The City of Boston Plans for Adaptation

The City of Boston Plans for Adaptation

Project Summary

In 2007, Boston’s Mayor directed each city department to assess their risks and vulnerabilities from a changing climate. In the subsequent years, Boston developed a report “Climate Ready Boston - Municipal Vulnerability to Climate Change,” that anticipates climate impacts to, and vulnerabilities for, the city of Boston. The Climate Ready Boston Adaptation Plan projects how climate change is expected to lead to impacts ranging from sea level rise to extreme weather events. The report utilized existing research and analysis to identify potential municipal infrastructure and other city services that could be impacted by climate change. Boston used the knowledge gained from Climate Ready Boston to integrate the climate risks and vulnerabilities within their Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan.

How did they do it?
ActionApplicable Resources

Mayor issued an Executive Order to identify and plan to reduce climate risks

  • The Executive Order directed each city department to “prepare an integrated plan that outlines actions to reduce the risks from the likely effects of climate change, and coordinate those actions with the City’s plans for emergency response, homeland security, natural hazard mitigation, neighborhood planning, and economic development.”

City departments conducted vulnerability assessments

  • A Climate Preparedness Task Force, consisting of department heads from across city government analyzed vulnerabilities to city services using existing climate studies, including the National Climate Assessment (see below), to inform their vulnerability assessment.

Boston used the vulnerability assessments to inform community plans

  • The Office of Emergency Management utilized the vulnerability assessments and Vulnerability-Consequence Adaptation Planning Scenarios (VCAPS) to integrate climate change vulnerabilities within their Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Similar Case Studies

  • Determining climate risk and vulnerability is just the first step to adapting to climate change. Communities also need to identify and employ adaptation strategies as well. To see how Boston adapted its wastewater treatment facility to sea level rise, view the case study on Boston's Deer Island wastewater facility.