Iowa City Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

Iowa City’s Climate Action Plan identifies strategies for city-wide greenhouse gas reductions, and climate change adaptation. The plan summarizes what Iowa City government has done in recent years to build climate resilience and to convert to renewable energy, and outlines 35 actions to be taken by the community and City to achieve the goal of reducing GHG emissions by 80% by 2050. The report provides general information about past and projected climate change effects on the region, and presents strategies to adapt to these impacts while incorporating social equity. 

The plan’s actions are organized into categories of: Buildings, Transportation, and Waste  to address climate mitigation; as well as Adaptation, and Sustainable Lifestyle. The Adaptation Actions are to:

  • Conduct a vulnerable populations asset mapping exercise
  • Develop a communications and outreach plan for vulnerable populations
  • Analyze climate-related public health impacts in Iowa City
  • Coordinate extreme weather preparedness planning with local agencies
  • Assess Citywide and neighborhood stormwater management
  • Expand Iowa City’s tree canopy

In the beginning of each focal planning area section, there is a short list of “Equity Considerations” to address during the ongoing implementation of each action within. One of the considerations in the Adaptation section is: “Some populations, including aging adults, children, persons with disabilities, economically stressed, non-English speakers, and homeless persons, may be particularly vulnerable to impacts of emergencies, health impacts and natural disasters and could fall through gaps in access to information, services, and resources.”

Most of the Adaptation Actions within the plan focus on social equity for vulnerable populations in Iowa City. One of the primary short-term strategies is to “identify lead partners and work to ‘map’ the civic infrastructure or ‘community-based assets’ specific to vulnerable populations and/or the outlined vulnerability factors.” The intent is to initially document the assets that support other adaptation actions, such as the development of the communications and outreach plan.

Iowa City intends to focus on emergency preparedness for extreme weather events and other impacts, while making homes and businesses less prone to flooding, and in general, more resilient. The city has already begun implementing adaptive measures for extreme flooding events. Floodplain regulations have been amended to require new and substantially improved structures to be elevated or flood-proofed to 1 foot above the 500-year flood elevation. The Iowa City Gateway project included the elevation of the city’s main arterial street to 1 foot over the 100-year flood elevation, and the Park Road Bridge to 1 foot above the 200-year flood elevation.



Publication Date: September 18, 2018

Related Organizations:

  • Iowa City, Iowa


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan
  • Plans (other)

States Affected:


  • Air temperature
  • Flooding
  • Precipitation changes
  • Socioeconomic

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