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This paper discusses adaptable planning and design strategies for coastal urban greenways to deal with rising seas due to global warming and climate change. It advocates taking steps to protect the coastal landscapes, increase adaptation, and mitigate disastrous outcomes associated with sea level rise from a global perspective. Greenway planners must consider the costs and risks of accommodating the rising seas, retreating from them, or trying to defend the greenways with protective measures.

The City of Boston and the City of Shenzhen in China have been selected as our case studies. Boston, a paradigm of U.S. resilient coastal cities, is well-placed to deal with the challenge, with experts and resources accessible and at hand. With increased understanding of the successes and failures of existing natural and man-made protection, accommodation, and retreat measures; increased acknowledgement of current sea level rise impacts; and a vision for the opportunities that may come from proactive reduction of vulnerabilities, the City of Boston is taking charge of its future. The City of Shenzhen, on the contrary, does not have the knowledge and resources, and is far from getting ready to react to the threats of sea level rise and other climate-induced changes at the scale being forecasted by scientists. An important portion of its newly built greenways was severely damaged by Super Typhoon Mangkhut recently. Coastal resilience solutions are much needed for Shenzhen and other parts of Pearl River Delta greenway networks along the South China Sea.

This paper attempts to raise public awareness and perception on this emergent topic. It concludes with recommendations of adaptable planning strategies for coastal resilience by establishing planning and design guidelines, utilizing greenways as resilient infrastructure, restoring damaged ecosystems as natural coastal defenses, and advocating multi-functional greenways and land use with public involvement.



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