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Global Strategy Group;
A September 2020 survey of Massachusetts voters on clean energy shows increasingly negative attitudes towards gas and other fossil fuels and heightened concerns about air pollution and public safety amidst the COVID crisis.Description:A survey fielded by Global Strategies Group in September 2020 showed Massachusetts voters continue to view clean energy as an imperative to protect the climate and public health and safety.65% of Massachusetts voters surveyed are ready for bold and decisive action to address the climate crisis, including a complete transition to clean and renewable energy statewide.Massachusetts voters trust scientists and public health experts above all others to convey the facts on energy issues. 85% of Massachusetts voters surveyed trust scientists and 82% trust public health experts to provide them with information on energy issues.Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly support using more solar and wind to generate electricity and a majority supports reducing our reliance on gas. 88% support using more solar, while 85% support using more wind. 52% support reducing reliance on gas.Finally, as the poll was conducted in the midst of the COVID crisis, in terms of stimulus spending to build back from COVID, providing assistance to people to pay their energy bills (86% support) and more incentives for energy efficiency (79% support) topped the list for Massachusetts voters followed by strong support for incentives to switch to cleaner heating alternatives such as heat pumps (68%).
We as a society have made choices that have led to deep inequities. Whether intentional or not, these inequities divide places, races, classes, and cultures across the Commonwealth. To bridge these divisions, policymakers, leaders, and practitioners must reframe decisions and actions with equity as an intentional outcome and part of the process. We write this paper to present a framework of how transit-oriented development (TOD) can help cities, specifically Gateway Cities, embed equity into market-based and other policy tools and practices, thereby transforming their regions through equitable growth and development.This report expands on our 2018 recommendations and lays the groundwork for a series of future policy briefs that will explore the issues covered here in more depth. We call for infusing equity into TOD policies and practices for four specific reasons:Over the past 50 years, demographic change has divided people and communities socially and economically in Gateway City metropolitan regions.Gentrification fears have surged in Gateway Cities' weak real estate markets, where increasing property values threaten to destabilize households and neighborhoods, strip cities of their cultural vibrancy, and put vulnerable residents at risk of displacement and homelessness.Local and nationwide histories of socioeconomic exclusion—particularly along racial and cultural lines—persist today. These histories have exacerbated wealth gaps and income inequality and require both acknowledgement and correction.Finally, a false policy dichotomy that supports either large "urban" or small "nonurban" communities ignores the vital role Gateway Cities play as regional hubs for surrounding towns and cities, thus deepening geographic disparities across the Commonwealth.
A sharp increase in working from home could also spell huge changes in commuting patterns. Massachusetts residents say they will probably be making fewer trips as the state emerges from coronavirus crisis, but more of those trips will be by themselves, according to a new statewide poll out today. On balance, residents expect to drive or walk more, and use all types of shared or public transportation mode less.In all, 35% of residents say they will ride the MBTA subway less than before, and 33% say the same of the commuter rail. Among the most frequent transit users, 44% say they will ride the subway less, and 45% expect to drive more. Young people and Boston residents are among the groups indicating the biggest increases in driving.
An update to Massachusetts' climate policy is on the agenda. In the past year, the Massachusetts House and Senate along with Governor Charlie Baker have all put forward substantial policy proposals to deal with various aspects of climate change. From Speaker Robert DeLeo's GreenWorks resiliency grants for cities and towns to the Governor's new ambitious goal of driving the commonwealth to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, state government is taking the issue seriously. The Massachusetts State Senate just passed new legislation to go even further, setting new emissions targets, pricing carbon, and encouraging purchases of electric vehicles. These bills come at a time of growing anxiety among residents about climate change, and reports from the scientific community that grow more alarming by the day.These are among the findings of a new survey of 2,318 residents of Massachusetts conducted by The MassINC Polling Group. This work is the latest in a series, dating back to 2011, that defined a culture of climate protection as 1) recognizing global warming as a problem and priority, 2) supporting policy efforts to curb global emissions, and 3) putting a premium on individual efforts to reduce one's own carbon footprint. This survey shows progress towards all three of these. The survey was preceded by a series of focus groups conducted across Massachusetts. This report includes insights and quotes from that qualitative research alongside the quantitative findings throughout.
Livable Streets Alliance;
In March of 2017, the City of Boston released Go Boston 2030, their long-term mobility plan. Informed by an extensive two-year community engagement process, the plan envisions a city where all residents have better and more equitable travel choices, and aims to create economic opportunity and prepare for climate change. In order to ensure Go Boston 2030 doesn't sit on a shelf, LivableStreets has committed to independently assessing the City's progress on their goals regularly until 2030.Our report found that since Go Boston 2030 was released three years ago, the City of Boston has made important structural changes to their mobility-related departments, budgets, and priorities, including adding millions of dollars and 20 new staff to the transportation department. These changes provide a strong foundation for the progress they are making on implementing several Go Boston 2030 projects and policies. However, implementation of these projects and policies has not yet demonstrated significant progress toward most of Go Boston 2030's goals and targets. It will be important for the City to increase the scale and pace of its projects to stay on track and begin to see more meaningful progress toward its goals and targets.The report includes key findings, recommendations, and deep dives into key projects, including Better Bike Corridors. One section of the report focuses on providing updates on aspirational targets the City laid out in Go Boston 2030, including eliminating traffic fatalities and decreasing commute to work times. In addition, the report includes a project scorecard that provides status updates, evaluations, and recommended next steps for all 33 Go Boston 2030 early action projects and policies, including Walk- and Bike-Friendly Main Streets and Smart Signals Corridors. The report is intended to assess not only the quality and extent of work the City has done, but its overall impact.
Clean Energy Group;
This report, which describes how states can use energy efficiency funds to provide incentives for energy storage, is a publication of Clean energy group (CEG), with appendices containing several white papers prepared by the applied economics Clinic under contract to CEG. This report explains the steps Massachusetts took to become the first state to integrate energy storage technologies into its energy efficiency plan, including actions to 1) expand the goals and definition of energy efficiency to include peak demand reduction, and 2) show that customer-sited battery storage can pass the required cost-effectiveness test. The report summarizes the economics of battery cost/benefit calculations, examines key elements of incentive design, and shows how battery storage would have been found to be even more cost-effective had the non-energy benefits of batteries been included in the calculations. The report also introduces seven non-energy benefits of batteries, and for the first time, assigns values to them. Finally, the report provides recommendations to other states for how to incentivize energy storage within their own energy efficiency plans. Four appendices provide detailed economics analysis, along with recommendations to Massachusetts on improving its demand reduction incentive program in future iterations of the energy efficiency plan.
Attuned Education Partners;
In 2017, fifty-six percent of the principals hired statewide were new to the job, with high-poverty schools most likely to hire novice principals. During 2018 and 2019, a working group of district and charter school leaders and other education stakeholders from across the state met to explore ways to increase the effectiveness of principals leading Massachusetts schools. The Barr Foundation engaged Attuned Education Partners to facilitate this group and lead implementation of the learning agendas developed by its members. Together, they prioritized key challenges and identified solutions that research suggests are most likely to strengthen principalship and drive better outcomes for students—especially the students of color and English learners that the state is currently serving least well. This report presents their findings and insights—including recommended actions tailored to state policymakers, school system leaders, principal preparation program providers, and funders. It also offers a collection of case studies demonstrating potential solutions in action.
Attuned Education Partners;
During 2018 and 2019, a working group of district and charter school leaders and other education stakeholders from urban and rural locations across the state met to explore ways to increase the effectiveness of principals leading Massachusetts schools. The Barr Foundation engaged Attuned Education Partners to facilitate this group and lead implementation of the learning agendas developed by its members. Together, they prioritized key challenges and identified solutions that research suggests are most likely to strengthen principalship and drive better outcomes for students—especially the students of color and English learners that the state is currently serving least well. This summary highlights their findings and insights. See the full report for more on the challenges and solutions—plus case studies and recommended action steps for state policymakers, school system leaders, principal preparation program providers, and funders.
In the summer of 2018, the Barr Foundation contracted with the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) to conduct a scan of highlights of climate resilience activities in the greater Boston area and to identify opportunities for ramping up those activities in coming years. The CBI team reviewed relevant technical reports and interviewed 36 individuals who work climate resilience.The ideas described in this document are the research team's synthesis of the broad knowledge about resilience activities today from the expertise of those with whom the team spoke and corresponded. The team would like to thank all of them for their insights and wisdom.
Massachusetts Climate Action Network;
The transition to clean electricity is an urgent priority for Massachusetts, but not all electricity customers have had the opportunity to contribute to this effect. 14% of the electricity used in the Commonwealth is provided by Municipal Light Plants (MLPs) that are not keeping pace with the investor-owned utilities held to the State's clean energy policies and goals. The Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN) is working to change that.Until now, there has never been a centralized survey, data collection, or ranking of Massachusetts MLPs on climate solutions. As a supporter of municipal leadership on climate action and local decision-making, MCAN set out to explore the potential of Municipal Light Plants (MLPs), public electricity providers owned and controlled by municipalities, to lead the way on climate action. This report provides the first comprehensive examination of how MLPs are addressing clean energy.
US Green Building Council;
In May of 2018, USGBC MA, in partnership with Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, held a Zero Net Energy Municipal Summit at Roxbury Community College during which we asked participants: What are the barriers to building ZE buildings? The number one cited obstacle was cost, followed by regulations. This report seeks to understand whether the notion that additional first costs for ZE buildings is an outdated perception or a reality, and to identify policy and regulatory changes to make building ZE the standard.This report highlights only a sampling of the work done by the amazing practitioners we have here in the Commonwealth, practitioners who work each day toward zero energy buildings. With the combined efforts of our building industry professionals, the researchers at our great colleges and universities, our citizen advocates, our elected leaders, our state agencies, and the innovative businesses in Massachusetts, we will transform the way we build. Massachusetts is already a national leader and is uniquely positioned to take the next step and show the world how ZE buildings can reduce carbon emissions all while having a thriving economy.
National Center for Healthy Housing, Inc.;
The Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF) of Massachusetts healthcare reform legislation (Section 60 of Chapter 224of the Acts of 2012) seeks to "reduce health care costs by preventing chronic conditions." It is designed to address four priority chronic conditions including pediatric asthma. The pediatric asthma program activities include Care Management for High-Risk Asthma Patients; Home-Based Multi-Trigger, Multi-Component Intervention (minimum of three home visits, asthma self-management and education, trigger remediation supplies, environmental services); Comprehensive SchoolBased Asthma Management Programs; Comprehensive Head Start-Based Asthma Management Programs; and Asthma Self-Management in Primary Care. In 2014, nine communities have been funded to be PWTF sites: Six offer pediatric asthma interventions, and five have initiated home-based asthma visits.