Metro Boston Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Report

The Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) has developed this adaptation strategy in response to research on the current and projected climate change impacts for the 101 cities and towns of the Metro Boston area of Massachusetts. A Vulnerability Assessment was conducted in developing this strategy and finds that the region is expected to experience an increase in frequency and severity of rain and snow storms, and an increase in heat waves, and sea level rise as a result of climate change. The report provides detailed results from this assessment as well as recommendations for local, regional, and state action to reduce vulnerability to future impacts of climate change within Eastern Massachusetts.

The Strategy Report includes a Vulnerability Assessment, Goals and Objectives, and Adaptation Strategies. Each section of the report is organized topically by five major sectors:

  1. Built Environment and Key Infrastructure
  2. Coastal Zone
  3. Natural Resources and Habitat
  4. Human Health and Welfare
  5. Local Economy and Government

These five sectors are the same used within the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report - maintained to ensure strategic alliance between local, regional, and state goals. The Strategy outlines adaptation goals, associated objectives, and specific sub-strategies and recommendations to fulfill these goals.

The MAPC believes that the first step to adapting to climate change is to continue to reduce GHG emissions, as well as that there are some mitigation measures that overlap with adaptation - such as water conservation, energy conservation, and green infrastructure. The Mitigation and Adaptation section details these objectives that reduce emissions and build resiliency with specific strategies for implementation. 

Natural Resources and Habitat discussed in the Metro Boston region include forested areas, aquatic ecosystems, and watersheds. The Protecting Coastal Resources section describes the value and strategies for conservation of these natural resources in the region’s coastal areas including coastal wetlands, coastal floodplain mapping and zoning to incorporate sea-level rise, retreat, and land acquisition measures.

Built Environment and Infrastructure recommends regulatory measures that provide a community with rules and regulations that “allow the flexibility needed for development and redevelopment to occur in a smart, sustainable manner within appropriate areas.” Strategies or measures are provided for stormwater management, Low Impact Development techniques, green building, climate-resilient design, and protecting critical infrastructure.

The Health and Human Resources sector focuses on identifying vulnerable populations and supporting these communities with implementation of green space and green infrastructure. Other strategies for managing climate impacts on public health include to: ensure access to food supply, prepare for lowered air quality, and climate weatherization.

The Local Economy and Government goals include a discussion of collaboration across agencies and governing levels - local, regional, and state. MAPC recognizes that initiating all of the goals laid out in this report requires financial resources, and in turn discusses budgeting, resource allocation, and some ways to finance risk reduction initiatives.


Publication Date: June 30, 2014

Related Organizations:

  • Boston, Massachusetts Metropolitan Area Planning Council


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan
  • Assessment
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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