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Signe Nielsen

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Assessing Resiliency and Risk: We Can’t Save It All

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Conversations around resiliency today seem to imply that planners and designers might be capable of—might even be expected to—save every building and public space at risk. The sad truth is, however, that we cannot, and perhaps we should not. Climate change and its attendant sea level rise will radically redraw urban edges, forcing us to make difficult decisions. Even if we had the vast sums of money required to protect the precarious status quo, that might not be enough to stave off the inevitable.

So, then: What are our priorities? How do we choose what to save? How do we responsibly chart this uncertain future? I believe the answers to these and similar questions should begin with an honest assessment of three essential considerations: