Monthly Archives: February 2017

US-Dutch Flood Resilience Partnerships


When Hurricane Katrina hit cities across the country, the US government looked for ways to tap the expertise and experience of other cities that had dealt with similar disasters. The US identified the Dutch as having valuable advanced skills and knowledge. Partnerships with individual cities were encouraged. Matthew Willner, MCP’16 explored the gains and losses to both sides associated with these partnerships. Through interviews, with both Dutch and American officials, Matthew sought to verify his concern that the underlying goals of policy transfer partnerships are not always obvious.

Do you think that international efforts to share or transfer policy ideas are always a good idea?

You can download Matt’s thesis to read about his findings here.

Forest City: A Chinese Urban Megaproject in Malaysia


With the rapid growth of population and increasing international mobility, cities around the world are seeking to attract investors who want to build mixed-use megaprojects. Such investors are presumed to have, for the most part, a positive impact on local economies. However, when the expectations of foreign developers don’t match the political and regulatory expectations of the host country, difficulties can ensue. Marcel Williams, MCP’16, looks at the challenges of mega-project development through the lens of the Forest City case.  Because of the scale and location of this project, local, state, national and international challenges emerged.  There are many lessons to be learned from the experience of Chinese developer Country Garden Ltd. in building a project for 700,000+ people over the next two decades on an environmentally sensitive site.

Will Forest City become an example for future mega-project developments in Asia? Is the potential for economic success of Forest City in jeopardy because of the way regulations are being implemented in Malaysia?

Find out the answers to these questions and more by downloading Marcel’s thesis here.

Boston and Cambridge, MA: A comparative study of the use of green infrastructure


Source: US EPA Massachusetts Water Resource Authority

In Sasha Shyduroff’s (MCP ’16) thesis, green infrastructure (GI) is defined as engineered systems incorporating green space and natural systems to provide benefits to the public. Such infrastructure can help to address sea level rise, storm surges, inland flooding and many other climate change-related effects. Green infrastructure has been proven to be cheaper and faster to implement than standard infrastructure.  Due to these benefits, GI should be quite popular; however, the actual experience of cities where GI is being advocated raises some concerns. Sasha uses the cases of Boston and Cambridge to identify the socio-political barriers to and drivers of GI, specifically as a means of addressing urban flooding. To learn more, read Sasha’s thesis here.

Adaptation indicators for U.S. coastal cities

sandyIndicators can be used to track progress across different sectors of development, whether they are standardized throughout an industry or unique to a particular organization. It would seem to make sense for every city to use indicators to gauge the success of their climate adaptation plans. Amy Plovnick (MCP ’16) suggests that this is much more difficult than we might imagine. Based on her analysis of adaptation plans along with interviews with staff in several coastal cities, she has found that many cities don’t yet have such indicators in place, even though they are already implementing their adaptation plans. Amy identifies the reasons that lead cities to be in such position. Key barriers include insufficient resources, technical challenges and inadequate organizational structure. There are ways, though, that cities can overcome these problems.

Download Amy’s thesis to see her recommendations.