Home » News » Turning Up the Heat: 2019 Dukakis Center Fall Conference


Turning Up the Heat: 2019 Dukakis Center Fall Conference


Climate change and social justice are inextricably linked. But climate resilience is rarely stated as a top priority by diverse, urban communities facing a multitude of social issues. On Friday, October 18, the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy brought together Northeastern faculty, local experts, and community activists to tackle how resilience planning can bridge the gap between climate change and social justice. Turning Up the Heat: Climate Resilience and Community Engagement stimulated discussions on community planning, transportation, infrastructure development, health and wellness, and more with the goal of preparing a climate ready, just society.


Community members and students from a variety of disciplines and sectors attended the event at Northeastern University. Each panel focused on different ways to approach climate change and social justice. David Queeley, Director of Eco-Innovation at the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, explained how urban heat islands exacerbate the need for safe, affordable housing and intentional urban development. Alicia Sasser Modestino, Associate Professor of Urban Affairs and Economics and Associate Director of the Dukakis Center, looked at summer youth employment opportunities as a mechanism for community engagement. Tom O’Shea, Director of Coastal and Natural Resources at the Trustees of Reservation, discussed the dire state of sea level rise and different adaptation strategies. 


“Resilience is a multidisciplinary initiative,” said Dr. Ted Landsmark, Director of the Dukakis Center. “It was inspiring to see so many diverse experts embody the power of resilience, coming together under the common mission of mobilizing community engagement and addressing climate change within the lens of social justice.”


Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu emphasized just how necessary transformation is in fostering community resilience in her keynote speech. According to Councilor Wu, there is still time to effectively address climate change at the public sector level. However, lack of trust in government is a huge obstacle that needs to be remedied by advocacy movements. These movements have to come from the ground up, engaging grassroots tactics that empower and mobilize communities. Wu concluded that transformed systems should center around resilience and equity.


A resounding lesson rang throughout 2019’s fall conference: that people and their communities should have the right to control and advocate for their future. The climate emergency can be used to advance social justice, and social justice can be used to advance climate change initiatives.


Dr. Ted Landsmark frames this lesson well: resilience is about infrastructure and how we maintain a sense of hope and optimism about everything we do.


It’s the key element in maintaining and advancing a civil society.


Speaker Agenda and Presentations

Welcome: 8:45 a.m
Ted Landsmark, Director, Northeastern University Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy

Panel 1: 9:00 – 9:50 a.m.
Jennie C. Stephens, Director, Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Rich McGuinness, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Hajar Logan, ACE Environmental Justice
David Queeley, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation
John Wihbey, Northeastern University School of Journalism

Panel 2: 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
Joan Fitzgerald, Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Karen Mauney-Brodek, Emerald Necklace Conservancy
Alicia Sasser Modestino, Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Rebecca Herst, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Jen Stevenson, Climable
David Corbie, Greenovate Boston Outreach Manager, City of Boston

Panel 3: 11:00 – 11:50 a.m.
Amy Longsworth, Boston Green Ribbon Commission
Brian Helmuth, Northeastern University College of Science, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Alice Brown, Boston Harbor Now
Robin White, Global Resilience Institute, Northeastern University
Tom O’Shea, Trustees of Reservations

Keynote: 12:15 p.m.
Remarks from Uta Poiger, Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Michelle Wu, Boston City Council

Concluding Remarks: 1:00 p.m.
Sandy Bagley, MassEnergy
Lori Nelson, City of Boston Resilience Chief
Ted Landsmark, Director, Northeastern University Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy


If you missed the conference, you can watch a recorded version here. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to watch the video. You can also check out and download the conference’s photos here.



Published On: October 22, 2019 |
Facebook Twitter Google Print Friendly and PDF