Marisa Long

Case study is designed to be a tool in helping cities enhance their own resiliency efforts

July 17, 2018—(Washington, D.C.)—USGBC has released a resilience case study on the City of Boston. Commissioned by E Cubed Optimizers (ECO), the study reviews the measures taken, lessons learned and challenges faced by the City of Boston in its work to create a truly resilient city. The study is the latest effort from USGBC to drive a more resilient future through education, resources and programs.

“At USGBC, we have a vision that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO, USGBC. “And we know that in order to realize a sustainable future for all, the next generation of green building must focus on the development of smart and resilient cities and communities. This Boston case study demonstrates the factors our cities must champion—equitable, safe and healthy development policies; implementation of interoperable platforms and advanced technologies that improve the performance of their communities and cities; and incorporating concepts like wellness and human experience into city planning, development and management.”

This case study is designed to help Boston and cities around the globe enhance and further their own quest for resilience. Boston has made significant progress in tackling resiliency, such as in its response and planning following the Boston bombings in 2013 and its appointment of the city’s first chief resilience officer in 2015. World cities can learn many lessons from Boston’s experiences to enhance ways in which they can tackle resiliency.

“In the case study of Boston, we examined 16 different resiliency factors. Although these factors are separately examined, they are strategically interrelated. No one factor can guarantee significant resiliency, no matter how strong it may be,” said Katherine Hammack, executive director, Ernst & Young (former CEO, E Cubed Optimizers).

“We can have the most resilient infrastructure, but if the human factors are not resilient, the city is not resilient,” said Les Lo Baugh, president, E Cubed Optimizers. “We call a city without people a ‘ghost town.’ A resilient city requires resilient infrastructure, resilient systems and resilient people. One of the reasons Boston was an excellent candidate for the case study is that Boston understands this fundamental principle.”

As part of its resilient cities focus, USGBC released LEED for Cities in 2016, which is a system to help green our cities similar to the way the LEED green building rating program has transformed the built environment. LEED for Cities brings a new level of leadership to cities around the world by benchmarking their current performance and homing in on targeted metrics that enable continuous improvement and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, human health and economic prosperity.

“Cities face many challenges in this day and age—citizens are demanding more transparency and information about the places where they live, work, learn and play,” added Ramanujam. “LEED for Cities allows us to address these concerns on a global scale.”

Now more than ever, local governments are becoming laboratories of innovation and leadership, especially in growing cities, and have an enormous opportunity to initiate a dynamic dialogue with citizens and earn their trust in the process. LEED for Cities is a timely way to demonstrate value and accelerate the great leadership now being shown by cities. There are currently several cities participating in LEED for Cities across the globe, including Washington, D.C.; Phoenix, Ariz. and Savona, Italy, which have already certified.

This week, USGBC is also co-hosting a Resilient Cities Summit, an annual event that engages local policy makers from across the country, alongside partners the National League of Cities and the Urban Land Institute, and USGBC recently launched a brand-new initiative, “The Center for Resilience,” a clearinghouse of information on resilience activities and initiatives, case studies on resilience and more information about USGBC’s tools and programs that support a more resilient future.

Download the case study