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Mayor Walsh announces City of Boston joins the Trust for Public Land's climate-smart cities program

April 30, 2015

Mayor's Office

Published by:

Mayor's Office

The partnership supported by a $500,000 MacArthur grant for green infrastructure projects.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the City of Boston has started work with The Trust for Public Land’s Climate-Smart Cities™ Program to help Boston achieve climate mitigation and preparedness goals set forth in the Greenovate Boston 2014 Climate Action Plan Update. The Trust for Public Land’s Climate-Smart Cities effort helps cities meet the climate challenge through conservation and design--from protecting waterfront parks and wetlands to creating green alleys and “water smart” playgrounds.

“I thank the Trust for Public Land and the MacArthur Foundation for their partnership that will help us reach the ambitious goals laid out in our climate action plan," said Mayor Walsh. "Through effectively using the resources that support our environment, we have the opportunity to create a healthy, thriving and more innovative Boston."

The goal of this partnership is to help the City of Boston implement green infrastructure as a strategy to better connect people, keep Bostonians cool, absorb stormwater, and protect the city, its buildings and its people. Through this partnership, The Trust for Public Land will help the City and its partners integrate these four objectives into green infrastructure development by creating a Geographic Information System (GIS) decision support tool, conducting research, and developing projects.

"We are thrilled to be working with a great city like Boston as part of our Climate Smart Cities program," said Will Rogers, president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. "We know that coastal cities like Boston are particularly vulnerable in a changing climate and we applaud Mayor Martin J. Walsh and his staff for tackling this problem with solutions that provide multiple benefits."

As a result of the partnership, by late 2016 the City will have new research on climate impacts and an interactive online mapping tool. The Trust for Public Land will also assist Boston with creating green infrastructure design interventions such as flood mitigation and reducing the urban heat island effect.

Studies have shown that bringing natural features into urban environments can cool summer nights, absorb rainstorms, protect against coastal flooding, and help connect residents to mass transit and pedestrian corridors. These natural features, or "green infrastructure," like street trees, biking corridors, urban farms, and waterfront parks can keep neighborhoods of all kinds safe and livable when weather turns bad.

“Green infrastructure is an important tool that will help Boston both reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and also prepare for the impacts of climate change,” said Austin Blackmon, Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space. “I look forward to working with the talented team at The Trust for Public Land to develop this resource and identify pilot projects in Boston.”

The partnership includes participation from multiple City of Boston departments and agencies including the Environment Department, the Department of Innovation and Technology, the Boston Transportation Department, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, and the Boston Public Health Commission. Additionally, the state and community organizations are involved, including the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, The Boston Harbor Association, Charles River Watershed Association, Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, and Livable Streets Alliance.