Climate Change, Urbanization In the wake of Ida’s destruction, Philly needs lifesaving water resilience

September 12, 2021
By Jonah Garnick | The Philadelphia Inquirer

After leaving a path of destruction in Louisiana, Hurricane Ida rocked the Northeast United States. The Philadelphia region experienced record-breaking flooding, leaving roads underwater, power outages, SEPTA service suspended, basements flooded, more than $100 million in damage for Pennsylvania alone, and at least 43 dead across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

This wasn’t the first time this summer that extreme weather made headlines. In mid-August Hurricane Henri set rainfall records in New York, left thousands without power from New Jersey to Maine, and caused $12 billion in damage in a region that faces rising hurricane threats.

While water has been a major destructive force this summer, it has driven urban growth, commerce, and globalization for much longer. It is no coincidence that many of the world’s greatest cities, from New York to Tokyo, are adjacent to bodies of water. However, climate change has made this asset a growing liability. Philadelphia and many other of the world’s coastal cities must adapt, or fall to waters that made them great.

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