Boston has taken a data- and stakeholder-driven approach to climate adaptation, creating Climate Ready Boston in an effort to develop projections, assess risks, and create resilience strategies.

The Challenge

Extreme weather events such as Hurricane Sandy and winter storm Juno make it increasingly important for the City of Boston to prepare for impacts relating to climate change. By developing an understanding of projected climate change impacts, assessing how these will affect the city, and forming strategies to tackle these impacts, Climate Ready Boston ensures that the city is ready for the next extreme weather event, while adapting to long-term effects of climate change.

 

The Solution

Born out of the city’s 2014 Climate Action Plan, Climate Ready Boston was launched in 2015 as an initiative to develop resilient solutions to the impacts of long-term climate change. The initiative has three key deliverables: consensus on updated projections on the impacts of climate change; an integrated vulnerability assessment of these impacts, including identification of neighborhoods, properties, and infrastructure assets that are most at risk; and specific resilience strategies and a guiding roadmap that will reduce the city’s vulnerabilities and prioritize implementation. Based on data and stakeholder engagement, these strategies will include a portfolio of solutions and interventions, such as policies, regulations, financial incentives, and design standards. The initiative has not only provided the city with physical damage estimates, such as the cost of repairing buildings and infrastructure, but also costs to the community, at-risk individuals, business operations, and social networks. This has been possible through comprehensive cross-sector partnerships, which have funded the program, supplied data, and discussed and implemented recommendations. These partnerships include more than 30 stakeholder committees, including city, state, and private sector agencies and community groups, that participate on an advisory level.

 

Environmental Benefits - Because of the Climate Ready Boston initiative, the city is seeking to create green spaces to mitigate both flooding and heat impacts.

Social Benefits - By engaging with community groups to discuss experiences of climate impacts, such as blizzards and heat waves, the city is ensuring that adaptation measures will enhance quality of life of residents, particularly among its most vulnerable populations.

Economic Benefits - Climate Ready Boston aims to quantify the potential economic impacts of climate change on the city.

Health Benefits - As part of the project, Boston is consulting with health authorities to identify initiatives to reduce public health impacts, specifically those related to an increase in extreme temperatures.

 

About Cities100

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.