Understanding the vulnerability of our campus and region, planning for the future
The effects of a changing climate require MIT – and institutions across the region – to rethink how they build, operate and renew their buildings and infrastructure over the near and long-term future. The region is already experiencing impacts from climatic changes and is projected to experience more frequent flooding, extreme precipitation and heat events, more intense storms and rising sea levels.
MIT is currently taking action on two fronts through the MIT Plan for Action on Climate Change:
- Reducing its campus greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to help mitigate climate impacts in the second half of the 21st century and beyond
- Partnering with faculty, staff, students, regional peers and technical experts to evaluate the physical and social vulnerabilities on campus to climate impacts; quantify and prioritize severity of impacts; and develop a plan for integrated decision-making that considers climate and financial implications of preparedness in building renovation, transit and future development.
Campus-based vulnerability and resiliency planning
The MIT Office of Sustainability (MITOS) is working with its research and operational partners to develop a methodology for campus-based vulnerability and resiliency planning that includes a pioneering MIT Flood Vulnerability Study (in progress), which downscales global storm models to provide a preliminary understanding of campus flood exposure to more extreme rain events.
Additionally, the MIT Stormwater and Landscape Ecology Plan (in progress) is providing an initial understanding of the campus landscape capacity to attenuate the first hours of intense precipitation and urban stormwater flooding as well as mitigation of campus exposure to heat stress.
A Campus Resiliency Committee has been activated to grow engagement and collaboration opportunities. Efforts under development include a campus social vulnerability assessment as well as collaborative efforts to partner with neighboring universities and institutions for collectively addressing shared, regional infrastructure vulnerabilities.
Preliminary results will be published here as they become available.
MIT has published its first ever Campus Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Strategy, which lays out the pathways and strategies that will guide the MIT administration in meeting or surpassing MIT's greenhouse gas emission reduction goal. MIT is integrating mitigation and resiliency planning for a comprehensive climate action program.
Project partners include:
- Office of Emergency Management
- Office of Campus Planning
- Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
- Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Climate Change
- Campus Resiliency Committee
- Cambridge Compact for a Sustainable Future
- A Plan for Climate Action (MIT) : https://climateaction.mit.edu/reports
- Cambridge Climate Vulnerability Assessment (2015) http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/Climate/climatechangeresilianceandadaptation.aspx
- Climate Ready Boston (2016) : https://www.boston.gov/environment-and-energy/climate-ready-boston