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Massachusetts Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool

April 21, 2021

On April 21, 2021, the State of Massachusetts, under the Governor Charlie Baker Administration, launched the Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool, an online platform that enables state and local governments to assess climate change considerations when designing and siting development and infrastructure projects. Specifically, the tool offers guidance for state-funded and other projects by creating project-specific climate vulnerability assessments and providing general guidance for ways that the state and local governments can consider making a project more climate resilient.

Related Organizations: Resilient MA Action Team

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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Coastal Resilience Solutions for Downtown Boston and North End

September 2020

The “Coastal Resilience Solutions for Downtown Boston and the North End” is a $200 to $300 million dollar, 50-year plan to protect the Boston waterfront, including Downtown, the North End, and the eastern edge of the city’s West End. The plan aims to protect these neighborhoods from a hundred-year flood on top of a 40 inch rise in sea levels by late this century. The integrated plan relies on a combination of natural (green infrastructure) defenses, breakwaters, seawalls, harbor walks, and raised land to protect the waterfront and inland areas from increases in coastal flooding and sea level rise.

Related Organizations: City of Boston, Massachusetts

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Massachusetts Audubon Mapping and Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience Tool

2018

Massachusetts Audubon Society (Mass Audubon), the largest non-profit in the state protecting over 38,000 acres of land and habitats, partnered with The Nature Conservancy and LandVest in 2016 to create the Mapping and Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience (MAPPR) Tool. MAPPR includes mapping layers that can help policymakers and conservationists select specific geographic areas (e. g. , town, county, watershed) within the state and identify parcels of land that, if protected, would maximize environmental and community benefits.

Related Organizations: Massachusetts Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Boston, Massachusetts

The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) in the Dudley Triangle neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts is one of the first examples of a city-land trust partnership designed to address a range of community challenges including housing affordability, and racial and economic inequality. In the 1980s, DSNI created the community land trust, Dudley Neighbors, Inc. (DNI) to combat blight in the Dudley Triangle neighborhood, which as a result of disinvestment had numerous vacant properties and became a frequent site for dumping and arson. The goal of the land trust was to facilitate redevelopment of the neighborhood without displacing existing residents and to empower community control over future development. DNI acquired 60 acres of land and currently stewards 225 units of affordable housing, an urban farm, a greenhouse, a charter school, parks, and a town common.  The DSNI is also notable because of the unique partnership with the City of Boston. The City granted the land trust eminent domain authority to condemn lands in the Dudley Triangle neighborhood and provided the land trust significant financial resources to support the development of affordable housing and other community projects in the neighborhood. DSNI’s work has helped to enhance the resilience of the community by preventing displacement in the face of rapid gentrification in the city, enhancing food security for residents, creating and stewarding green space that help to reduce urban heat islands, and by increasing social cohesion in the neighborhood through community activities and a community-led governing Board. DSNI shows how innovative public-partnerships between land trusts and cities can be fostered to address climate resilience and other community stressors, such as the lack of affordable housing, blight, and disinvestment.

Author or Affiliated User: Jessica Grannis

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Anticipated Vulnerabilities: Displacement and Migration in the Age of Climate Change

September 2019

When Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in September of 2017, thousands of its inhabitants were forced to flee their homes - many of whom ended up in in the City of Holyoke, Massachusetts. Between 2017 and 2018, over 5,400 people moved from Puerto Rico to Holyoke. In the years that followed, the city and partners at Hunter College and the University of Connecticut surveyed these families, intending to learn what aspects worked in response to their displacement and resettlement. Officials also hoped to assess how other cities could duplicate the incorporation of Puerto Rican climate migrants into Holyoke as more frequent climate events displace additional communities in the coming years.

Related Organizations: City of Holyoke, Massachusetts, Hunter College, University of Connecticut, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Grant Program

2019

Massachusetts’ Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program (MVP) provides support for cities and towns across the state to begin the process of planning and implementing climate change resiliency projects. The state awards communities with funding to complete vulnerability assessments and develop resiliency plans. 

Related Organizations: Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)

Resource Category: Funding

 

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City of Somerville, Massachusetts Climate Forward Plan

January 2019

Somerville, Massachusetts’ climate change plan includes policies, programs, and strategies for climate change adaptation, mitigation, and social equity. 13 primary strategies or Action Areas were developed to make Somerville climate neutral by 2050, and more climate resilient in the near-and long-term. 

Related Organizations: City of Somerville, Massachusetts

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Resilient Affordable Housing Grant Program - Boston, Massachusetts

2019

Boston’s Resilient Affordable Housing Grant Program illustrates how cities can use Section 4 Capacity Building Program grants to fund resilience investments in affordable housing. Despite having one of the narrowest housing affordability gaps in the country, Boston nevertheless faces pressures from increasing population growth. Like many urban areas across the country, Boston also faces increased incidences of climate impacts like extreme heat, coastal and riverine flooding, and more frequent stormwater flooding. In 2019, the Boston chapter of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) issued an RFP for Section 4 funding (up to $9,000) to assist community development corporations (CDCs) and community housing development organizations (CDHOs) with preparing the city’s affordable housing stock for extreme weather, sea-level rise, and other impacts of climate change. Specifically, the Resilient Affordable Housing Grant program provided funding to conduct resiliency assessments for vulnerable properties (located in the floodplain or at-risk for extreme heat), as well as for creating emergency management and training plans.

Related Organizations: City of Boston, Massachusetts

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Union Square Neighborhood Council, Somerville, Massachusetts

2019

In 2019, the Union Square Neighborhood Council (USNC) negotiated and ratified a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with the developer Union Square Station Associates LLC (US2), following approximately a year of weekly meetings with the negotiating committee. The CBA set forth terms on a number of issues, including housing, workforce development, and environmental sustainability. Specifically, under the CBA, US2 committed to developing 90 permanently affordable units in the Union Square neighborhood (out of a total of 1,000 new affordable and market rate units).

Related Organizations: City of Somerville, Massachusetts

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Resilient Boston Harbor

October 17, 2018

The plan to develop a climate resilient Boston Harbor in the City of Boston, Massachusetts offers strategies for Boston's 47-mile shoreline that will increase access and open space along the waterfront while better protecting the city during a major flooding event. The plan focuses on green infrastructure and natural solutions to lowering the severity of sea level rise and flooding from climate change. “Resilient Boston Harbor” invests in Boston's waterfront with a proposed restructuring of Fort Point Channel, and development of coastal protection from East Boston to the Dorchester shoreline.

Related Organizations: City of Boston, Massachusetts

Resource Category: Planning

 

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