Science Topics Background Info

Sea level rise

As temperatures increase, the sea level will increase due to melting glaciers and thermal expansion of water. Every inch of sea level rise would cover approximately 50-100 inches of beach. As Boston is a coastal city built on fill, many areas are at sea level and susceptible to sea level rise. Check out this visualization from NOAA to see how sea level rise will affect Boston. Notable areas of vulnerability include Seaport, East Boston, Back Bay, South End, Fenway, and Lower Allston.

Urban heat island effect

Heat islands are urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than other areas. Man-made structures such as buildings and roads magnify heat more than natural landscapes. Urban areas are typically several degrees warmer than greener, less developed areas. In Boston, the urban heat island effect disproportionately impacts certain neighborhoods. This visualization is a series of temperature maps showing which areas of Boston are heating up more quickly and staying hot throughout the night. Research from Northeastern University and the Museum of Science shows that the presence of neighborhood trees is correlated with lower air temperatures and shows the importance of urban trees in mitigating the impact of the urban heat island effect.

Science education (STEM)

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education is really important to help ensure children can grow up to be prepared to enter a technologically advanced workforce. Not only does STEM education have the ability to inspire students in science, but the study of STEM disciplines can help improve critical thinking. STEM education is extremely important in our modern world, but many students are not graduating from high school with the STEM education they need to pursue STEM careers or understand STEM-related issues at work or as a citizen. There is a need to expand STEM education beyond the classroom, and integrate STEM education with other activities and accessible experiences.


The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the gaps in healthcare access and coverage within Boston. With some of the top hospital systems in the world, Healthcare should be accessible to all Bostonians, especially vulnerable groups. The pandemic has also illuminated the need for greater mental health resources that address the needs of Boston’s unique and diverse population.

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