Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



Boston, climate change, shore-based climate adaptation, sustainability


Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Policy | Environmental Sciences | Sustainability


The aim of this study is to provide the City of Boston with a preliminary assessment of the feasibilities and potential benefits, costs, and environmental impacts of three harborwide barrier configurations.

While this study is not comprehensive, and there are many ways that further research could refine and extend its findings, those findings were clear enough to justify making recommendations for next steps. The authors recommend that the City continue to focus its climate resilience strategy for the next several decades on the shore-based multi-layered approach described in Climate Ready Boston. Shore-based solutions would provide flood management more quickly at a lower cost, offer several key advantages over a harbor-wide barrier, and provide more flexibility in adapting and responding to changing conditions, technological innovations, and new information about global sea level rise. These shore-based solutions would be needed in any case over the next few decades to manage coastal flooding during the design and construction period of a harbor-wide barrier if a decision was made to build one in the future.


See Executive Summary document in the Additional Files section of this page.

Community Engaged/Serving

Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. //

umb-ES-BH-5.18-web3 FINAL.pdf (3444 kB)
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY -- Feasibility of Harbor-wide Barrier Systems: Preliminary Analysis for Boston Harbor

executive-summary_feasibility-harbor-wide-barrier-systems-report.pdf (3444 kB)



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