CNT Considers City Resilience at the Climate, Cities and Behavior Symposium
CNT Climate Change Program Director, Jen McGraw, spent three days last week looking at the human dimensions of resilient and sustainable cities at the Garrison Institute’s Climate, Cities and Behavior Symposium.
The invite-only conference, held at a former monastery on the Hudson River in New York, dug into the concept of resilience as it relates to cities in an era of changing climate and superstorms. Through panels, case studies, and workshops, the group looked at ways that local governments and civic organizations can strengthen neighborhood assets and connectivity.
Eric Klinenberg described how during both the Chicago Heat Wave of 1995 and Hurricane Sandy, neighborhood institutions, even informal ones, were a critical factor in the varying responses neighborhood-to-neighborhood.
Mindy Fullilove and the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance’s Eddie Bautista discussed the importance of considering the full historical context in neighborhoods of inequality, poverty, and the legacy of urban redevelopment when partnering to address climate change.
Chicago’s own Jennifer Hirsch highlighted the Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit, which engages neighbors in developing climate solutions that meet the goals of the Chicago Climate Action plan along with the specific needs of their communities.
The group grappled with the role of local government in catalyzing behavior change, as well as how to support and enable individual climate actions while also providing systematic infrastructure improvements to enable more sustainable cities. The discussion underlined the importance of CNT’s work in creating and implementing place-based solutions on critical climate mitigation and adaptation issues in cities, including energy upgrades, sustainable stormwater management, and access to transportation alternatives.