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Climate Ready Boston Progress

Last updated: 1/29/18

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:
Environment
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

CRB Tracker Graphic December 2017

Progress Details

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.
NOT STARTED
The Environment Department (Environment) plans to reconvene the Boston Research Advisory Group (BRAG). This would happen within five years of the release of the first BRAG report (for example, 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 Checklist with a flood hazard area map tool.

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 its first pilot of the Climate Ready Boston Leaders Program in Summer 2017. Seventy trained leaders hosted 35 events that reached more than 500 residents. The second cohort will launch in January 2018.
2.2: Launch a Climate Ready Buildings Education Program for property owners and users.
Not started
Helpful resource: A Better City’s Building Resilience Toolkit.
2.3: Conduct an outreach campaign to facilities that serve vulnerable populations to support preparedness and adaptation.
in development
The Boston Public Health Commission is launching an effort to develop Continuity of Operations plans for facilities and community organizations. These plans provide social services after emergencies. (June 2018)
2.4: Update the City’s heat emergency action plan.
IN DEVELOPMENT
In 2018, the Environment Department and BPHC will launch a process to develop a citywide public health plan for heat preparedness.
2.5: Expand Boston’s Small Business Preparedness Program.
NOT STARTED
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.
NOT STARTED
 
3.2: Pursue inclusive hiring and living wages for resilience projects.
IN PROGRESS

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

3.3: Prioritize use of minority-and-women-owned businesses for resilience projects.
IN PROGRESS
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.
IN PROGRESS

Environment released the "Coastal Resilience Solutions for East Boston and Charlestown" report in October 2017 and announced immediate action steps. The neighborhood plan for South Boston was launched in the fall. 

The Parks Department (Parks) and Environment are leading the Moakley Park Vision Plan kicking off this winter. 

4.2: Establish local climate resilience committees to serve as long-term community partners for climate adaptation.
IN PROGRESS
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.
IN DEVELOPMENT
The Climate Ready East Boston and Charlestown project report (Fall 2017) will propose what a FPOD could look like for these two areas. This will then be evaluated by the BPDA.
5.2: Determine a consistent evaluation framework for flood defense prioritization.
IN DEVELOPMENT
Environment is testing preliminary evaluation criteria. This is being done through the Climate Ready East Boston and Charlestown project and the harbor-wide flood protection study.
5.3: Prioritize and study the feasibility of district-scale flood protection.
IN PROGRESS
Environment, in collaboration with BPDA and others, released the "Coastal Resilience Solutions for East Boston and Charlestown" report in October 2017 and announced immediate action steps. The next projects are in South Boston and Moakley Park.
5.4: Conduct a harbor-wide flood protection system feasibility study.
IN PROGRESS
University of Massachusetts Boston is conducting an initial feasibility assessment on a harbor-wide flood protection system. (December 2017)

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

Initiative Status Progress
6.1: Establish an Infrastructure Coordination Committee (ICC).
IN DEVELOPMENT
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.
COMPLETE (ONGOING)
 
6.3: Provide guidance on priority evacuation and service road infrastructure to the ICC.
NOT STARTED
 

 

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

Initiative Status Progress
7.1: Conduct feasibility studies for community energy solutions.
IN DEVELOPMENT
BPDA submitted an application for a Feasibility Study Grant from MassCEC for the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park. The Smart Utilities Policy for Article 80 is being finalized for approval by the BPDA Board.

 

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.
IN PROGRESS

Parks is creating a design and implementation guide to determine priority sites for green infrastructure. (February 2018)

Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) developed designs and cost estimates for green infrastructure in two Boston tributary areas and expects to complete these for a third tributary area. (March 2018)

8.2: Develop a sustainable operating model for green infrastructure on public land and rights-of-way.
NOT STARTED
 
8.3: Evaluate incentives and other tools to support green infrastructure.
IN DEVELOPMENT
BWSC supports green infrastructure through site plan review requirements. They are exploring partnerships with external groups on other incentives and tools.
8.4: Develop design guidelines for green infrastructure on private property to support co-benefits.
IN PROGRESS
BWSC is creating a design manual. (2018-2019)
8.5: Develop an action plan to expand Boston’s urban tree canopy.
IN DEVELOPMENT
Parks worked with MAPC and UVM on an updated assessment of the City's tree canopy.
8.6: Prepare outdoor facilities for climate change.
NOT STARTED
 
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.
IN DEVELOPMENT
BPDA 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.
IN DEVELOPMENT
The scope of work for the upcoming South Boston Waterfront project refers specifically to developing zoning code recommendations for that area.
9.3: Promote climate readiness for projects in the development pipeline.
NOT STARTED
 
9.4: Pursue state building code amendments to promote climate readiness.
NOT STARTED
 
9.5: Incorporate future climate conditions into area plans.
IN PROGRESS
The final drafts for BPDA's Dot Ave and JP/Rox plans include recommendations for preparedness and resiliency. Climate is also 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.
NOT STARTED
 
10.2: Prepare municipal facilities for climate change.
IN PROGRESS
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.
NOT STARTED
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.
NOT STARTED
 

 

Strategy 11: Insure buildings against flood damage.

Initiative Status Progress
11.1: Evaluate the current flood insurance landscape in Boston.
IN DEVELOPMENT

The evaluation will be part of the City of Boston's Community Assistance Visit with FEMA.

11.2: Join the NFIP Community Rating System.
NOT STARTED
 
11.3: Advocate for reform in the National Flood Insurance Program.
NOT STARTED