Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a critical investment in strengthening Boston’s neighborhoods in the face of extreme heat due to climate change. The City of Boston has been awarded a $280,070 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant that will fund a strategic heat resilience planning study, an essential next step in preparing for the projected increases in extreme heat events over the coming decades. 

“Combatting for the very real threat of climate change is crucial as we continue to invest in strategies that prioritize our vulnerable communities to ensure an equitable, healthy future for all Bostonians,” said Mayor Walsh “I’m proud the City has received this award, and thank the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for their partnership in this vital work.”

The Heat Resilience Planning Study is a critical component of Climate Ready Boston, an initiative to develop resilient solutions that will prepare our city for the effects of climate change: flooding due to sea-level rise and increased storms and extreme heat. The plan will build on heat preparedness work to date and explore a suite of potential heat mitigation strategies to identify infrastructure solutions and opportunities, as well as strengthen policies and programs needed to reduce urban heat and heat risk.

“Our priority is to protect all residents from ecological hazards and climate change, but we know that not everyone is equally impacted,” said Chris Cook, Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space. “This heat resilience planning study will intentionally center on environmental justice communities to guide us to protect our especially vulnerable neighborhoods from the effects of climate change with actionable, innovative, and community-driven solutions.”

The study will focus on “hot spots” throughout the neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Chinatown, and East Boston. Climate Ready Boston will develop heat mitigation scenarios in partnership with communities facing disproportionate effects of urban heat risk and compounding social inequity. The solutions will be community-driven and will result in equity and public health focused strategies and metrics to protect the health and safety of Boston neighborhoods for years to come.

“As climate change continues, extreme heat is of particular concern in densely populated, inland neighborhoods like the one we serve in Dorchester. This study will support the development of heat resilience planning through integrated nature-based solutions, promote sustainable development, and improve public health to reduce extreme heat risk. This effort by Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston is particularly welcome, and we look forward to collaborating in this planning process,” said David T. Queely, Director of Eco Innovation, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation.

The City of Boston’s MVP grant is among the 41 communities that received funding from the Executive Office of Energy and Environment Affairs through its Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The MVP Program awarded a total of $11 million in grants to municipalities to plan and implement climate change resilience projects.

“Boston is one of four communities that are leading studies on extreme heat in this new MVP grant cycle,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “This summer reminded us of the dangers of the urban heat island effect, particularly for our most vulnerable residents, and this work on heat resilience planning has the potential to serve as an important model for other regions across the Commonwealth.”

This work builds on Mayor Walsh’s vision for a prepared, healthy, and resilient Boston. Since the initial release of the first Climate Ready Boston report in 2016, the City of Boston has completed a series of neighborhood-level coastal resilience projects in East BostonCharlestown, and South Boston, and will soon announce reports and implementation roadmaps for the North End, Downtown, and Dorchester.

About the Environment Department

The City of Boston Environment Department’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in Boston by protecting air, water, climate, and land resources, and preserving and improving the integrity of Boston’s architectural and historic resources. To learn more, visit the website at boston.gov/environment.

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Contact Department: Environment

Publish Date: Fri, 10/09/2020 – 3:59pm

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