Local Governments building community resilience through Resilience Hubs
Local governments across the country are developing Resilience Hubs to build their capacity for dealing with threats from climate change, including supporting residents in preparation for, during and after crises with coordination of resource distribution and services, as well as on a day-to-day basis. Involving community members in the creation of these hubs provides opportunities to develop just and equitable solutions that honor community diversity and address the legacy of systematic environmental racism and bigotry that has left people of color and indigenous people more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The following are just a few of the many examples of resilience hubs under development.
The City of Houston, Texas’s “Lily Pads” – envisioned as interconnected resource centers that provide neighborhood-specific safety nets while enhancing connectivity and capacity across communities. The city is examining specific functions, programming and conceptual design of select neighborhood sites (library, school, etc.) that can be retrofitted to serve as a resilience hub, and will then work to attract funds to designate, design and implement the Lily Pads across the city.
Los Angeles, California’s, Neighborhood Resilience Hubs – which are part of the city’s resilience strategy – will be physical spaces housed within trusted community organizations to facilitate social and climate resilience, including disaster preparedness and recovery. The total cost of the project is estimated at US$1 million in “hard costs” per site, with US$500,000 in “start-up” costs per site.
The City of Indianapolis, Indiana developed the city’s first sustainability, mobility and energy Hub, using existing infrastructure. The city’s Hub model is designed to be a one-stop shop for preparedness, mobility, and energy savings – providing the most vulnerable communities with invaluable resources and personnel. In addition to featuring a physical space for the neighborhood, city staff are exploring the possibility of an emergency backup power system through a combination of on-site solar energy and battery backup. The preliminary estimate for a small-scale combined solar/battery backup system is approximately US$70,000.
Following the publication of its “Resilient Medford, Resilience Hubs” report, the City of Medford, Massachusetts is acting on recommendations to create just and inclusive spaces for enhancing community resilience, in collaboration with frontline communities. Through this collaboration, the city is identifying programming and services for a pilot resilience hub, and will evaluate physical sites, assess potential retrofits to enhance sustainability and resilience of the facility and develop relevant business plans and agreements. Medford is also considering how some social services could be co-located or co-hosted within a resilience hub.
Nashville and Davidson County, TN
Root Nashville is a campaign seeking to create a tree canopy for equitable, healthy, climate-resilient neighborhoods. This public-private campaign is led by Metro Nashville and the Cumberland River Compact to plant 500,000 trees across Davidson County by 2050. In development since 2018, Root Nashville is currently in the execution stage and recently celebrated its fourth season, having planted more than 23,000 trees. Based on this number, the project has resulted in 494,099 lbs CO2 stored, 351,674 lbs CO2 sequestered, and 162,209 lbs CO2 avoided.
In early 2022, Metro Nashville’s City Council created a permanent revenue stream to support Root Nashville and ensure its long-term sustainability. Each year, the equivalent of 1% of the building permit revenues, grading permit revenues and bonds issued by Metro Nashville for construction projects will be allocated to a qualified partner agency overseeing tree planting on private property. This revenue stream will provide up to US$2.5 million annually for the campaign – a number calculated to ensure that the campaign goals will be met. Funding for planting on public property is provided by Metro Departments and the Nashville Tree Bank, which receives funds from private developments that cannot meet their tree density requirements. Root Nashville provides a variety of environmental benefits, including improved air quality, reduced heat island effects, energy conservation and absorption and filtering of stormwater. The project also will create a more equitable distribution of trees throughout the county and help mitigate the impacts of childhood asthma.
Root Nashville brings trees to every Nashville community, while focusing on areas of the city with the greatest need for tree canopy and improved environmental and public health outcomes. The project prioritizes neighborhoods with the most vulnerable population, high daytime temperature and areas with high rates of respiratory disease hospitalizations.