Equitable Adaptation Legal and Policy Toolkit - Georgetown Climate Center

The impacts of climate change disproportionately affect overburdened and low-income individuals and communities of color that already face significant economic and social challenges. The cumulative impacts of pollution, racism, and political and economic disenfranchisement make it difficult for these communities to withstand and recover from extreme heat, flooding, and other climate impacts. To help communities address the challenges of climate resilience and social inequality, the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) partnered with leading experts and practitioners to develop the Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit, a comprehensive online resource to help state and local governments work with communities on climate adaptation solutions that put frontline communities first. The toolkit features promising practices and substantive policy solutions for achieving equitable outcomes through city resilience initiatives and that can provide replicable examples for an array of communities and community-based organizations.

The Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit features best emerging practices, legal and policy tools, and more than 100 case studies from across the country centered on equitable adaptation solutions. The toolkit first explores fundamental concepts of procedural equity, including community-driven engagement, governance and budgeting, and data, metrics, and monitoring tools. The toolkit then provides in-depth exploration of eight specific subjects to help guide community-driven planning processes and implementation of solutions that are designed to achieve more equitable outcomes:

  • Economic Resilience;
  • Resilient Affordable Housing, Anti-Displacement & Gentrification;
  • Natural Resilience & Green Space;
  • Resilient Energy and Utility Industry Measures;
  • Resilient Water;
  • Equitable Disaster Preparedness, Response & Recovery;
  • Public Health; and
  • Funding & Financing Tools: Paying for Equitable Adaptation.

The chapters included explore promising practices and feature case studies and substantive policy solutions for achieving equitable outcomes in these subject matter areas. Although there is no “one size fits all” approach for ensuring equity in community resilience policies and programs, each chapter also includes Considerations and Lessons Learned that are informed by communities and states that have implemented different approaches, in order to help decisionmakers and practitioners tailor approaches to their specific jurisdictions, legal contexts, and needs.

GCC developed the toolkit between 2018 and 2020 through a collaborative process that was informed by an advisory group made up of representatives from community-based organizations, cities, and subject-matter experts in the areas of housing, public health, finance, community engagement, water, and energy; representatives from community-based organizations leading adaptation efforts in their own communities; and members of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN). As a web-based resource, the toolkit will be dynamically updated to keep pace with new developments and remain easily accessible.

Publication Date: July 29, 2020

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Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Case study
  • Legal Analysis
  • Policy analysis/recommendations
  • Tool (general)

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