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Marett Discusses Boston’s New Heat Resilience Study and Where Bostonians Can Stay Cool During Heat Waves

As Boston faces a record number of heat waves, Sasaki is teaming up with the city and the Boston Public Library to offer Bostonians a respite from the heat.

This summer, Sasaki is partnering with the City of Boston Environment Department, the Boston Public Library (BPL), and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, to pilot two shaded, outdoor WiFi “Cool Spots” at BPL branches located in neighborhoods that experience disproportionate heat risk: the Egleston Branch in Roxbury and the East Boston Branch.

These cool spots are part of a larger Heat Resilience Study Sasaki is conducting, which is part of the ongoing Climate Ready Boston initiative. In addition to East Boston and Roxbury, the study is also looking at the effects of heat in Chinatown, Dorchester, and Mattapan.

Sasaki associate principal Laura Marett chatted with the Boston Business Journal about what this initiative means for the city.

“I think strategies like the cool spots are possible very quickly with investment in these neighborhoods, so I’m excited to see how it can have almost an immediate impact and really help prioritize those places for those shorter-term strategies,” she said. 

“I think there’s potential for the plan to influence the built environment more broadly, how we think about buildings, roofs, streetscape design, vegetation and trees, as well as policies that will help create a cooler environment citywide,” Marett continues. “Boston is really a leader in being proactive about planning for the impact of heat today and the future.”

“Boston is really a leader in being proactive about planning for the impact of heat today and the future.”

Laura Marett, Sasaki associate principal

Sanjay Seth, a climate resilience program manager in the Boston Environment Department, explains why projects like this are so crucial for the city. “The trends that we’re seeing and the trends that we’re expecting are severe and that’s why it’s so important to do this work and make sure we’re planning ahead.”

“We’re planning for a future where every person does not disproportionately experience climate change.”

Sanjay Seth, Boston Environment Department climate resilience program manager

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