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Adapting to Urban Heat: A Tool Kit for Local Governments

August 2012

This tool kit is designed to help local governments reduce the effects of increased heat on their communities and citizens. It provides an analytic tool for policy makers to consider a combination of four built-environment changes (cool roofs, green roofs, cool pavements, and urban forestry), providing clear criteria for selecting among these approaches. 

Related Organizations: Harrison Institute, Georgetown Climate Center

Author or Affiliated User: Sara Hoverter

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Community Land Trust Brussels, Belgium

December 7, 2020

The Brussels Community Land Trust (CLTB) focuses on providing affordable housing for the most at-risk populations in the capital region of Belgium, such as low-income workers, immigrants, single mothers, seniors and people with disabilities. CLTB focuses on developing multi-family apartment buildings; it has constructed three projects with 48 units and has seven other projects under construction or study that would deliver more than 120 units. It is building highly energy efficient “net zero” housing developments that conform to sustainability requirements established by the Brussels-Capital Region. Several CLTB projects are also incorporating other green design features, such as green roofs, public gardens, and other community spaces to enhance both the environmental and social benefits of the project. It is exploring opportunities to build local energy cooperatives, to leverage incentives to build housing powered by renewable energy sources, and to shift development patterns to enhance access to transit and shift mobility patterns to emphasize biking and walking. CLTB is also working to develop “social economy hubs” in its projects to provide business incubation opportunities for the neighborhood and to support local job creation. For example, one of their development sites had old warehouses and rather than tear those buildings down immediately, CLTB worked with residents to organize temporary uses on the site including pop-up restaurants, cooking classes, and incubation of a catering business.

Author or Affiliated User: Jessica Grannis

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Bristol Community Land Trust, United Kingdom

December 6, 2020

The Bristol Community Land Trust (Bristol CLT) operating in the City of Bristol, in the United Kingdom, presents an example of a CLT that is benefiting from low-cost transfer of city-owned surplus land and delivering sustainable, resilient, affordable housing options for lower-income residents. Bristol CLT is building shared-equity and affordable rental units that meet the highest standards of energy efficiency and incorporate renewable energy with back-up batteries, air-source heat pumps, shared green space, “car share,” and other environmental and social amenities. The city adopted a policy in 2020 that will help the CLT develop affordable housing by recognizing the social, environmental, and economic benefits delivered by a project as part of the “consideration” it receives in exchange for the transfer of the land. This policy will better enable Bristol CLT to access low-cost land by rewarding the unique values of CLT-housing, including engaging residents, building social cohesion, and delivering permanently affordable housing. It also demonstrates how cities can change policies related to how they dispose of surplus lands to facilitate transfers to community-led organizations that will redevelop these properties for publicly beneficial uses, like affordable housing.

Author or Affiliated User: Jessica Grannis

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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FEMA Guides to Expanding Mitigation

September 2020

FEMA’s Guides to Expanding Mitigation are part of a series designed to highlight how emerging partnerships connecting communities to public and private actors in key sectors can support more effective hazard mitigation projects and planning. The guides cover a range of sectors and topics, including equity, transportation, electric power, municipal financing, public health, agriculture, and arts and culture. This project supports FEMA’s goal of building a culture of preparedness as part of the agency’s strategic plan.

Related Organizations: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Building a Just Climate Future for North Carolina

September 2020

Developed by the Center for American Progress, the report Building a Just Climate Future for North Carolina (report) provides state leadership in North Carolina with strategies to address the pressing public health and safety threats that stem from climate change. The authors recommend six actions for policymakers to take that -- alongside actions laid out in the state’s executive order (EO) 80 and EO 143, the state’s Clean Energy Plan, and Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan -- they argue will help the state address climate change while advancing conomic, racial, and environmental justice.

Related Organizations: Center for American Progress

Authors or Affiliated Users: Cathleen Kelly, Rita Cliffton

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Louisiana Land Trust Resettlement Projects

In Louisiana, a state-created land trust is supporting floodplain buyouts and helping families relocate out of vulnerable flood-prone areas. The Louisiana Land Trust (LLT) was created in 2005 to support buyouts after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. After more recent flood events, LLT expanded its role to help communities relocate to safer, higher ground areas. The land trust is helping to facilitate the resettlement of residents of the Pecan Acres subdivision in Pointe Coupee Parish and the Isle de Jean Charles community in Terrebonne Parish. The Pecan Acres subdivision is located in a lower-income neighborhood north of the City of New Roads, and has experienced repeated flooding 17 times over the past 20 years. LLT is working to help resettle approximately 40 households within the subdivision by acquiring their flood-prone properties, and supporting a development on higher ground where they can relocate. Isle de Jean Charles is a narrow island in South Terrebonne parish and is the home of the Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha Confederation of Muskogees and United Houma Nation tribes. The island has lost 98% of its land mass since 1955 and many residents have left as a result of increasing flooding, where encroaching seas often flood the only roadway connecting the island to the mainland. With funding from the National Disaster Resilience Competition, the state is working to support implementation of a tribal resettlement plan. LLT acquired the resettlement site, about 40 miles north of the island that will be redeveloped. Eligible and participating families and individuals will be offered properties on the site with a five-year forgivable mortgage. Both the Pecan Acres and Isle de Jean Charles resettlement developments will incorporate resilient and green design features (including elevation about FEMA minimum standards, LEED certified construction, green infrastructure, and community amenities like parks) and will enable the residents to relocate together, maintaining social bonds and cohesion. This example demonstrates how land trusts can support efforts to relocate whole communities, and support development of sustainable and resilient receiving communities.

Related Organizations: Louisiana Office of Community Development - Disaster Recovery Unit (OCD-DRU) , Louisiana Land Trust

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Georgetown Climate Center Managed Retreat Toolkit

July 15, 2020

Managed retreat, or the voluntary movement and transition of people and ecosystems away from vulnerable coastal areas, is increasingly becoming part of the conversation as coastal states and communities face difficult questions on how best to protect people, development, infrastructure, and coastal ecosystems from sea-level rise, flooding, and land loss. Georgetown Climate Center’s new Managed Retreat Toolkit combines legal and policy tools, best and emerging practices, and case studies to support peer learning and decisionmaking around managed retreat and climate adaptation. 

Related Organizations: Georgetown Climate Center

Authors or Affiliated Users: Georgetown Climate Center, Katie Spidalieri, Annie Bennett

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Boston, Massachusetts

The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) in the Dudley Triangle neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts is one of the first examples of a city-land trust partnership designed to address a range of community challenges including housing affordability, and racial and economic inequality. In the 1980s, DSNI created the community land trust, Dudley Neighbors, Inc. (DNI) to combat blight in the Dudley Triangle neighborhood, which as a result of disinvestment had numerous vacant properties and became a frequent site for dumping and arson. The goal of the land trust was to facilitate redevelopment of the neighborhood without displacing existing residents and to empower community control over future development. DNI acquired 60 acres of land and currently stewards 225 units of affordable housing, an urban farm, a greenhouse, a charter school, parks, and a town common.  The DSNI is also notable because of the unique partnership with the City of Boston. The City granted the land trust eminent domain authority to condemn lands in the Dudley Triangle neighborhood and provided the land trust significant financial resources to support the development of affordable housing and other community projects in the neighborhood. DSNI’s work has helped to enhance the resilience of the community by preventing displacement in the face of rapid gentrification in the city, enhancing food security for residents, creating and stewarding green space that help to reduce urban heat islands, and by increasing social cohesion in the neighborhood through community activities and a community-led governing Board. DSNI shows how innovative public-partnerships between land trusts and cities can be fostered to address climate resilience and other community stressors, such as the lack of affordable housing, blight, and disinvestment.

Author or Affiliated User: Jessica Grannis

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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New York State Resilient NY Flood Mitigation Studies, Buyouts, and Floodplain Restoration Projects

2018

Multiple serious flood events, hurricanes, and storms have prompted New York State’s (NYS) Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to develop a range of mitigation and adaptation initiatives to address future flood hazards and improve community resilience. The state is completing a series of Flood and Ice Jam Mitigation Studies within 48 high-priority watersheds across New York State - as a part of an initiative called Resilient NY - to identify the causes of flooding and ice jams and to evaluate priority mitigation projects, like buyouts, to reduce risks. New York’s example is noteworthy for selecting buyouts as part of a comprehensive flood-risk mitigation analysis as a result of Flood and Ice Jam Mitigation Studies, compared to other buyout programs that utilize standalone eligibility criteria based on existing floodplain maps (e.g., a property is eligible for buyouts based on flood zones). Where buyouts are identified as a priority option to mitigate future flood risk, DEC can work with local governments through a unique partnership to remove structures from vulnerable areas and restore floodplains. Specifically, the state can oversee and provide support for locally led and administered buyout programs that can be applied across the state’s watersheds. This data-driven, state-local approach to buyouts can serve as a model for other jurisdictions considering buyouts and floodplain restoration as managed retreat strategies at the community level that would benefit from statewide consistency, assistance, and resources.

Related Organizations: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — Woodbridge Township, New Jersey: Post-Hurricane Sandy Buyouts

July 15, 2020

Woodbridge Township, New Jersey is working with the New Jersey Blue Acres Program to implement a neighborhood-wide buyout that can serve as an example for other jurisdictions considering larger-scale retreat from coastal areas. Following significant damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Woodbridge applied to participate in the New Jersey Blue Acres Buyout Program. With the support of the state, local elected officials in Woodbridge, including the mayor, committed to a community-based approach and prioritized flood mitigation and future safety and emergency management benefits over potential tax base losses if residents relocated outside of the township. As a result of this approach and an extensive community engagement process, nearly 200 property owners accepted a buyout offer. Once structures are demolished, the township is restoring bought-out land to create a natural flood buffer. The township established an Open Space Conservation/Resiliency Zone to institutionalize protections for this area by prohibiting new development and discouraging redevelopment. Woodbridge’s example demonstrates how comprehensive, community-based approaches to buyouts can maximize long-term benefits for communities and the environment. Other local governments can consider partnering with their states and residents, among others, to use buyouts as a retreat strategy to make communities more resilient. This case study is one of 17 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas: Lessons and Tools from 17 Case Studies.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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