Last month, Boston City Council President Michelle Wu (at-large) and Councilor Sal LaMattina (North End, Charlestown, East Boston) joined others from government, business, academia, and philanthropy on a weeklong Climate Innovations Study Tour across Europe sponsored by the Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC). The group explored climate adaptation and mitigation strategies across leading cities in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands with the goal of bringing the best ideas home to Massachusetts.
Wu and LaMattina hosted a briefing at City Hall to share their findings with local officials and climate advocates. The session also featured fellow Study Tour participants such as Environment Commissioner Carl Spector, Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Austin Blackmon, Chief Resiliency Officer Atyia Martin, and BRA Director of Planning Sara Myerson.
Councilor LaMattina hoped to integrate their findings into the ongoing Image Boston 2030 citywide planning process. But he also recognized that they had to think even further into the future. “Like the people in my district, I recognize that we need to plan and prepare better,” he said. “Here we plan for 2030. Over there, in Europe, they’re planning for 2100. Think about that.”
President Wu outlined a number of smaller, simpler steps that could collectively make an enormous difference. The cities they visited had widespread and people-friendly cycling infrastructure, catch basins that doubled as durable public spaces, and building codes that encouraged carbon-neutral and energy efficient construction.
“They saw a way to take action, found a way to make it possible, and then they did it,” she told her colleagues at City Hall. “We need to do the same.”