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Preparing for heat

Boston is experiencing increased temperatures and extreme heat events due to climate change. The heat resilience study will identify strategies to address future impacts of extreme heat and increase citywide resilience. 

Extreme heat has negative impacts on all Bostonians. It affects our health, infrastructure, economic opportunities, and more. But, our most vulnerable residents suffer an unfair heat burden. By prioritizing equitable heat resilience solutions, we can build safer and healthier communities today and for years to come.

Community Advisory Board application

The City is seeking applications for a Community Advisory Board (CAB) that will help guide our heat resilience planning across the City. CAB members will be key partners in shaping an inclusive planning and design process.

For the CAB, we are looking for active participation from community members who reflect the variety of backgrounds, interests, lived experiences, and expertise found in Boston. We welcome all applications.

Climate change is happening now

There were 22 days over 90 degrees in 2015. By 2030, we could see up to 40 days over 90 degrees. July 2019 was the hottest month on record, and NASA revealed that 2020 was the hottest year to date.

The Heat Resilience Study

Everyone in Boston experiences heat due to climate change. But we know that some residents experience more intense heat than others.

The study focuses on areas where heat islands overlap with historically underserved communities. The goal is to find creative and community-driven solutions. These solutions will protect from the effects of climate change.

The Study will identify a clear set of strategies to:
  • strengthen policies and programs needed to reduce urban heat and heat risk
  • address current and future impacts of extreme urban heat
  • integrate existing preparedness, public health, and racial equity initiatives, and
  • inform citywide solutions for heat resilience.

Steering Committees

Committees

The City is seeking applications for a Community Advisory Board (CAB) that will help guide our heat resilience planning across the City. CAB members will be key partners in shaping an inclusive planning and design process.

For the CAB, we are looking for active participation from community members who reflect the variety of backgrounds, interests, lived experiences, and expertise found in Boston. We welcome all applications.

Apply today to help guide the heat resilience study process!  

Read about the goals, roles, and responsibilities of the Board:

The Steering Committee helps guide the heat resilience planning process alongside the Heat Resilience Study Community Advisory Board. Specifically, the Steering Committee:

  • evaluates preliminary results and proposals 
  • shares detailed priorities and interest 
  • serves as a sounding board for proposals 
  • builds consensus around strategies, and
  • develops solutions for implementation.

Urban Heat Island Effect

Cities tend to be hotter than more suburban or rural areas. Within Boston, communities experience increased heat in areas with:

  • more concrete, steel, and buildings, and
  • less trees, grass, and other green spaces.

Scientists call this phenomenon the “urban heat island effect." Climate change increases heat everywhere in Boston. Yet, historically underserved neighborhoods and communities experience more intense heat island effect.

What does extreme heat look like

WHAT HEAT IMPACTS

Extreme heat can often just feel like an inconvenience. But it impacts our systems and day-to-day needs. This can look like:

  • more frequent power failures
  • tree canopy and green space loss
  • reduced air and water quality
  • increased medical emergencies and heat-related disease, and
  • slow or disrupted transportation infrastructure.

WHO HEAT IMPACTS

Extreme heat affects us all, but does not affect us all equally. More impacted groups include:

  • low-income communities
  • communities of color
  • native and tribal communities
  • the very young and very old
  • those who do not have access to cool spaces in the summer
  • individuals with chronic illnesses and conditions that worsen with heat exposure, and
  • residents in areas with less green space.

Explore Boston's heat

Climate Ready Map Explorer allows you to interact with the effects of climate change and how they impact our neighborhoods.

Launch the explorer