Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Ellen Douglas

Second Advisor

Georgia Mavrommati

Third Advisor

Antonio Raciti


Boston, Massachusetts is a densely populated city located on the Atlantic coastline. Now more than ever, Boston is experiencing serious affects from climate change, most notably sea level rise and associated coastal flooding. Examples include frequent flooding from the King Tide, storms such as Hurricane Sandy and most recently, the January 2018 ‘Bomb Cyclone’. Although we often talk about the impacts of flooding to typically high-value infrastructure, open spaces provide a wealth of ecosystem services that would otherwise be rarely found in urban coastal areas. The goal of this research was to understand the vulnerability of open spaces to coastal flooding in Boston and determine the role that open spaces have in the broader community. A comprehensive geospatial database of open spaces within the Boston Harbor domain was developed. Maps were created to illustrate the extent and depth to which these open spaces will be inundated during a 1% coastal flood exceedance probability in the present, 2030, and 2070. Calculations to determine the extent to which open spaces mitigate flood risks to urban infrastructure as well as suggestions for managing urban coastal open spaces and their role in resiliency planning will also be provided.


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