• Resources for Small Communities

Adaptation Strategies for Rural and Small Communities

This tab includes strategies, best practices, and legal and policy analysis relevant to adaptation efforts in rural and small communities.

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Rising to the Challenge Together

December 2017

This report presents an assessment of the state of the climate adaptation field and offers recommendations for enhancing adaptation practice to meet the climate challenges facing states and communities. The report explores what a "strong mature adaptation field" would look like and what would be needed to build it.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Susanne C. Moser, Joyce E. Coffee, LEED AP

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Greening Your Community through Cost-Effective LID

This series of five fact sheets explain Low Impact Development (LID), Green Infrastructure (GI), and sustainable design in order to help communities understand and adopt smart land use. This information describes how LID and GI not only help to manage stormwater and improve groundwater supplies, but also can reduce flooding, improve water quality, lower maintenance costs, and increase property values. MassAudubon suggests that preserving existing GI is a first line of defense against climate impacts such as increased storm intensities, while achieving long-term cost savings.

Resource Category: Education and Outreach

 

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Greauxing Resilience at Home — City of New Orleans, Louisiana: Gentilly Resilience District Projects

June 16, 2022

In 2015, the City of New Orleans released its Resilient New Orleans strategy outlining the city’s vision and plan for building a more equitable, adaptable, and prosperous New Orleans. The strategy outlines various recommendations, which all go towards one of three main goals: adapting to thrive, connecting to opportunity, and transforming city systems. One project featured in Resilient New Orleans is the Mirabeau Water Gardens project. Informed by the design and stormwater management features outlined in the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, the Mirabeau Water Gardens project, once completed, will serve as a recreational, environmentally friendly amenity for the community that also reduces flood risk. Specifically, a former convent will be converted into a public green space. This project is part of an overall plan to create the Gentilly Resilience District — a 12-project program designed to make a small neighborhood in New Orleans more resilient to the impacts of climate change and future disaster and flood events. Additional projects a part of the Gentilly Resilience District include the Pontilly Neighborhood Stormwater and the Blue and Green Corridors projects. Throughout the development of the plans and programs relating to the Gentilly Resilience District, local policymakers offered numerous opportunities for community input. Most of the projects not only increase community resilience, but also offer new spaces for the community to gather, educate residents on the benefits associated with green infrastructure, and incorporate safe walking and biking paths throughout the neighborhood. This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Greauxing Resilience at Home — St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana: Resilient Planning, Affordable Housing, Environmental, and Funding Initiatives

June 16, 2022

St. John the Baptist Parish is one of Louisiana’s oldest settled areas. The parish is water-adjacent and predominantly rural. Over the last decade, significant weather events have highlighted the flooding and other risks that come with proximity to both the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain, the latter of which borders the parish. The parish’s location in the path of New Orleans’s evacuation routes compounds the need to prepare for flooding and hurricane events. The parish has undertaken several initiatives to adopt development trends and patterns that will guide population growth in ways that make the parish and its communities more resilient to future rainfall and flooding risks. Namely, the parish developed a Comprehensive Land Use Plan in 2014 and a Coastal Zone Management Plan in 2016. Most recently in 2019, the parish partnered with the state and nonprofit philanthropy Foundation for Louisiana through the Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE) capital improvement process to create an Adaptation Strategy. Collectively, the plans offer a variety of principles, goals, and policies related to the parish’s growth and development. Those policies and development planning goals encompass prioritizing natural features, such as adopting green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) solutions and conserving open space, in addition to addressing the socioeconomic dynamics that come with planning for affordable housing. In general, the parish seeks to preserve low-density and conservation-oriented development trends across most of the parish, much of which is flood-prone. This approach will discourage floodplain and open space development by directing population growth and affordable housing investments toward drier, denser areas of the parish. These efforts are supported by public engagement, external partnerships, and federal and innovative funding sources. Other local policymakers working to address rural flood, population growth, and housing management issues can look to St. John the Baptist for their policies directing population growth toward denser, more urban areas. Those policies allow the parish to preserve rural and flood-prone areas and maintain parish character and reduce risk to homes and infrastructure. This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Greauxing Resilience at Home — City of Boulder, Colorado: Affordable Housing, Manufactured Housing, and Environmental Plans and Initiatives

June 16, 2022

The city of Boulder, Colorado is experiencing the joint pressures of rapid regional population growth and climate change — challenges which are not unique to this city alone. Boulder has addressed these challenges in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, a plan jointly adopted by the City and County of Boulder to direct decisions on land use, natural and built environments, and climate. The Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan is a strong example of a planning document that places an emphasis on housing and the environment. More specifically, this plan is notable for the following reasons:

  • Developing affordable housing goals and plans for multiple income levels including low-income, moderate-income, and middle-income households to ensure housing security for Boulder’s residents.
  • Developing specific and actionable master plans, such as the Boulder Manufactured Housing Strategy and Action Plan, to address the nuances of the policies highlighted in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan.
  • Developing policies to identify and preserve the rural-urban divide between the City of Boulder and surrounding areas by creating opportunities for sustainable population growth without threatening the rural character and valuable ecosystems of the Boulder Valley.

The Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan and associated master plans and strategies can serve as examples for other local and regional policymakers seeking to tackle the compounding challenges of population growth, affordable housing, and resilience. This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Greauxing Resilience at Home — City of Denham Springs, Louisiana: Denham Strong Long-Term Community Recovery Plan

June 16, 2022

In August 2016, a historic flooding event severely impacted the infrastructure and people in the city of Denham Springs in Louisiana. In response to the flooding, the city worked with its residents to create a long-term recovery plan called Denham Strong. The goal of the plan to increase community resilience in the aftermath of the disaster. The plan lists various affordable housing and mitigation recovery projects under three main categories: (1) Flood Recovery; (2) Disaster Resilience; and (3) Community Development. Denham Strong is a guiding document with the ability to adapt to future changed circumstances in Denham Springs. Denham Strong is a noteworthy example of a recovery plan that encompasses community input, provides examples of projects for stormwater management, includes resilient affordable housing considerations, and keeps the community updated as projects are implemented. Other local governments impacted by disaster events can consider similar opportunities to supplement local comprehensive plans and engage residents with proactive thinking about building long-term resilience. This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Greauxing Resilience at Home — City of Donaldsonville, Louisiana: Donaldsonville Strategic Plan 2020–2025

June 16, 2022

The City of Donaldsonville, Louisiana has developed a strategic plan for 2020–2025, which identifies eight strategic priorities to revitalize the city by fostering business development and increasing the city’s standard of living. Among other strategic priorities, the plan addresses: (1) Economic Development; (2) Workforce Development, Job Creation, and Training; (7) Housing, RV Parks, Campgrounds, Mobile or Manufactured Homes; and (8) Infrastructure Revitalization and New Development. Noteworthy recommendations include updating zoning ordinances, launching the Donaldson FIRST program for workforce development, updating aging infrastructure, enhancing mobility and resident’s connectivity to city centers and amenities, and growing green space. The plan was developed through a robust community engagement process that leveraged external support to supplement and expand limited government staff and resources. This plan can serve as an example of how regional and local planners and policymakers in smaller or rural jurisdictions can set and then implement an overarching vision across multiple sectors to address local challenges and increase overall social resilience in a coordinated way. Due to the intersectional nature of this plan, the recommended objectives also have implications on affordable housing and green space efforts, which are especially highlighted. This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Greauxing Resilience at Home — Town of Warrenton, Virginia: Fauquier Habitat for Humanity Haiti Street Neighborhood Revitalization

June 16, 2022

Fauquier County is a rural county located in the northern area of Virginia at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fauquier County is close to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area where many residents commute for work. Fauquier Habitat for Humanity serves Fauquier County. Fauquier Habitat builds new houses for low-income families and operates a neighborhood revitalization program. One of its neighborhood revitalization projects includes working with the historic Haiti (pronounced “Hay-ti”) Street neighborhood in Warrenton, Virginia. In 2019, Fauquier Habitat acquired multiple properties in the Haiti Street neighborhood for this revitalization initiative. Currently, Fauquier Habitat is constructing about three homes a year in the Haiti Street neighborhood and helping to preserve the neighborhood’s historic culture through these builds. Fauquier Habitat is also preparing families for homeownership and placing families in their Haiti Street homes. Fauquier Habitat has partnered with various local entities for this work and engaged with the community from the start of the project. Fauquier Habitat’s work with Haiti Street serves as an example for other jurisdictions seeking to create permanent affordable housing in rural areas by involving the community and local organizations, as well as setting up future homeowners for success. This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Greauxing Resilience at Home — City of Gonzales, Louisiana: Gonzales Comprehensive Plan

June 16, 2022

The City of Gonzales, Louisiana is located in the eastern part of Ascension Parish and centrally located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Facing increasing retail and commercial development, the city updated its local comprehensive plan to accommodate rapid growth. The Gonzales Comprehensive Plan was created in collaboration with Gonzales’s residents, city staff, various stakeholders, and Gonzales’s elected officials. In the plan, the city presents a clear strategic framework for the future growth of Gonzales. The city addresses Gonzales’s land use and urban design, mobility and transportation, housing, economy, quality of life and city services, and redevelopment of its downtown area. The plan’s affordable housing considerations include diversifying the options and affordability of the housing stock in Gonzales. The plan’s environmental considerations include emphasizing the city’s green spaces and community amenities and benefits, and reducing future flood risk/building overall community resilience. The plan is an example of a local comprehensive plan that addresses growth, while also balancing community needs and environmental conservation in an increasingly suburban area that is experiencing high demands for new development. This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Greauxing Resilience at Home — City of New Orleans, Louisiana: Resilient Housing Prototype in the Seventh Ward

June 16, 2022

In the Seventh Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana, a local project team is planning to construct a resilient housing prototype that can adapt to changing conditions in a flood-prone neighborhood. Spearheaded by J.B. Holton and Associates and in partnership with Healthy Community Services and others, the prototype will create two affordable housing units in a duplex specifically dedicated for low- to moderate-income community members. The two single-family homes will be elevated above base flood heights and use hemp-based materials for insulation as a sustainable building material that is more resistant to moisture and pests than traditional insulation. The site will also be landscaped with green stormwater infrastructure features. Overall, this pilot project can be a model for other home developers and communities of what homes in Louisiana can look like to overcome negative stigmas around affordable housing and inspire future actions to increase local resilience in the face of flooding and economic challenges. This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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