Green Cincinnati Plan

The Green Cincinnati Plan is a roadmap to build “a more sustainable, equitable, resilient future” for the City of Cincinnati, Ohio. The plan outlines 80 climate mitigation strategies to reduce carbon emissions in Cincinnati 80% by 2050. It also establishes broader goals and recommendations focused on climate change resilience, growing the city’s green economy, and improving conditions for frontline communities.

Strategies are outlined in the categories of Built Environment, Education and Outreach,  Energy, Food, Natural Systems, Resilience, Transportation Systems, and Waste.  All of the strategies in the report include a description of why the approach is important to Cincinnati, examples or case studies in peer cities, feasibility, cost estimates, target audience, timeline for implementation, greenhouse gas impact, and “Keys to Equity.”  The Resilience Recommendations discussed are to:

  1. Launch campaign to reduce childhood asthma rates in Cincinnati
  2. Develop multilingual communication network for disseminating risks and recommendations in the event of emergency
  3. Conduct a Neighborhood Vulnerability Assessment
  4. Climate Haven – Leverage climate resilience to attract new business and residents
  5. Encourage onsite stormwater retention and infiltration and discourage runoff by restructuring sewer and/or stormwater fee
  6. Conduct an Urban Heat Island Assessment
  7. Implement renewable backup power systems for areas of refuge and emergency facilities
  8. Educate the public to reduce harms from intense storms and heat waves
  9. Require occupied residential rental units to have one air-conditioned room
  10. Continue to develop and expand Metropolitan Sewer District's smart sewer SCADA system
  11. The City should develop an Environmental Justice program that identifies communities that are disproportionately burdened by pollution (and hazardous wastes), and acts to reduce or eliminate those burdens.

Each recommendation outlined in the report includes detail on how to make the strategy or implementation more socially equitable. For example, the “Keys to Equity” for conducting an Urban Heat Island Assessment are to:

  • Educate residents on how to fight effects of the urban heat island
  • Conduct assessment in areas that contain low income and disadvantaged populations
  • Provide incentives for residents to implement recommendations that come out of the assessment

And for a Campaign to reduce childhood asthma rates, to:

  • Target low income neighborhoods that have the highest rates of childhood asthma
  • Provide subsidies for medicine needed to treat symptoms
  • Address asthma triggers in low income homes
  • Plant trees in high asthma neighborhoods

The plan includes quantitative goals that address climate adaptation and social equity such as to:

  • Establish $1M in a Green Cincinnati Fund to advance sustainability initiatives
  • Increase city-wide tree canopy coverage to at least 40%, ensure all residential neighborhoods to 30% tree canopy coverage
  • 50% decrease in childhood asthma-related hospital admissions in target neighborhoods. Reduce disparities between neighborhoods
  • Have no increase in storm or heat related fatalities

A Neighborhood Vulnerability Assessment has been initiated by the Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability which will include tree canopy coverage, landslide threat, education level, and more, to establish priorities to improve resilience in each neighborhood.

The purpose of the Green Cincinnati Fund would be to support the implementation of this plan and to finance sustainability projects into the future. The goals for the Fund are to: assist in gap financing for sustainability initiatives and green building, support environmental education, and to enhance resilient natural systems. According to the report, the funds will be raised through regional partners including institutions, corporations, foundations and community members, and will be held separate from the municipal budget.

Strategies to increase Local Food Production describe revamping unused urban spaces such as vacant lots for urban agriculture. This creates an economic opportunity for property owners to sell or rent out their land that is not being used and for local food producers, utilize space in the city, and avoid having to pay to transport their produce to market. This green space offers climate benefits, while Cincinnati residents will benefit from the increased access to affordable healthy food.


Publication Date: April 2018

Related Organizations:

  • City of Cincinnati, Ohio


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan
  • Plans (other)

States Affected:


  • Air temperature
  • Precipitation changes
  • Socioeconomic

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