US – Midwest

Cleveland, Ohio: Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone

City: Cleveland
Country / US State / US Territory: Ohio
Type of Solution: Vacant Properties and Lots
Climate Impact: Extreme Temperatures and Urban Heat Island Effect; Air Quality; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Food Security and Nutrition; Educational and Employment Opportunities; Equitable and Affordable Services; Property Values

In an effort to counteract climate impacts, such as extreme temperatures, air quality issues, and heavy precipitation flooding, Cleveland, Ohio is working on improving its urban tree canopy and urban agriculture in low-income neighborhoods. Cleveland has placed a priority on socially equitable climate adaptation solutions, seeking to have a variety of socioeconomic benefits, such as improving food security and nutrition, increasing property values, reducing energy and health costs, and promoting economic development and employment opportunities.

The City has already developed 300 community gardens and urban farms, many of which are located on repurposed vacant lots. One example of a vacant lot project is the 26.5 acre Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone in the Kinsman Neighborhood that includes a number of initiatives, such as the Kinsman Farm and Rid-All Green Partnership.

Kinsman Farm is a 6-acre incubator farm that was established in 2010 as part a $1.1 million dollar grant from the USDA’s as part of the Beginner Farm and Rancher Development Program. Kinsman Farm provides new urban farmers seeking to start agricultural businesses with assets such as land, infrastructure, and education. New farmers gain valuable experience and learn how to successfully grow their operations before investing in a large-scale commercial farm.

The initiative is supported by Ohio State University (OSU) Extension, West Creek Conservancy, the City of Cleveland, and Burten, Bell, Carr Development Corporation. OSU Extension provides technical support and educates farmers on best practices, West Creek Conservancy leases the property and promotes sustainable agricultural practices, and Burten, Bell, Carr Development Corporation focuses on improving residents’ quality of life through initiatives to increase access to health food.

The Rid-All Green Partnership is another urban farm that occupies 1.5 acres in the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone. The farm features two greenhouses, four hoop houses, a 40,000 square foot Aquaponics fishery, and a compost program. The compost program collects food waste from the Cleveland Food Bank, wood chips from the Cleveland Forestry Department, coffee grounds from local coffee shops, and excess hops from the Little Mountain Brewery and Black Box Brewery. In 2012, the Partnership produced 14,000 pounds of produce, raised 350 pounds of tilapia, and produced 1,200 cubic yards of compost.

The Partnership seeks to improve food security and nutrition in the local community. Additionally, the Partnership has a strong focus on community education, educating both the adult and youth population. There are a variety of education programs, including the Five Month Training Program, Weekend Workshops, Victory Garden Initiative, Ohio Apprenticeship Program, and Youth Educational Program.

Fig: Kinsman Farm. (Photo retrieved from https://cuyahoga.osu.edu/program-areas/agriculture-and-natural-resources/market-gardening-and-urban-farming/kinsman-farm – No longer an active link)

Fig: Rid-All Green Partnership urban farm (Photo retrieved from https://www.greennghetto.org/?page_id=89)

Fig: Man holding Tilapia raised by the Rid-All Green Partnership (Photo retrieved from https://www.greennghetto.org/?attachment_id=184).

Sources:
Kelly, C., Peterson, M., Auel, E., Taraska, G., & Qian, P. (2016). Resilient midwestern cities: improving equity in a changing climate. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/18135245/ResilientMidwest-report1.pdf.

OSU Extension. (n.d.). Kinsman Farm. Retrieved from https://cuyahoga.osu.edu/program-areas/agriculture-and-natural-resources/market-gardening-and-urban-farming/kinsman-farm. No longer an active link

Rid-All Green Partnership. (n.d.). What we do. Retrieved from https://www.greennghetto.org/?page_id=68.

Rid-All Green Partnership. (n.d.). Training programs. Retrieved from https://www.greennghetto.org/?page_id=768.

West Creek Conservancy. (n.d.). Kinsman Farm. Retrieved from http://westcreek.org/portfolio-view/kinsman-farm/.

Chicago, Illinois: Urban Forest Initiative

City: Chicago
Country / US State / US Territory: Illinois
Type of Solution: Streets and Parking Lots
Climate Impact: Extreme Temperatures and Urban Heat Island Effect; Air Quality; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding; Invasive Species and Pests
Social Value Created: Public Education and Awareness; Community Engagement

The Chicago Regional Trees Initiative is working to increase the tree canopy in the city area. Increasing the tree canopy will help to mitigate extreme temperatures and the urban heat island (UHI) effect, as well as to improve stormwater management to prevent flooding during heavy precipitation events.

Additionally, pest resistant species are being selected to reduce vulnerability to invasive species, such as the Emerald Ash Borer. The city has lost 13 million ash trees already from the Emerald Ash Borer. Members of the initiative help to teach communities how to plan and care for trees, increasing community education and engaging community members.

Further, the initiative is working on incorporating vulnerability into its plans for tree plantings. The Urban Forestry Climate Change Response Framework vulnerability assessment is referenced by the initiative. The framework examines social factors of adaptive capacity, examining aspects such as the value of trees to residents, volunteer base size, and presence of incentives to increase public participation and interest. This framework also recommends a community vulnerability workshop to assist in evaluating vulnerability, educating community members and engaging them in the project.

Fig: Chicago Regional Trees Initiative members teaching residents how to properly plant and care for trees

Sources:
Brandt, L.; Scott, L.; Derby Lewis, A.; Darling, L.; Fahey R. 2016. Lessons learned from the
Urban Forestry Climate Change Response Framework. Houghton, MI: Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science. 36 pp.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. (n.d.). Fortifying Chicago’s urban forest. Retrieved from https://toolkit.climate.gov/case-studies/fortifying-chicagos-urban-forest.

Chicago, Illinois: RainReady’s Residential Flood Assistance Program

City: Chicago
Country / US State / US Territory: Illinois
Type of Solution: Buildings and Housing
Climate Impact: Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Affordable and Safe Housing; Social Justice and Equity for Vulnerable Communities; Public Health and Safety; Water Security and Quality
Funding: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery

The RainReacy Flood Residential Flood Assistance Program (RFAP) partnered with the Chicago Department of Planning and Development from 2015-2016 to assist low and middle income homeowners affected by the 2013 storm with repairs and retrofits. The 2013 storm was a 10-year storm that resulted in extensive damages of many homes. The program helps promote social justice and equity for vulnerable populations.

RFAP participants were provided with home assessments and construction work for free, including treating mold, removing lead and other hazardous materials, repairing flooding damage, and installing flood mitigation measures, contributing to public health and safety. Some of these flood mitigation measures included foundation waterproofing, rain barrel installation, and green infrastructure such as rain gardens and permeable pavers.

The program assisted 70 individuals that had requested flood relief, and most homes were located in neighborhoods with at least 30% of households with income below the federal poverty line. Homes were eligible to receive up to $50,000 in assistance. Additionally, the city will provide inspections for installations every five years, and residents were required to commit to staying in the home for at least two years.

Fig: Dejan and Marcela Bajict standing next to the rain barrel at their RainReady home (Photo retrieved from http://rainready.org/blog/cnt%E2%80%99s-rainready-service-help-chicago-flood-victims-recover-2013-storm)

Sources: RainReady. (n.d.). CNT’s RainReady service to help Chicago flood victims recover from the 2013 storm. Retrieved from http://rainready.org/blog/cnt%E2%80%99s-rainready-service-help-chicago-flood-victims-recover-2013-storm.

The Adaptation Clearinghouse. (2017). Case study: RainReady’s Residential Flood Assistance program (Chicago, IL). Retrieved from http://www.adaptationclearinghouse.org/resources/case-study-rainready-eys-residential-flood-assistance-program-chicago-il.html.

Chicago, Illinois: Pilsen Sustainable Streets

City: Chicago
Country / US State / US Territory: Illinois
Type of Solution: Streets and Parking Lots
Climate Impact: Extreme Temperatures and Urban Heat Island Effect; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Public Health and Safety; Water Security and Quality; Diverse Transportation; Public Education; Public Education and Awareness; Community Wellbeing and Quality of Life

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) implemented the Pilsen Sustainable Streets project in 2012. The project uses permeable pavement and green infrastructure, such as bioswales and rain gardens, manage projected increases in heavy precipitation and flooding. Stormwater filtration helps to remove pollutants, improving water quality. The City of Chicago has a combined sewer system, making the ability to effectively manage stormwater essential to protecting public health.

Additionally, green infrastructure contributes to improved air quality and urban cooling, counteracting extreme temperatures and the urban heat island effect. The area of vegetative landscapes and tree canopy were increased by 131%, providing more shaded areas, lowering the temperature, and increasing stormwater filtration. Increased shade and lowered temperatures improves comfort of community members and improves public health.

The project also resulted in creation of social value. A pedestrian refuge island was installed in Cermak Road and curb-corner extensions were created to improve pedestrian safety. Community outreach and education is another key feature of the project. Educational kiosks, a walking tour brochure, and a guidebook are available for community members to learn about the sustainable best practices employed by the project. These kiosks are powered by solar and wind energy.

Fig: Example of green infrastructure used in Pilsen Sustainable Streets project (Retrieved from https://www.wightco.com/projects/cermak-road-streetscape)

Fig: LED light pole and educational kiosk (Retrieved from https://iitbuildingscience.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/greenest-sustainable-street-in-america/)

Fig: Walking tour educational brochure (Retrieved from https://www.wightco.com/projects/cermak-road-streetscape)

Sources: The Adaptation Clearinghouse. (May 13, 2016). Pilsen Sustainable Streets (Chicago, Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved from http://www.adaptationclearinghouse.org/resources/pilsen-sustainable-streets-chicago-illinois-department-of-transporation.html

The City of Chicago. (October 9, 2012). Transportation: City Unveils “Greenest Street in America” in Pilsen Neighborhood. Retrieved from https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/conservation_outreachgreenprograms/news/2012/oct/cdot_opens_the_pilsensustainablestreet.html.

Rotenberk, L. (October 8, 2012). The greenest mile: Chicago pushes the limits on sustainable streets. Grist Magazine. Retrieved from https://grist.org/cities/the-greenest-mile-chicago-pushes-the-limits-on-sustainable-streets/

Chicago, Illinois: Cooling and Warming Centers

City: Chicago
Country / US State / US Territory: Illinois
Type of Solution: Cooling and Warming Centers
Climate Impact: Extreme Temperatures and Urban Heat Island Effect
Social Value Created: Public Education and Awareness; Social Justice and Equity for Vulnerable Communities
Cost: $500,000

Extreme heat preparedness is a major focus of climate adaptation in Chicago, Illinois. In 1995, there was an extreme heat event in Chicago that killed several hundred people. As climate change progresses, extreme heat will become an even more prominent issue.

Centers have been opened to help counteract extreme temperature events. During summer months these centers act as cooling centers, and in the winter months these centers act as warming centers. The program focuses on outreach to populations vulnerable to extreme temperatures, such as the elderly.

The City partnered with the Field Museum to develop an outreach program to educate vulnerable populations on extreme temperature risks and how to prepare for extreme temperature events.

Fig: Graphic of projected urban heat island effect as a result of climate change (Image retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/arc-x/chicago-il-adapts-improve-extreme-heat-preparedness)

Fig: A woman entering a Chicago Cooling Center (Photo retrieved from https://www.the-atlas.com/project?id=239)

Sources: Atlas. (n.d.). Chicago Cooling Centers. Retrieved from https://www.the-atlas.com/project?id=239.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (November 13, 2017). Chicago, IL adapts to improve extreme heat preparedness. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/arc-x/chicago-il-adapts-improve-extreme-heat-preparedness.

Chicago, Illinois: Adsorptive Playgrounds

City: Chicago
Country / US State / US Territory: Illinois
Type of Solution: Streets
Climate Impact: Extreme Temperatures and Urban Heat Island Effect; Air Quality; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Social Justice and Equity for Vulnerable Communities; Social Cohesion; Public Health and Safety; Active Living; Food Security
and Nutrition; Public Spaces and Playspaces

The Space to Grow program was started in 2013 to redevelop asphalt school lots into green infrastructure playgrounds for stormwater management. The playgrounds are designed to manage a 100-year storm lasting 24 hours. Additionally, green infrastructure filers air, improving air quality, and contributes to urban cooling, counteracting extreme temperatures and the urban heat island effect. As of 2016, six playgrounds have been completed and 28 more are planned for completion by 2019.

The playgrounds are also designed to create other social benefits. 90% of students serviced by the playgrounds are from low-income families, improving social resilience of vulnerable communities. Further, the playgrounds are intended to be educational and provide space for community gatherings, increasing social cohesion.

Grissom Elementary School is one school that participated in the Space to Grow program. The school redesigned a schoolyard to include outdoor classroom areas, community vegetable gardens, a jogging track, and green infrastructure for stormwater management. Community vegetable gardens improve access to nutritional food and increase social cohesion, and athletic facilities promote physical activity. Both increase access nutrition and engagement in physical activity helping to counteract childhood obesity, a growing crisis in the United States.

James Wadsworth Elementary School is a STEM school that also participated in the Space to Grow program. An unsafe, deterioration playground and basketball court were redesigned with the help of the students. The new design features a playground, basketball court, turf field, jogging track, two half-court basketball courts, and outdoor classroom areas. There are rain gardens that help manage stormwater runoff, and a decorative water feature that uses stormwater runoff captured from the roof.

Fig: Grissom Elementary School project (Photo retrieved from http://www.spacetogrowchicago.org/about/school-profiles/grissom-elementary/)

Fig: James Wadsworth Elementary School playground (Photo retrieved from http://www.spacetogrowchicago.org/about/school-profiles/james-wadsworth-elementary-school/)

Sources:
C40 Cities. (November 15, 2016). Cities100: Chicago – adsorptive playgrounds foster social cohesion. Retrieved from https://www.c40.org/case_studies/cities100-chicago-adsorptive-playgrounds-foster-social-cohesion.

Space to Grow. (n.d.). School profiles. Retrieved from http://www.spacetogrowchicago.org/about/school-profiles/.