City of Cambridge Resources
Cities, property owners, developers, and others have generally looked to historic patterns of climate to plan for the future. With climate change, the past no longer predicts the future. Making things even more complicated, future climate will not be stable, so there is no one scenario on which to base decisions. To deal with the new paradigm, many are looking to climate science to help plan for the climate change future. The City of Cambridge has applied the best available science to develop plausible projections of what our climate might be like in 2030 and 2070 in terms of temperature, precipitation, and sea levels. Focusing on the risks of flooding due to increasing rates of precipitation and sea level, the City and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have modeled where flooding will occur and the depth of water, assuming no action is taken to reduce risks. The Cambridge Floodviewer provides property owners, residents, businesses, and institutions with site- specific information on flood risks in the present, in 2030, and in 2070 to support preventative action against flooding. The first step in adapting to climate change is to understand your risks. Click on a parcel and find out the risk of flooding today and tomorrow.
Cambridge Floodviewer website: https://www.cambridgema.gov/Services/FloodMap
Flooding: “Is Your Property Protected” brochure: https://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/Files/publicworksdepartment/Brochures/City-of-Cambridge-Flooding-Brochure_Accessible-Document.pdf
The Port Flooding Virtual Reality
Climate change is increasingly accepted as a reality, but action is often thwarted by the perception that it happens to other people or will not affect us until further into the future. Virtual reality (VR) technology can bring the future to the present at a specific location. In this tool, the Public Works Department and its consultants have developed a virtual reality visualization of flooding in The Port neighborhood that is based on the Cambridge Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. The VR experience is augmented with a scenario that shows the effect of The Port Infrastructure Project and suggestions for how property owners and residents can respond to flood risk.
The Port Infrastructure Project: https://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/Files/publicworksdepartment/Engineering/cityprojects/area4infrastructure/PORT-Flooding-TabHor-_-v21-Final-for-View_Online.pdf?la=en
Virtual Reality Flood Visualization: https://go.wondavr.com/SHPM2kCupP
Cambridge Climate Change Preparedness & Resilience (CCPR) Plan
The climate of Cambridge is shifting in a warmer and wetter direction. Some impacts are already tangible with more days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and more intense rainfall. The future climate will be different, affecting the city both physically and socially. To prepare for this shifting reality, the City of Cambridge is developing the Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience (CCPR) Plan to serve a a roadmap on how to make our community more prepared for and resilient to the impacts of heat waves and flooding. Two neighborhood plans are being developed to inform a citywide plan. The plan for the Alewife/Fresh Pond area has been issued and plan for The Port neighborhood will be issued this spring. A citywide plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. In parallel, the Envision Cambridge comprehensive plan is coordinated with the CCPR Plan and the Public Works Department is developing the Urban Forest Master Plan.
Cambridge Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA) & Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience (CCPR) Plan
Glocal project: Captain-Change-the-Planet Model
The Glocal Challenge is a contest-based program facilitated by EF Education First, the City of Cambridge, and the Cambridge Public Schools to help high school students learn critical 21st century skills, gain global competence, and receive real-world experience in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). This year, we asked Cambridge Rindge and Latin School students to communicate the realities of climate change in our community. Teens came up with innovative ideas, which are now being planned for implementation in summer 2019! Keep an eye out for a zoetrope on the MBTA, a new super hero named Captain Change the Planet, an art installation demonstrating rising waters in Cambridge, a virtual reality experience, and a game for fourth graders!
Public Health Department Public Health Climate Video
Climate change is a global challenge, but the impacts are also very local. While climate change is often cast as an environmental crisis, it is a social problem as well. The Cambridge Public Health Department brings the point home through this video that discusses why climate change is important to one neighborhood in Cambridge, The Port. By confronting the realities of climate change, the community can begin to respond in ways that will reduce risks and increase resilience. The Public Works Department is responding with The Port Infrastructure Project, which is a set of improvements to the stormwater drainage system that will reduce the frequency of flooding.
The Public Health Department, which is based in The Port, provides programs and works with community partners to improve public health and emergency preparedness. A neighborhood climate preparedness and resilience plan for The Port has been developed by the City in consultation with the community to identify additional steps to make The Port more resilient.
Cambridge Public Health Department Climate Change Webpage: http://www.cambridgepublichealth.org/climate-change/index.php
Cambridge Code Red & Smart 911 - https://www.cambridgema.gov/iwantto/signupforcodered & https://www.cambridgema.gov/Services/smart911
The Port Infrastructure Project - https://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/Files/publicworksdepartment/Engineering/cityprojects/area4infrastructure/PORT-Flooding-TabHor-_-v21-Final-for-View_Online.pdf?la=en
Flooding on Bishop Allen Drive in 2010