The City of Boston is tackling the challenges associated with climate change head on. In a city where a densely populated highly urbanized meets the sea, the city is doing the hard work to prepare for sea level rise, increasing urban temperatures, greater precipitation, and other risks through their robust and comprehensive climate analysis and action plan, Climate Ready Boston. The Trust for Public Land’s national Climate-Smart Cities program is providing key planning and decision-making support to help the city achieve the goals laid out in Climate Ready Boston. Together with city and community partners, we’re bringing cutting-edge science, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) planning, and innovative design to prepare the entire region for a climate-resilient future with a particular emphasis on underserved populations and critical at-risk infrastructure.

Our Climate-Smart Cities process bring together a team of experts to research, design, and build the infrastructure and tools that help increase our resilience to climate change. Our strategy is to:


Based on the findings in Climate Ready Boston, it is clear that the city’s climate risks will continue to increase as the global climate changes. Built largely on wetlands, Boston is at high risk of damage due to rising sea levels, subsiding land and coastal flooding. The threat is so severe that economists at the World Bank ranked Boston as the world’s eighth most vulnerable city for economic impacts due to flooding, with as much as $793 million is at stake by 2050. Meanwhile, more days of extreme heat and extreme precipitation events also threaten the city’s infrastructure and diverse and growing population.


Working in partnership with city agencies, with critical input from state and federal partners, the local non-profit community, and university researchers, The Trust for Public Land’s Climate-Smart Cities program is meeting the city where they are- taking advantage of the great work happening across the city, from Climate Ready Boston, to the Imagine Boston 2030 and Go Boston 2030 planning processes, to the Emerald Network vision and many others- to create a foundation on which to address the most pressing climate challenges on a regional scale.

GIS-based Decision Support

A web-based decision support tool and other related web applications will foster effective collaboration and science-based prioritization for green infrastructure development. This Climate-Smart Cities planning tool will consider climate risks in Boston and identify priority areas for multi-benefit green infrastructure investment—based on environmental threat and the location of vulnerable populations. The development of the tool was guided by a Technical Advisory Team with representatives from each of partner agencies, organizations, and universities.

Green Infrastructure Demonstration

In collaboration with city agencies and other partners, we are using the decision support tool to select several large-scale, multi-jurisdictional sites to initiate innovative, climate-specific green infrastructure projects.