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Last updated: 9/20/18

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
United States

PDF of the progress tool:CRB progress tool

For reference:Climate Ready Boston report (December 2016)

Progress Summary

Climate Ready Boston Progress July 2018

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.
In progress
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 completed the second cohort of the Climate Ready Boston Leaders Program in spring 2018. Since 2017, there are 140 trained Leaders who have hosted 60 events that reached more than 1200 residents. Cohort 3 applications will open in the fall for Leaders to engage with the Climate Action Plan Update.
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 develop 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 is completing the “Coastal Resilience Solutions for South Boston” report, to be released in the fall of 2018.  The Parks Department and Environment launched the Moakley Park Vision Plan, to be completed in 2019.

4.2: Establish local climate resilience committees to serve as long-term community partners for climate adaptation.
Greenovate launched the Climate Ready Boston Leaders Program. Environment is also partnering with Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) in East Boston on the ClimateCARE program.


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 Department was awarded a state grant to establish a FPOD and accompanying resilience design guidelines. The process will begin in fall 2018.
5.2: Determine a consistent evaluation framework for flood defense prioritization.
Environment is testing preliminary evaluation criteria through the Climate Ready East BostonCharlestown, and South Boston project.
5.3: Prioritize and study the feasibility of district-scale flood protection.
Environment will be releasing the “Coastal Resilience Solutions for South Boston” report in the fall of 2018. This report is in collaboration with the Boston Planning & Development Agency, and others.
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.
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 Boston Planning & Development Agency was selected to participate in the MassCEC Community Microgrid Program to carry out a Feasibility Assessment for a District Energy Microgrid at the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park. The Smart Utilities Policy for Article 80 Development Review was approved by the BPDA Board in June 2018, which supports the adoption of district energy microgrids.


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.

The Parks Department completed a design and implementation guide for green infrastructure. The report is expected to be released in the fall of 2018.

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 by the fall.

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.
The Parks Department established a planning flood elevation of 40 inches for evaluating new projects in the updated Climate Change Checklist.
9.2: Revise zoning code to support climate ready buildings.
The Parks Department and Environment Department are working to develop climate-ready zoning recommendations by June 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 Parks Department’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 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. First meeting to be held in July 2018.
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.