Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Paul Kirshen

Second Advisor

Ellen Douglas

Third Advisor

Antonio Raciti


Increasing urbanization and subsequent spread of impervious surfaces has resulted in greater runoff during precipitation events. Greater runoff, combined with increasing precipitation results in flash flooding, which quickly overwhelms stormwater infrastructure, often found to be outdated and undersized. The Northeast is anticipated to experience increased precipitation under projected future climate conditions. Conventional stormwater infrastructure, already overwhelmed by storm events, is costly to build and maintain. Additionally, flooding is expected to increase as the climate changes, populations grow, and cities expand. There is a clear need for new and innovative ways to manage stormwater in the urban setting. This study intends to serve as a potential solution by exploring stormwater flood mitigation through the use of urban parks. Building on Olmstead’s innovative use of open spaces, as well as the 217 parks within the city, Boston could consider utilizing its park system as places of infiltration for neighborhood-scale flood control. The land within the parks could be used to infiltrate excess stormwater that has overwhelmed storm drain systems and resulted in flooding. Streets and neighborhoods could be made more accessible during and immediately after rainfall events. Where not ideal for infiltration, sites could be modified to increase infiltration capabilities so that they may function as green infrastructure. This would increase neighborhood resilience and could collectively bolster the effectiveness of Boston’s ability to manage stormwater.


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