OK, a wish instead
of a prediction:
Charlestown, that odd corner of Medford, and Cambridge be merged
into Peninsular City (everything east of route 16, more or less,
and in between the Mystic and the Charles). This would create a
mixed, interesting and, most importantly, financially sustainable
city. Alternate names: Chamedville, Chamystic, Mystarles? nah
And while I'm
in wish mode - that this new entity be governed by folks who had
their eye always on the future of the city rather than on the next
job and/or the good will of their campaign contributors!
Based on a 'key informant" interview I did with an MIT project
looking at coastal preparedness for sea level rise and a discussion
I had with the interviewer, I'd say somewhere in the 2050-60 range
an incremental but significant rise in sea level combined with a
Kartrina sized event coming straight into the mouth of the Mystic
will precipitate some rapid rethinking of political and geographical
Much of what
was filled in will be, if not permanently underwater, at least substantially
impacted by this megastorm and the accompanying storm surge. MIT
will be deploying duck tour like vehicles to transport students,
Assembly Square will be awash and a lot of present and planned river
side development will collapse or be sodamaged as to unusable.
Worse, and the
thing that will precipitate the political reconfiguration, the immediate
damage as water is forced back up and into existing (and ancient)
sewer and storm drainage lines will create infrastructure collapses
(a geyser in Davis Sq.?) that will far exceed any one community's
ability to rebuild. At the same time, the loss of housing, retail,
and commercial properties along the river, not to mention land area
itself, will require remapping and the MAPC will be empowered to
make recommendations (perhaps with some statutory authority) for
re-thinking how municipalities are considered.
In an even worse
case scenario, the Charles basin will be similarly impacted. The
Museum of Science will be undermined and the present central tower
will collapse and Back Bay will become, well, Back Bay once again.
will go from "If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now"
to "Dock Space Available."
As a sidebar,
the sudden rush of cold sea water flooding into the Harvard steam
tunnels will cause boilers to crack and the rush of steam uphill
will, through some freak of physics, launch the statue of John Harvard
for Bostonians (and Somervilliens): check a topographic map before
buying a home, lock in your flood insurance now, and don't use the
T after about 2030!