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Climate Ready Boston Progress

Learn what the City is doing to prepare Boston for climate change.

We are tracking our progress in putting in place the five layers, 11 strategies, and 39 initiatives recommended in the Climate Ready Boston Outline of Actions. We will continue to update this page, which includes a summary graphic and details on progress for each initiative in a table format.

Across the City, we recognize the importance of tracking our progress and being transparent. This tool is the first iteration to improve those efforts in climate resiliency.

Still have questions? Contact:
1 City Hall Square
Room 709
Boston, MA 02201-2031

PDF of the progress tool: CRB progress tool

For reference:Climate Ready Boston report (December 2016)

Progress Summary

CRB Progress Tracker Summary

Progress Details


Strategy 1: Maintain up-to-date projections of future climate conditions to inform adaptation.

Initiative Status Progress
1.1: Launch the Greater Boston Panel on Climate Change. Require periodic updating of Boston-specific climate projections.
The Environment Department (Environment) anticipates reconvening the Boston Research Advisory Group (BRAG) within five years of the release of the first BRAG report (i.e., by 2021).
1.2: Create updated local flood maps to support planning, policy, and regulation.
The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) released the updated Climate Change Resilience and Preparedness Checklist with a Flood Hazard Area Map.

Strategy 2: Expand education and engagement of Bostonians on climate hazards and action.

Initiative Status Progress
2.1: Expand Citywide Climate Readiness Education and Engagement campaign.
in progress
Greenovate Boston started the third cohort of the Leader Program, now renamed to Greenovate Boston Leaders Program.
2.2: Launch a Climate Ready Buildings Education Program for property owners and users.
Not started
2.3: Conduct an outreach campaign to facilities that serve vulnerable populations to support preparedness and adaptation.
in development
The Boston Public Health Commission launched an effort to provide technical assistance for the development of Continuity of Operations plans for facilities and community organizations that provide social services after emergencies.
2.4: Update the City’s heat emergency action plan.
In 2018, the Environment Department, Boston Public Health Commission, and Office of Emergency Management launched a citywide public health action plan for extreme temperature preparedness. It is expected to be completed in 2019.
2.5: Expand Boston’s Small Business Preparedness Program.
Helpful resource: Cambridge preparedness resources for businesses.


Strategy 3: Leverage climate adaptation as a tool for economic development.

Initiative Status Progress
3.1: Identify resilience focused workforce development pathways.
3.2: Pursue inclusive hiring and living wages for resilience projects.

The Boston Jobs and Living Wage Ordinance applies to service contracts with the City valued at or above $25,000 with companies that employ at least 25 full-time employees. 

3.3: Prioritize use of minority-and-women-owned businesses for resilience projects.
Mayor Walsh issued a 2016 Executive Order to ensure that minority and women entrepreneurs are afforded fair and equitable opportunities when competing for City contracts.

Strategy 4: Develop local climate resilience plans to coordinate adaptation efforts.

Initiative Status Progress
4.1: Develop local climate resilience plans in vulnerable areas to support district-scale climate adaptation.

The Environment Department completed the “Coastal Resilience Solutions for South Boston” report, and will begin the Downtown and Dorchester plan in 2019. The Parks Department (Parks) is continuing the Moakley Park Vision Plan, which is expected to be complete in 2019.

4.2: Establish local climate resilience committees to serve as long-term community partners for climate adaptation.
Greenovate Boston is continuing community education programs through Greenovate Leaders, Greenovate Ambassadors, and Greenovate Youth to empower citizens to take climate action.


Strategy 5: Create a coastal protection system.

Initiative Status Progress
5.1: Establish Flood Protection Overlay Districts (FPOD) and require potential integration with flood protection.
The BPDA is developing recommendations for the flood resilience overlay district and building resiliency guidelines this year.
5.2: Determine a consistent evaluation framework for flood defense prioritization.
Environment maintains a set evaluation criteria that have been used during the Climate Ready East Boston,  Charlestown, and South Boston plans and will be used in the Downtown and Dorchester plans.
5.3: Prioritize and study the feasibility of district-scale flood protection.
Environment, in collaboration with BPDA and others, will begin the process for the Downtown study in January 2019, and the Dorchester study in summer 2019.
5.4: Conduct a harbor-wide flood protection system feasibility study.
University of Massachusetts Boston released the “Feasibility of Harbor-wide Barrier Systems” in March 2018.

Strategy 6: Coordinate investments to adapt infrastructure to future climate conditions.

Initiative Status Progress
6.1: Establish an Infrastructure Coordination Committee (ICC).

Environment is developing a preliminary work plan for the ICC, which will be a continuation of Climate Ready Boston’s Infrastructure Advisory Group. The City of Boston participates in the Metro-Mayors Resiliency Taskforce, hosted by the Metro Area Planning Council every quarter.

6.2: Continue to collect important asset and hazard data for planning purposes.
6.3: Provide guidance on priority evacuation and service road infrastructure to the ICC.


Strategy 7: Develop district-scale energy solutions to increase decentralization and redundancy.

Initiative Status Progress
7.1: Conduct feasibility studies for community energy solutions.
The City has begun the process for implementing an electric municipal aggregation program. Under the City Council Order, Council authorizes the City to solicit bids for levels of green energy 5% and 100% greater than the state renewable performance standard. The Smart Utilities Policy ensures that projects of size 1.5 million SF or greater under Article 80 will conduct feasibility studies for district energy microgrids on their sites.  


Strategy 8: Expand the use of green infrastructure and other natural systems to manage stormwater, mitigate heat, and provide additional benefits.

Initiative Status Progress
8.1: Develop a green infrastructure location plan for public land and rights-of-way.

Parks completed a design and implementation guide for green infrastructure. The report is expected to be released in the spring of 2019.

Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) completed two conceptual designs and cost estimates of green infrastructure in Boston’s tributary areas in March 2018. The third will be finalized within 2019.

8.2: Develop a sustainable operating model for green infrastructure on public land and rights-of-way.
8.3: Evaluate incentives and other tools to support green infrastructure.

BWSC supports green infrastructure through site plan review requirements. They are exploring partnerships with external groups on other incentives and tools.

The recently approved Smart Utilities Policy requires properties over 100,000 square feet under Article 80 Review to retain 1.25'' rainfall on impervious areas onsite.

8.4: Develop design guidelines for green infrastructure on private property to support co-benefits.
BWSC is creating a design manual for green infrastructure. 
8.5: Develop an action plan to expand Boston’s urban tree canopy.
Parks worked with the Metro Area Planning Council and University of Vermont to get an updated assessment of the City’s tree canopy.
8.6: Prepare outdoor facilities for climate change.
8.7: Conduct a comprehensive wetlands inventory and develop a wetlands protection action plan.
not started

Strategy 9: Update zoning and building regulations to support climate readiness.

Initiative Status Progress
9.1: Establish a planning flood elevation to support zoning regulations in the future floodplain.
BPDA established a planning flood elevation of 40 inches for evaluating new projects in the updated Climate Change Resilience and Preparedness Checklist.
9.2: Revise zoning code to support climate ready buildings.
The BPDA is working to develop flood resiliency zoning recommendations to present to the Zoning Commission by summer 2019.
9.3: Promote climate readiness for projects in the development pipeline.
Pending completion of Initiative 9.2.
9.4: Pursue state building code amendments to promote climate readiness.
9.5: Incorporate future climate conditions into area plans.
The final drafts for BPDA’s Dot Ave and JP/Rox plans include recommendations for preparedness and resiliency, and climate is a primary goal for the new Glover's Corner plan. Climate resiliency is also a foundational piece in the East Boston and Downtown plans. Climate Ready Boston is a core pillar of Imagine Boston 2030, Resilient Boston, and Go Boston 2030.


Strategy 10: Retrofit existing buildings.

Initiative Status Progress
10.1: Establish a Resilience Audit Program for property owners.
Helpful resource: Please inquire A Better City for a report on resilient audit program recommendations.
10.2: Prepare municipal facilities for climate change.
The City's insurance company, FM Global, is assessing the flood vulnerability of some high-risk municipal buildings. 
10.3: Expand back-up power at private buildings that serve vulnerable populations.
Completed in 2016, the Boston Community Energy Study identifies districts that are suitable for community solar projects. 
10.4: Develop toolkit of building retrofit financing strategies.
Helpful resource: UMass Boston released a report in April 2018, “Financing Climate Resilience”.  


Strategy 11: Insure buildings against flood damage.

Initiative Status Progress
11.1: Evaluate the current flood insurance landscape in Boston.
Evaluation to be conducted as part of the City of Boston's Community Assistance Visit with FEMA.
11.2: Join the NFIP Community Rating System.
A Community Assistance Visit is a prerequisite to the CRS.
11.3: Advocate for reform in the National Flood Insurance Program.
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