Regional Climate Change and Variability

Regional Climate Change and Variability

Impacts and Responses

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Edited by Matthias Ruth, Kieran Donaghy and Paul Kirshen

In its development of methodologies and their applications to individual regions, this book presents a rich set of insights and a set of guides for investment and policymaking. Each of the six studies focuses on a finer geographic scale than is customary in integrated assessment research. They introduce innovations for impact analysis and contribute to the knowledge of localized experiences of climate change – how it affects a variety of sectors, how different stakeholders perceive its implications and adapt to it, and how decision support systems can promote dialogues between researchers, stakeholders and policymakers.

Chapter 7: Climate’s Long-term Impacts on Urban Infrastructures and Services: The Case of Metro Boston

P. Kirshen, M. Ruth and W. Anderson

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, environment, climate change, politics and public policy, public policy, urban and regional studies, regional economics


P. Kirshen, M. Ruth and W. Anderson INTRODUCTION Infrastructure provides human, environmental and economic services and directly contributes to the quality of life. Services typically include flood control, water supply, drainage, wastewater management, solid and hazardous waste management, energy, transportation, constructed facilities for residential, commercial, and industrial activities, communication and recreation. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE 1998) estimates that in 1992 the total value of US infrastructure investments was approximately 40 percent of GDP and in 1982 was as high as 55 percent of GDP. However, as significant as these values are, they barely begin to reflect the true value of infrastructure. Without infrastructure the US economy could not function. Many human and environmental systems would collapse. Quality of life would be poor. Since most human and economic activities in the US are and will be associated with areas of high population densities, metropolitan infrastructure systems and the services they provide are particularly important in order to achieve and maintain a high quality of life. Yet even though urban infrastructure systems are important and are designed according to socioeconomic and environmental conditions that are very sensitive to climate, there have been no major integrated assessments of the impacts of climate change on metropolitan infrastructure systems and services in the US. The Climate’s Long-term Impacts on Metro Boston (CLIMB) project conducted from 1999 to 2004 explores potential changes in infrastructure systems and services in Metro Boston in response to changes in climate, socioeconomic and technological developments. Potential changes play...

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