The New York Times posted an article online regarding the lack of preventative climate change urban planning in Bay Area cities. Large urban areas across the globe are creating climate-change response plans that respond to rising flood waters and sea levels. These plans have been implemented in New York, Chicago, and London, the article reports. However, the California Bay Area, has seen a lack of effort and a conflict of interest between planning committees about the importance of the effects of climate change in the area.
This article directly reflects the “Risks and Hazards” chapter in Environment and Society. The article explains how the increased risk of flooding in urban areas in the bay is assessed differently than urban planners in New York City, who are threatened by the same risk.
The article interviews Laura Tam, a policy director at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association saying that,
”’Ms. Tam led a research project that culminated last year in the publication of a 40-page report that lists 33 steps the Bay Area should take to prepare for climate change.
Among the recommendations were that sewage treatment plants and other waterfront infrastructure be replaced or retrofitted to protect them from rising seas. It also called for mud levels in estuaries to be carefully managed to ensure that marshes and wetlands can grow and adapt as water levels rise.
“It’s going to take a lot of resources,” Ms. Tam said. “Few cities and counties have the resources to really devote to the engineering and planning studies necessary to carry out some of the protections that we call for.”‘
The possible negative consequences in the bay have yet to arrive, however, destruction of beach land, has already been assessed by economic models in the Huffington Post earlier this year. The post reports that the decrease in beach area has already begun to negatively affect the tourism industry, and is expected to continue. Therefore, the potential risk of increased flooding should be a part of urban planning in that the buffer zones and infrastructures on the water front need to be replaced.