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US city looks to Dutch-style flood defences

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US coastal cities are increasingly looking to replace their existing flood defences with Dutch-style “waterfront parks”.

In place of traditional sea walls, US cities such as Boston are now increasingly opting for a “living with water”-style approach similar to the one adopted in the Netherlands.

Instead of resisting water, the Dutch government introduce a scheme to introduce areas purposely-built to flood. In the Netherlands this largely consists or the creation of new sand areas/ dykes.

However, in US cities such as Boston the creation of “waterfront parks” are being put in place.

Boston was considering a 30-year project to build an $11M (£8.6M) sea wall, cutting north to south through nearly 7km of Boston Harbor. However a new plan has now outlined proposals for 67 new acres of green space along the coastline, which is purposely designed to flood.

Elevation of particularly flood-prone areas will also be put in place alongside the parks.

“Besides taking decades to complete, a barrier would bring its own set of serious ecological issues,” Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said. “Shoreline projects are more feasible and more effective ways to increase our city’s resilience. This is our vision of a resilient Boston.

“It’s a system not of barricades but of beaches — and parks and trails and open spaces.”

Similar projects are also underway in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, in Virginia.

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