Vulnerability Assessment

2019 Citizen Mapping Wicked Hot Boston Project

Throughout the months of July and August 2019, over 50 volunteers joined researchers from the Museum of Science in collecting valuable data for measuring extreme heat in and around 10 neighborhoods covering the municipalities of Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge.

The project called Wicked Hot Boston, worked with volunteer citizen scientists who measured temperatures and humidity levels using special sensors, at 6 am, 3 pm, and 7 pm during officially designated heat waves in the Greater Boston area.  The data collected was used to create area-wide maps that modeled the absolute and real-feel temperatures across the urban landscape. The purpose of the study was to gain a better understanding of how extreme heat, experienced over a sustained period, impacts urban environments.

Learn more about the summary data and read more about next steps as reported in recent media stories:

Wicked Hot Boston Map: 7 pm Heat Index Data (right click on map to open image and zoom in)

July 2019 - evening heat mapping - 150 dpi

2017 Vulnerability Assessment

Download 2017 Vulnerability Assessment (PDF)   |   Related Climate Action Plan Action

In December 2017 the Town completed a climate vulnerability assessment that addresses expected impacts from flooding, drought, and extreme heat. The report considers impacts to vulnerable populations, public health, natural resources, the built environment including public and private infrastructure and utilities, and the local economy. Action items include a process for ensuring that implementation is monitored, as well as strategies to address the vulnerabilities identified.

The Commonwealth's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs awarded the Town the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness designation in 2018, making the Town eligible for state funding to implement key actions.

  • The year-long project was conducted by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) with funding from MAPC’s Planning for MetroFuture Technical Assistance program, the Barr Foundation, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Community Compact program. MAPC Senior Planner Anne Herbst researched and prepared the report.
  • This report incorporates analysis of urban heat islands in Brookline provided by the Sustainability and Data Sciences Lab (SDS) of Northeastern University led by Dr. Auroop Ganguly, which was made possible through a partnership with the American Geophysical Union Thriving Earth Exchange Program.
  • The Project Steering Committee represented a wide range of Town departments, members of the Select Board's Climate Action Committee, and the citizen group Climate Action Brookline.