Resilient Atlanta - Actions to Build an Equitable Future

The City of Atlanta, Georgia released its comprehensive urban resilience strategy, "Resilient Atlanta: Actions to Build a More Equitable Future- which offers a set of visions, targets, and actions that address social equity and climate change adaptation. The strategy was developed to support the prevention of, and resilience to, extreme climate events such as major floods or heat waves, and long-term chronic stresses such as income inequality, lack of affordable housing, and the effects of climate change.

In 2016, Atlanta became a member of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities Initiative (100RC), which offers financing to hire a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) for Atlanta, to build and implement this resilience strategy. To develop the strategy, the CRO and her team led five working groups for key priority areas of: civic engagement and transparent governance, housing and neighborhood development, economic and social mobility, transit accessibility, and resilient infrastructure. With a commitment to inclusion, Atlanta was the first city in the 100RC network to use an open nomination process for residents to become members of the working groups. This facilitated open participation throughout the process, and ensured community voices were an integral part of strategy building. 

Metro Atlanta is comprised of 29 counties, currently 5.6 million people, and projected to grow to 8 million people by 2040. The city’s primary climate-related impacts on this highly urbanized environment include increasing drought risk, rainfall-driven flooding, and extreme heat - along with the compounding effects on aging infrastructure. 

The strategy identifies more than 55 short-term and long-term actions within four leading Visions for the city’s resilient future. Two of the visions address managing climate impacts by building the city’s climate resilience and sustainability:

Vision 3: Build Our Future City Today encompasses the preservation and expansion of the city’s natural infrastructure like green space and urban agriculture, as well as improving affordable housing, alternative transportation, and resilient infrastructure. To achieve this vision the plan recommends a range of actions, such as creating:

  • citywide housing resilience standards
  • policies and incentives that promote non-automobile transportation
  • a stormwater utility fee to fund stormwater management improvements, and
  • hosting a resilient infrastructure design competition.

Vision 4: Design Our Systems to Reflect Our Values aims to make Atlanta a leader in equity, sustainability, and resilience. Recommended actions include:

  • creating an Equity and Resilience Scorecard to evaluate projects, organizations, and neighborhoods; and
  • creating and implementing a strategy to meet the city’s 100% clean energy target (by 2025 for municipal operations and 2035 for citywide energy consumption) - among other actions.

The other focal visions for the City of Atlanta include:

Vision 1: Preserve and Celebrate Who We Are which aims to improve community cohesion, racial equity, culture, and a creative economy.

Vision 2: Enable all Metro Atlantans to Prosper which focuses on addressing income inequality by improving early childhood education and workforce development opportunities.

The plan aims to leverage over a dozen other city plans – most of which align with both Visions 3 and 4 from the resilience strategy, that relate to resilience and sustainability of the city’s natural and built infrastructure and communities. These include the City’s Green Infrastructure Strategic Action Plan (2016), Climate Action Plan (2015), and Project Greenspace (2009), among many others.

 

Publication Date: November 2, 2017

Related Organizations:

  • City of Atlanta, Georgia

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  • Plans (other)
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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