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Tackling Sea Level Rise through Digital Technology: Lessons Learned from the Resilient Nantucket Model

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Meaghan Barry
401–846–4152, x 112 /

Newport, RI – The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) and the City of Newport are pleased to co-host Tackling Sea Level Rise through Digital Technology at Innovate Newport (513 Broadway) on Wednesday, September 18 at 6:00pm. The lecture will be given by Morris (Marty) Hylton III. Hylton will share his one-of-a-kind 3D visualization of sea level rise in Nantucket, Massachusetts created as part of a public-private partnership known as Resilient Nantucket. He will discuss how this work has contributed to a larger town-wide initiative to address the impacts of climate change on the community’s historic resources. The presentation promises to be thought provoking and shed light on how small coastal communities can begin planning for climate change.

Hylton is the Director of the Historic Preservation Program and the Center for World Heritage Research and Stewardship at the University of Florida. As part of this role, he also oversees Preservation Institute Nantucket and Preservation Institute St. Augustine. Marty’s research addresses multifaceted strategies for documenting, advocating, and preserving endangered heritage sites. As part of his research and teaching, he created the Envision Heritage initiative to explore how new and emerging digital technologies like laser scanning can be used to document historic places with an increasing emphasis on coastal communities and resources impacted by sea level rise.

Tackling Sea Level Rise through Digital Technology is part of NRF’s Keeping History Above Water™ (KHAW) initiative. NRF organized and hosted the first KHAW conference in Newport, Rhode Island in April 2016. Over the last three years, similar conferences have been held nationwide with NRF’s sponsorship and support. Hylton’s lecture is an effort to bring the ideas and energy of these KHAW conferences back to Newport to encourage and support local action related to sea level rise and historic resources. “Coastal communities can only benefit from sharing information about their respective efforts to prepare for sea level rise and climate change,” said Mark Thompson, NRF’s Executive Director. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with the City to bring Marty Hylton to Newport to talk about his work in Nantucket.”

The timing of Tackling Sea Level Rise through Digital Technology is opportune given the recent Sea Level Rise Task Force created by the City of Newport’s Historic District Commission. The task force consists of the Preservation Planner, Helen Johnson, and three Commission members, Andy Bjork, Chair of the Historic District Commission, Diana Sylvaria, Vice Chair of the Historic District Commission, and Jeff Moniz, one of the most recent appointees to the Historic District Commission.  The group is currently gathering case studies from other historically significant communities throughout the country, and specifically along the Eastern seaboard, who are facing flooding threats caused by an increase in severe coastal storms and storm surge.  Using these case studies along with information gathered during meetings with federal, state, and local government officials as well as community stakeholders the task force is creating policies and design guidelines for elevating historic buildings and a policy statement for the installation of hurricane protective panels.  These policies and guidelines will be presented for public comment in late fall 2019 with the hope that the Historic District Commission will adopt these policies and design guidelines before the end of 2019.

Tackling Sea Level Rise through Digital Technology is being offered free of charge thanks to the generosity of Innovate Newport. Space is limited, so please register by Tuesday, September 17 at noon: Parking is available at Innovate Newport and on Vernon Avenue and Broadway.


About City of Newport

First settled in 1639, the City of Newport is located along the southern tip of Aquidneck Island at the mouth of Narragansett Bay. Affectionately known as the “City by the Sea,” we serve a community of roughly 24,000 year round residents and welcome an estimated 3 million visitors every year who are drawn to our collection of historic neighborhoods, rugged coastline, and deep water port. As a City, our goal is to strive to be the most diverse, livable and welcoming community in New England; an innovative place to live, work, learn, play and raise a family.

The City of Newport is on Facebook @CityofNewportRI and Instagram @CityofNewportRI.


About Innovate Newport

Innovate Newport is a coworking center located on one of Newport, Rhode Island’s main thoroughfares and bus routes. Since opening in May, Innovate Newport has fast become a hub for local and regional entrepreneurship, as well as a convener of successful educational and networking events. Part of the Workbar network, Innovate Newport members gain access to other co-work facilities in the Greater Boston area. Learn more at

Innovate Newport is on Twitter @innovatenewport, Facebook /innovatenewport and Instagram @innovatenewport.

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