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:

  1. Identify current and future vulnerable populations.
  2. Conduct targeted outreach with vulnerable populations to understand their needs and how the City can best assist them in preparing to meet those needs.
  3. Assess City infrastructure and prioritize support for properties that provide services to vulnerable populations to ensure they are accessible.
  4. Establish a protocol for providing assistance to populations that may face financial strain caused by climate hazards, such as higher utility bills, and identify funding sources to support those populations.
  5. Investigate building improvement programs that would reduce energy consumption through added insulation, air sealing, passive energy systems, and higher efficiency equipment.
  6. To buffer low-income residents from fuel price spikes, support alternative transportation modes such as transit, biking, and walking. Support renewable energy sources to provide resilience to energy price spikes.
  7. Adopt an environmental justice ordinance, building on the work of Environmental Justice Evanston and the Equity and Empowerment Commission.

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

Related Organizations:

  • City of Evanston, Illinois


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan

States Affected:


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