Department Mission

Climate Change & Environmental Planning serves to promote an active, accessible and resilient waterfront, and to advance climate ready, carbon neutral, and environmentally sustainable buildings. The Department works on project review, planning, and policy development in partnership with city and state agencies, neighborhood residents, and numerous stakeholders.

Role in the Agency

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges and opportunities to face the City of Boston. Climate Change & Environmental Planning staff play an integral role in supporting the City’s climate change and sustainable building priorities. Many of these objectives follow from Climate Ready Boston and the Resilient Boston Harbor Vision to protect neighborhoods from sea level rise, heat island effect and extreme precipitation, as well as the City’s Climate Action Plan and Carbon Neutral 2050 goal. Staff are directly involved with: waterfront and port planning projects related to the state’s Public Tidelands Act M.G.L Chapter 91; promoting sustainable and resilient buildings through the Zoning Article 37, Article 25A and Article 80 development project review process; and, developing climate preparedness and carbon neutral policies. Staff also administer grant programs and projects to protect against current and future flood impacts, establish new public open space, promote water dependent businesses and water transportation infrastructure, and advance net zero carbon and green building practices.


Due to the interdisciplinary nature of climate preparedness and building sustainability, our staff of planning and design professionals collaborate closely with the BDPA’s Development Review and Urban Design staff, as well as our partners in the Environment Department on the Climate Ready Boston initiative, Parks and Recreation on open space and resiliency planning, Boston Water and Sewer Commission on stormwater management and extreme precipitation preparedness, Office of Emergency Management, and the Public Works Department on their resilience guidelines for the public right-of-way. We also regularly coordinate with state agencies including the departments of Energy Resources, Environmental Protection, Coastal Zone Management, Transportation, Conservation and Recreation, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and the Massachusetts Port Authority, to plan and implement projects. We also partner with community and neighborhood groups and stakeholders to build consensus around policy, plans, and design.

For more information, please contact Climate Change & Environmental Planning staff.


Richard McGuinness, Deputy Director for Climate Change and Environmental Planning