Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Paul Kirshen

Second Advisor

David Timmons

Third Advisor

Ellen Douglas


Climate change impacts are unequal throughout communities, often leaving those who contributed the least to greenhouse emissions the most exposed and vulnerable. Climate justice advocates support holistic approaches to adaptation planning which address current inequities in society along with climate risk. This holistic approach requires consideration and monitoring of plan impacts on well-being and equity issues. While social vulnerability and equity concerns have begun to be incorporated into adaptation planning strategies, many of these have been in a “checklist” format that are more about focusing on working with marginalized populations than quantifying the benefit of addressing equity issues. This thesis creates a set of indicators to assess and demonstrate the impact an adaptation plan has on well-being. To create these indicators, the literature on climate justice was reviewed to understand the core concepts and identify where climate adaptation planning can influence or incorporate climate justice components. Commonly used social vulnerability indices and equity indicator frameworks were analyzed to understand how social indicators are typically used. Based on the conclusions of those reviews, an indicator framework with a method to monetize impacts with an equity focus was created, drawing on concepts from political economy and non-market valuation techniques. This method is applied to two neighborhoods and the proposed adaptation plans from Climate Ready Boston: East Boston and South Boston.


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