level is expected to rise anywhere from two to six feet by the end of this century thanks to melting polar ice; some experts say hurricanes could boost that depth to 10 feet. The plan takes that into consideration, calling for building and infrastructure adaptations as well as a focus on reducing emissions. One hospital being built downtown is taking the plan to heart: It will sit more than 12 feet above sea level and will keep patients on upper floors and important mechanical equipment on the roof—and each room's window will open with a key in case of a power outage. (More Boston stories.)

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