Climate Change & Environmental Planning

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; and in partnership with city and state agencies, neighborhood residents, the business community, and numerous stakeholders and non-profit organizations.

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 Mayor’s climate change and sustainable building priorities. Many of these objectives follow from Climate Ready Boston and the Mayor’s Resilient Boston Harbor Vision to protect neighborhoods from sea level rise through a system of elevated and accessible waterfront open spaces, 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 resiliency planning, Mayor’s 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, 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
Chris Busch, Assistant Deputy Director for Climate Change and Environmental Planning
Joe Christo, Senior Resilience and Waterfront Planner
John Dalzell, Senior Architect for Sustainable Development
Amber Galko, Senior Resilience Reviewer
Kathleen Pedersen, Senior Land Use Planner/Sustainability Specialist & Environmental Review Specialist

  • Boston Planning & Development Agency
  • One City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
  • Tel: 617.722.4300  Fax: 617.248.1937
  • © 2021 Boston Planning & Development Agency