Regional Climate Change Strategy

Project Background

Stormy waves crashing on beach in Hull, MA

Through the development of a Regional Climate Adaptation Change Strategy, MAPC aims to prepare recommendations for local, regional, and state action to reduce vulnerability to the anticipated impacts of climate change. The Strategy builds on findings of the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report (2011) and other pertinent publications developed to date, including Climate’s Long-term Impacts on Metro Boston (2004) authored by Tufts University, Boston University, and MAPC.

In addition to outlining short and long-term land use changes, the Strategy also includes actions for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) mitigation on private and public properties. We believe reducing GHG emissions is a crucial first step in adapting to climate change because it will reduce impacts and level of adaptation required. 

adaptation mitigation chart

The MAPC Environmental Division works very closely with MAPC's Clean Energy Program that helps municipalities reduce GHGs. 

For further details regarding the project, please review the scope of work summary.

Why it’s Important

It is critical that each municipality consider climate change adaptation and mitigation given the magnitude of climate change impacts on the environment, developed areas and infrastructure, the economy, and public health in the Boston Metro region.

Some projected changes over the next 10-50 years include: more frequent or intense precipitation variabilities (rain and snow), sea level rise and coastal floodwater damages, increased temperature during some portions of the year (especially summer), increased periods of drought, more hospitable conditions for insects and pathogens causing increased disease and chronic illnesses, and challenging interfaces between natural resource migration and development. 

The Strategy

MAPC has partnered with a number of organizations and stakeholders to complete this first of its kind Regional Strategy in Massachusetts. The Strategy builds on previous state efforts and existing best practices to develop recommendations for local, regional, and state action. The Strategy includes

  • An analysis of the key vulnerabilities across five facets of life and also across the built and natural environment in Metro Boston, from coastal zones to the local economy.
  • Objectives designed to provide a framework for accomplishing the primary climate change goal that was adopted in 2008 as part of the MetroFuture Regional Plan, Goal 11: The region to be prepared for, and resilient to, natural disasters and climate change.
  • Important recommendations for change that must be realized if the region is to be more socially, economically, and physically resilient in the face of climate change. It provides a single resource for decision makers in various roles across the region.
Riparian RestorationGreen Infrastructure For Climate ResiliencyBuilding Elevation Sketch-up

While forming the Strategy, MAPC reached out to cities and towns in the Boston Metro region to learn more about how climate change adaptation is currently being addressed. We also worked to engage populations that may be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change and/or have a reduced ability to adapt, whether by virtue of economic status, social capacity and resources, health, age, or geography. Although the results of the survey were collected and tabulated for the development of our Strategy, survey questions are still available for municipalities to participate that did not have an opportunity to do so.


The draft Regional Climate Change Strategy is now available below; revised as of April 2015. Please note that this document serves as a working document for the agency and is constantly updated as new data becomes available and information from partners is exchanged. Click photo below to view report. 

Regional Climate Strategy Cover and Link

NOTE: As of 2015, the Strategy is now included in MAPC's Regional Plan; MetroFuture

Over the past 18 months MAPC has regularly presented the Strategy regionally with specifications regarding community type and development patterns, population, natural resources, etc., that are relevant to each audience.  A small subset of these presentations and highlighted tools include (note: these files are large and therefore may take time to download):

  • Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions Annual Environmental Conference, March 2014.  
  • Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors Conference presentation, June 2014.
  • South Shore Coalition Strategy Presentation, February 23, 2015.
  • Boston Bar Association workshop presentation, February 26, 2015.
  • Citizen Planner Training Collaborative, March 21, 2015.
  • Presentation to the MAPC Executive Committee for MetroFuture Approval, April 8, 2015.
  • Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination Subregional Climate Planning Project  Kick-off Presentation, November 19, 2015.


For more information about this project, please contact Julie Conroy, AICP, Senior Environmental Planner or Martin Pillsbury, Director of Environmental Planning at MAPC.