Evanston, Illinois Climate Action and Resilience Plan
The City of Evanston, Illinois’ climate plan envisions that by 2030, Evanston will meet 100% of electricity needs from renewable energy, and by 2050 become “a climate ready and resilient city that has successfully prioritized the needs of its most vulnerable while combating climate change.” Evanston is a Great Lakes city, exposed to climate impacts such as increasingly intense storms, invasive species, hotter temperatures, drought conditions, human migration, and water quality impacts. The plan includes strategic actions for both climate mitigation and resilience, as well as social equity and green infrastructure solutions.
Specifically, the Climate Resilience portion of the plan includes the following Focus Areas:
- Green Infrastructure
- Health Impacts of Extreme Heat
- Resilience Regulations
- Community Networks and Education
- Emergency Preparedness and Management
- Vulnerable Populations
The Actions defined for Green Infrastructure address flooding impacts in extreme events such as ending combined sewer overflows, and managing stormwater with flow, detention and infiltration strategies. Along with needing an improved comprehensive plan for stormwater management, developing a program to provide incentives to property owners for stormwater management is suggested.
Extreme heat is a concern for Evanston, particularly for vulnerable populations. Some of the Actions outlined for extreme heat impacts include establishing cooling centers, planting shade trees, and providing guidance on best practices for the public on extreme heat and increased exposure to ground level ozone during heat events.
This plan employs an “equity-centered lens” that has been approved by City Council and implemented by the Office of Equity and Empowerment. Addressing the needs of Vulnerable Populations is a matter of environmental and climate justice in Evanston.
The Actions for climate equity as formulated in the plan include to:
New construction and renovations can be climate adaptive through Resilience Regulations such as through building codes, zoning ordinances, minimum parking requirements, landscaping regulations, and more. The plan includes recommendations to create provisions for locating mechanical and electrical equipment in above-ground building areas; and to revise or implement building codes that reduce threats to vulnerable wildlife species, particularly birds (migratory and local) - among others.
Community Networks and Education programs are to increase awareness about the impacts of climate change, develop messages that inspire action and emphasize the need for household and neighborhood preparation. Climate resilience can be improved through bringing education to public events - such as street fairs and farmers’ markets for example.
Emergency Preparedness and Management Actions include the need to develop a community resilience plans to prepare for extreme weather events, and to improve the resilience of emergency response and communications systems. The City emergency plans will be updated with specific climate change-related emergency materials; and a debris management plan for responding to severe storm events and flooding is advised.
Publication Date: December 11, 2018
- City of Evanston, Illinois
- Adaptation plan