San Antonio Tomorrow - City of San Antonio, Texas Sustainability Plan

The Sustainability Plan for San Antonio, Texas (SA Tomorrow) addresses the three pillars of sustainability - economic, environmental, and social -  and offers a roadmap for both the community and the municipal government to achieving sustainability in San Antonio. SA Tomorrow includes seven “Focus Areas” that were assessed for current conditions and vulnerabilities: Energy, Food System, Green Buildings and Infrastructure, Land Use and Transportation, Natural Resources, Public Health, and Solid Waste Resources. Each focus area includes highlights on the current state of the focus area and the outcomes, strategies, and targets for the measures of success identified through this process. The report describes San Antonio’s sustainability planning process to date, which includes a focus on climate change through a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, a climate trends and projections analysis, and a climate change vulnerability assessment.

Results of the vulnerability assessment include: relative climate and weather related vulnerability rankings for Key Areas of Concern, detailed descriptions of those rankings, and a list of strategies that could be used to address these vulnerabilities. The final Climate Vulnerability Assessment can be found in the Appendix section of this Plan.

Social equity is identified as one of the cross-cutting themes featured in San Antonio’s sustainability plan and is used to evaluate all of the strategies presented in the plan to help prioritize them. Some of the strategies that scored well on social equity include piloting a program to include urban agricultural uses on vacant land, reviewing the effectiveness of cooling centers and other high heat day strategies within underserved areas, and increasing and expanding the number of parks, especially within underserved areas.


Five cross cutting themes were identified that address high priority issues for the city - including Air Quality, Economic Vitality, Equity, Resilience and Water Resources. These priorities create the framework by which every identified strategy was evaluated to ensure that they are considered through prioritization, implementation, and future re-evaluation. 

Many goals and strategies throughout the plan are also climate change adaptation opportunities. For example, the Green Buildings and Infrastructure Focus Area anticipated Outcomes include that:

  • Water quality is improved due to the implementation of stormwater best management practices throughout the city, particularly within the San Antonio River watershed.
  • San Antonio demonstrably reduces the impact of urban heat island effect.
  • Existing buildings are retrofitted and new buildings are designed to be resilient to projected changes in climate.

The Public Health Focus Area incorporates the Social Vulnerability Index (from SoViand Urban Heat Island assessments.  One of the projected Outcomes for this area is that “San Antonians are prepared for changes in climate and weather.” Climate strategies described for this Outcome are to:

  • Pilot a “Resilient Neighborhoods” program, including identifying “block captains” focused on enhancing the safety of all community members during and after an extreme event or disaster.
  • Develop a communications program for areas at high risk of vector borne health issues due to flooding.

Adaptation strategies for the Natural Resources focus area addresses urban heat islands:

  • Through a representative stakeholder process, conduct a science-based assessment of the impact of increased impervious cover and determine if development standards are needed to address flooding, water quality, and urban heat islands.
  • Develop a Street Tree Strategic Plan focused on high urban heat island areas with high pedestrian activity.

 

 

 

Publication Date: August 11, 2016

Related Organizations:

  • City of San Antonio, Texas

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  • Plans (other)

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