Resilient History: Protecting Chesapeake Bay Coastal Historic Districts from Rising Seas Through Adaptive Planning
Brandes, Uwe S.
Sea level rise is one of the greatest threats to the United States’ oldest historic communities, many of which are located along the coastline of the Chesapeake Bay. Lessening the vulnerability of these communities to rising sea levels through adaptation will not be easy, but is necessary to allow the country’s built heritage to thrive into the future. This capstone analyzes the delicate act of adapting coastal National Register historic districts in the Chesapeake Bay region to sea level rise in a way that protects communities’ historic integrity while simultaneously increasing their resilience. Case study analyses of the adaptation planning processes executed in three Chesapeake Bay cities expose opportunities within and constraints between the conventional historic preservation and climate adaptation planning disciplines. Several conditions are identified that, if cultivated, will facilitate the utilization of a comprehensive adaptation planning framework that defends historic districts from rising seas, therefore reducing their vulnerability, while also protecting the integrity of the built and cultural environment. It is recommended that the historic preservation planning practice evolve to embrace such a framework that considers sea level rise and incorporates appropriate climate adaptation mechanisms in order for Chesapeake Bay area historic districts to subsist in the face of climate change.
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Oceans and Environment Program (P. A. Johnson) (United States. Congress. Office of Technology Assessment., 1989-07)