Climate Resiliency

A climate resilient MIT

An MIT campus capable of fulfilling its mission in the face of intensifying climate risks

MIT is working collaboratively to address the risks of climate change and their anticipated impacts on the campus and community. These impacts include: more frequent flooding, extreme precipitation, heat events, and rising sea levels.

On campus, we are taking a long-term view in building, operating and renewing our buildings and infrastructure to mitigate impacts from climate changes. We are acting on two fronts through the MIT Plan for Action on Climate Change:

  • Reducing campus greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to help mitigate climate impacts in the second half of the 21st century and beyond;

  • Assessing and prioritizing campus climate challenges to inform a climate resiliency strategy. The MIT Office of Sustainability (MITOS) is partnering with faculty, staff, students, regional peers and technical experts to promote building renovation, transit and future growth that considers physical, social and financial implications of preparedness.

We are also working closely with our partners at the City of Cambridge on joint efforts around modeling, mapping, and adaptation planning.

Layers of resilience – our analytical framework

To understand and plan for resiliency, we view the MIT campus as four integrated layers or "systems of resilience." Healthy and comprehensive functioning of each layer is critical to supporting MIT's purpose. At the same time, each layer is mutually inter-dependent upon every other layer, requiring us to look at the inter-depencies of each system. For example, if MIT constructed the most flood-resistant building in the world, any utilities feeding the building would also need to be fully flood-proofed or else an electric or steam-line could fail, rendering the world’s most flood-proof building unable to operate at full capacity. A resilient MIT depends upon understanding and solving these inter-dependent challenges and opportunities across all four systems.