Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
June 15, 2016
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative

Our built environment - everything from streets and buildings to design and planning - shapes our everyday experience on how and where we live, work, play, and get around. It also plays an integral role in community resilience: weathering storms and floods, conserving water and energy use, protecting people and assets, and fostering long-term well-being and quality of life. 

Please come join us at our upcoming Quarterly Meeting on June 21 to discuss what a resilient Capital Region might look like, and how transformative buildings and infrastructure can help us achieve that vision. To set the scene, this issue of the newsletter will focus on the challenges facing our built environment and how cities around the world are already responding with strategies and innovations to build resilience. 
News and Research
Turn the idea of resilience into a mindset for change
More than its traditional meaning of bouncing back from adversity, resilience today often focuses on civic durability. The resilience of a community depends on the degree to which it has the necessary resources and is organized before and during times of need. At the core of civic resilience are buildings, businesses, and public infrastructure planned to survive disaster and prevent losses rather than retrofitted in reaction to whatever befalls them. Developing buildings and infrastructure for resilience can help save neighborhoods, jobs, and economies and serve a vital role in sustaining public well-being. ( Business Resilience)
White House: Building codes have a critical role in community resilience
The Obama administration announced new public and industry actions to make communities more resilient and adaptable through building codes, standards, and construction methods. By incorporating resilience and climate change into building codes and standards, we can help ensure that our homes, schools, and workplaces can better withstand climate impacts, save money and lives, and recover more quickly post-disaster. Federal tools include resources on building science, climate data, and community resilience from the Army Corps of Engineers.  The American Institute of Architects, Urban Land Institute, U.S. Green Building Council and many other industry partners have committed to actions such as developing and promoting resilient building codes, and will help make the business case for taking a more resilient approach to building. (White House story and factsheet)
World Bank: Cities "woefully unprepared" for rising disaster risk
Cities around the world are failing to plan for fast-increasing risks from extreme weather and other hazards, warned a new World Bank report. By 2050, 1.3 billion people and $158 trillion in assets will be menaced by worsening river and coastal floods alone. But as cities expand and revamp, they have the opportunity to lower risk through putting in place more resilient infrastructure and preventive policies. To help make planning easier, the Bank has developed a new open-source disaster risk management tool, ThinkHazard!, that brings together information on all potential disaster risks in a country or region, and how they compare. ( Reuters)
Photo: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco
Mind the gap: Failing to invest in infrastructure lowers jobs and GDP
The U.S. faces a $1.4 trillion infrastructure investment gap in the next decade that will translate into increased costs, lost productivity, fewer jobs, and lower GDP, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. The largest funding gap is in the transportation sector ($1.1 trillion over the next decade), as well as the electricity ($177 billion) and water and wastewater ($105 billion) sectors. Failing to invest in infrastructure will result in more congestion, power outages, and other failures that could cumulatively reduce GDP by $3.9 trillion and jobs by 2.5 million. The report argues that the benefits of infrastructure investment reverberate across every sector of the economy, while the economic losses of deferred investment also become worse over time, as repairs become replacements. ( Link

Building with nature: Cities that steal smart ideas from plants and animals

Photo: Michael Yip
Architects, designers, engineers, and urban planners are borrowing from natural phenomena as diverse as termite mounds and resilient pomelos to design smart, sustainable cities. Biomimicry is based on the idea that nature's most successful processes have been honed for millions of years, and these engineering feats can now be replicated to create cities and buildings more like natural environments, functional, resilient, and low-carbon. ( Guardian)

California's first-ever regional parcel tax will help Bay Area build climate resilience

Photo: Leah Millis, The Chronicle
Thousands of acres of land around the San Francisco Bay will be returned to wetlands after voters inthe nine-county Bay Area approved a new $12-per-parcel tax that will raise $500 million for bay enhancement and habitat restoration. The Bay Area's first regional ballot measure, Measure AA reached the two-thirds majority needed for new taxes with 69% of the vote. Restoring wetlands can help protect the region from sea-level rise and flooding. ( SF Gate)

Climate change rewiring government-citizen relationships

Photo: David Maurice Smith/Oculi/Redux
Instead of the typical top-down approach, governments are learning that it is critical to include residents and other stakeholders at the start of the design and planning phase for projects and infrastructure to build resilience. Communities often understand better what assets they lack and where, and are more receptive to projects if they are included at the outset. ( Newsweek)

Rockefeller Foundation completes its selection of 100 Resilient Cities

Photo: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters
"The ultimate change we're trying to see in cities - more cohesive communities, better  infrastructure, more integrated planning, better mobility - these are things that happen over a generation, not just a couple of years. We are trying to ignite a revolution in the way cities view their risks and opportunities - but not only in the 100 member cities. By some accounts there are 10,000 cities in the world, and if cities are going to save the world, we can't have 10,000 bespoke solutions. We're using our 100 member cities as a first step - but ultimately we need to get all cities to understand that their differences are not that different."  ( Guardian )
PG&E to award $1 million in community grants to support climate resilience planning
PG&E is launching the Better Together Resilient Communities grant program, which will invest $1 million over five years - or $200,000 per year - to support local planning efforts to prepare for, withstand, and recover from extreme events and other risks related to climate change. Beginning in 2017, PG&E will award two grants of $100,000 through a competitive process. Strategies and solutions resulting from the grants will be made publicly available to help all communities, and encourage local and regional partnerships. ( Link)
Case Studies
A community-minded approach to resilience in Berkeley
Photo: REUTERS/Noah Berger
Community building and social resilience are at the heart of Berkeley's Resilience Strategy, which is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation's global 100 Resilient Cities program. At the center of the strategy is the new Community Resilience Center program, which partners the city with pre-existing community groups that will offer disaster preparedness training and provide free disaster supply caches. The new partnerships will be established primarily in lower-income neighborhoods and are designed to reach under-served residents. The city will appoint Neighborhood Disaster Preparedness Liaisons who will communicate the needs of their specific residents with the local government. ( City Lab)
Resilience around the world: Tokyo and Brazil
Tokyo is particularly threatened by the effects of rising tides and rainfall. One designer has proposed an audacious solution: building an entirely new city, in a series of hexagons, on reclaimed islands Tokyo Bay. Porto Alegre, in Brazil, has announced Latin America's first climate resilience strategy and will dedicate 10% of its budget toward improving resilience. Porto Alegre arrived at this strategy through the process of participatory budgeting, in which everyday citizens have a say in the allocation of municipal funds. ( Guardian Cities)
Hard-pressed Rust Belt cities go green to aid urban revital
Gary, Indiana, is joining Detroit and other fading U.S. industrial centers in an effort to turn abandoned buildings, lots, and factory sites into vegetable gardens, stormwater management parks, pocket prairies, and tree farms. In addition to the environmental benefits, these greening initiatives may help catalyze an economic recovery and are attracting significant funding from private investors, non-profits, and government agencies. ( Yale 360)
Returns on Resilience: Climate-smart building is good for developers and communities
The Urban Land Institute's Returns on Resilience project spotlights leaders in the real estate industry who have incorporated resilient design measures into development projects and have seen positive financial, operational, and marketing returns as a result. It also addresses the role of building codes and examines how going beyond code can be beneficial to real estate developers, communities, and building occupiers. Community resilience goes beyond disaster risk and environmental factors, and that quality of life, economic prosperity, health, livability, and sustainability are all necessary components of resilience linked by land use patterns. ( ULI)
Upcoming Opportunities
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference: Call for Session Proposals Deadline is June 30th
The Local Government Commission is conducting a formal Call for Session Proposals for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. The organizers are looking for interactive session proposals of all types under thematic categories such as community resilience and energy independence, equitable development and environmental justice, and transportation. Conference organizers are placing an emphasis on sessions that focus on implementation, or provide training or instruction on the use of practical tools and technologies and the application of innovative strategies and resources. Deadline: June 30, 2016. ( Link)
ASAP Regional Adaptation Leadership Award - July 1st Nomination Deadline
The American Society for Adaptation Professionals - in partnership with the California Adaptation Forum - is launching its first Regional Adaptation Leadership Award competition at the California Adaptation Forum. The Award will recognize one individual who has distinguished her- or himself in the climate change adaptation field through exceptional leadership. Nominations are due July 1, 2016. ( Link)
CivicSpark: Receive Project Support to Advance Your Resiliency Initiatives - July 1st Priority Deadline
CivicSpark is now accepting project applications for the 2016-17 service year! CivicSpark helps local governments build their climate response capacity by working directly with local staff or in the community on projects that address their larger climate action goals. Local government agencies or non-governmental organizations can contract directly with LGC for Civicspark fellows to support projects and programs. Priority deadline: July 1, 2016. ( Link)
Upcoming Events
Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative - Quarterly Meeting
Tuesday, June 21, Noon-3pm
Sierra 2 Center - Curtis Hall, 2791 24th Street, Sacramento
Our built environment serves as the backbone of the region, but is vulnerable to extreme heat, flooding, and other impacts of climate change. During this meeting, you will have the opportunity to hear about innovative efforts to protect our built environment and build a more sustainable and resilient future, including projects pursuing Living Building Certification and Zero Net Energy affordable housing. We will also have the opportunity to share other efforts that are occurring in the region to develop more resilient and robust infrastructure. ( Register)

Webinar: Managing the Psychological Distance of Climate Change

Thursday, June 16, 8am PST

Ever had a conversation with someone about climate change and wished you could bring the issue closer to home? This webinar will discuss some Do's & Don'ts to reduce the psychological distance of climate change - and why it may not be as straightforward as focusing on 'local' rather than 'global' aspects of the issue. ( Register)

Caring for Your Trees in a Low-Water Landscape Workshop

Saturday, June 18, 10-11.30am

Join the Sacramento Tree Foundation to learn about caring for your trees during a drought using low-water landscaping techniques. ( RSVP)

Sacramento Premiere of Climate Documentary "Time to Choose"

Monday, June 20, 5pm 

Crest Theater, 1013 K Street, Sacramento

Charles Ferguson's powerful climate documentary "Time to Choose" is being shown at the Crest Theater on Monday, June 20 The film, which is being released in theaters this month, features breathtaking footage of the effects of climate change and the risks of inaction, as well as interviews with leading climate scientists, activists and policy experts, including Gov. Jerry Brown and Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols. ( Respond)
Webinar Series: Making the Connection - Climate Changes Health
June 29, 10.30am PST
This webinar series from the American Public Health Association invites you to find out how climate change affects health and what we can do to care for and protect personal and community health. The June 29 session focuses on mental health; you can also view recordings of past sessions on allergies and asthma, children's health, and community design.  ( Register)
About the Capital Region Climate  Readiness  Collaborative

The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative is a membership based collaborative network designed to promote greater climate change resilience planning coordination in the six-county Sacramento Region. The purpose of this collaborative network is to create a forum where leaders from government, academia, environmental and community groups, the business community, and labor can come together to exchange information, identify vulnerabilities and data gaps, leverage resources, and advance comprehensive solutions in an effort to create stronger, sustainable, and economically viable communities in the Sacramento Region.  If you are interested in learning more about the Climate Readiness Collaborative, joining the Collaborative, or being added to the list serve, visit: