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LA Green Zones Program: Groundtruthing

2018

The Los Angeles County, California, Department of Regional Planning (DRP) developed the Green Zones Program in 2015, to attain equitable development for the next 20 years, and to help update the Los Angeles County General Plan. Centering on environmental justice and community engagement, the program aimed to ensure that residents of all income levels can enjoy the development of the County under the changing climate and severe heat. The program addressed the contamination problems in the unincorporated communities, and also secured affordable housing to avoid displacement of the existing residents due to development. The Green Zones Program Framework contained four elements: land use policy, community engagement, environmental justice screening map, and prevention and mitigation. "Groundtruthing" was the main procedural tool utilized by the program to collect and study the potential environmental hazards information in the communities. It emphasized the importance of collaboration with community members and community-based organizations. Groundtruthing was not a one-time event, but a continuing effort between the government and the local communities. 

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Making Public Participation Legal

October 2013

A publication of the National Civic League, this report offers legal frameworks and tools for state and local governments to use in order to enhance public participation within their communities. The paper presents the argument that the vast majority of public meetings are run with little citizen input, interaction, or deliberation. It includes model ordinances such as “A Model Municipal Public Participation at the Local Level,” “A Model State Public Participation,” and “A Model City Charter Language for Citizen Advisory Bodies.” These tools can be used to increase the scope and duration of public participation, garnering a greater range of collaboration and insight.

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Citizen Science: Mapping Urban Heat Islands in Richmond, Virginia

The urban heat island mapping project in Richmond, Virginia is a collaborative project that brings community members together to collect temperature variation data in order to design community-scale adaptation plans. Richmond is a highly populated city that has encountered increased urban heat island effect in recent years. While current technology such as satellites can provide city-scale urban heat data, a more detailed, block-by-block examination of temperature variation in each community has to be studied to understand which communities are most vulnerable to the extreme heat. "Citizen-scientists" were gathered to help measure temperatures in their own city, and related human activities or land use. The citizen-scientists included students from the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University; the Virginia Academy of Science; the City of Richmond’s Sustainability Office; and Groundwork RVA, a nonprofit focused on empowering local young people in the communities.  

Resource Category: Monitoring and Reporting

 

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Community Heat Relief Plan

July 2019

The City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania addresses extreme heat and social disparities in its Beat the Heat Hunting Park Community Heat Relief Plan. The plan provides a roadmap of how to conduct an inclusive climate planning process through a community-based approach to combat urban heat emergencies. Beat the Heat was released in July 2019 by Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability (OOS), in response to increased heat being identified as one of the main climate change threats in the city. OOS found that communities, where low-income residents and residents of color reside, are also most vulnerable to the heat. To cope with the heat disparities, OOS initiated the Beat the Heat pilot project in Hunting Park, which was identified as the most heat vulnerable neighborhood. The purpose of the project is to learn the causes of heat disparities and utilize a community-driven decision-making process to generate possible solutions for staying cool in the future. The plan is a collaborative work effort of city agencies, Hunting park organizations, residents, and community groups. Through the community engagement process, three priority areas were identified: 1. Staying cool and safe at home, 2. Staying cool and safe in public spaces, and 3. Greening and tree planting. The plan also provides a step-by-step Beat the Heat Toolkit for other urban communities to reduce social inequities and build climate resiliency.   



Resource Category: Planning

 

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Chicago Participatory Budgeting Project and Rulebook

In 2009, the Chicago 49th Ward Alderman, Joe Moore launched the first participatory budgeting process in the United States in the City of Chicago, Illinois. When participatory budgeting was first introduced in the City, Alderman Moore used the process to engage with his constituents regarding how the community would spend its $1.3 million in discretionary capital funds. Since this initial introduction, the participatory budgeting process in Chicago has proved a rousing success. In 2012, the Great Cities Institute partnered with the Participatory Budgeting Project and community-leaders from the area to launch PB Chicago to spread the budgeting process throughout the city. PB Chicago has now engaged with over 13,000 residents in 12 different communities, allocating over $18 million in funding to community-chosen projects varying from tree planting to establishing bike lanes. By focusing a majority of their outreach on marginalized and underserved communities, PB Chicago ensures not only that policymakers and city officials hear these residents’ voices, but that these same voices have the opportunity to effectuate change within their own communities as well. 

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Well Farm Stormwater Management Project - Peoria, Illinois

May 2018

 

 

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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New York City Participatory Budgeting and Rulebook

2011

In 2011, four New York City Council Members partnered with several community-based organizations and launched a Participatory Budgeting process to allow residents to vote to allocate a portion of the council’s capital discretionary funds. The Participatory Budgeting New York City (PBNYC) process involved the city allocating funds to finance physical infrastructure projects, such as schools, parks, and public housing that benefit the public, that cost at least $50,000 and have a lifespan of at least five years. Residents were able to visit the website to review eligible projects and then submit an idea for consideration. The process gave residents the opportunity to vote during a nine-day Vote week for the city’s fiscal budget and implemented by city agencies. PBNYC is one of the largest and the fastest-growing participatory budgeting process in the United States which also ensures that low-income people and people of color can participate in the process. Currently, the majority of participants, around 57%, are identified as people of color. 

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Minneapolis Resolution Establishing "Green Zones"

April 28, 2017

On April 28 2017, the Minneapolis City Council approved a final Resolution establishing a Green Zones policy to facilitate community-led planning in socioeconomically vulnerable neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Minnesota with the goal of prioritizing city initiatives to combat a range of resiliency challenges. Within Green Zones pilot areas, city officials will work with the community to develop work plans, focused on specific neighborhoods, that will be designed to prioritize initiatives and link city policies on economic development, gentrification, racial equity, and climate resiliency, to achieve an equitable distribution of resources.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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