Caitlin Spence, PhD

GIS and Planning Analyst

Department: Data Services – Analytical Services
Phone: 617-933-0723


Caitlin Spence joined the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in 2018. She works with government staff and organizations to provide technical assistance, custom data products, and decision support tools for municipal and regional planning. Her work is mainly focused on climate adaptation and resilience, water management, and environmental equity.

Before joining MAPC, Dr. Spence was a researcher at the Penn State Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. Some of her prior work includes developing open-source environmental software, researching risk communication, and creating educational resources.

Dr. Spence holds a Masters of Science and PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Bachelors of Science in Engineering Science from Smith College.

Areas of Expertise: decision support, suitability analysis, geospatial analysis, climate risk assessment, flood risk management, decision-making under uncertainty, multi-objective decision making, water resources management, systems analysis.


Spence, C. M. and C. M. Brown (2018). “A decision analytic approach to resolving divergent climate assumptions in water resources planning.” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management Vol. 144(9), DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000939.

Spence, C. M. and C. M. Brown (2016). “Nonstationary decision model for flood risk decision scaling.” Water Resources Research Vol. 52(11), pp. 8650-8667.

Poff, N.L. et al. (2015). “Sustainable water management under future uncertainty with eco-engineering decision scaling.” Nature Climate Change. doi:10.1038/nclimate2765

Guswa, Andrew J. and C. M. Spence (2012). “Effect of vegetation change on throughfall patterns and recharge.” Ecohydrology Vol. 5(5), pp. 563-574. doi:10.1002/eco.281.





Professional Activities, Affiliations, & Services:


  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI)
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • Society for Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty (DMDU)

Paper Reviewer

  • Climatic Change
  • Water Resources Research
  • Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management
  • Environmental Modelling & Software
  • Natural Hazards
  • Hydrologic and Earth System Science