City: Miami Country / US State / US Territory: Florida Type of Solution: Habitat Restoration Climate Impact: Seal level rise; Hurricanes and Storm Surge; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding Social Value Created: Public Education; Community Engagement; Community Wellbeing and Quality of Life; Urban Beautification Cost: $18.4 million Funding Source: Public Space Challenge grant
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) partnered with Greater Miami and the Beaches on a project to revitalize Wagner Creek. Over the years, Wagner Creek has been a site of illegal dumping, leaking pipe systems, and stormwater runoff from nearby auto-repair shops, making it one of the most polluted water bodies in Florida. The project will use green infrastructure improve stormwater management in response to flooding from heavy precipitation events and storm surge, as well as to remove pollutants and improve water quality.
Green infrastructure also provides shade, helping to cool the urban environment and mitigate extreme temperatures and the urban heat island effect. Additionally, the project aims to improve community well-being and contribute to urban beautification.
During the design phase of the project, TNC held a public visioning workshop that engaged stakeholders with various backgrounds. Stakeholders identified different services the project could provide and were given stickers to prioritize these services, such as larger/smaller parking lots, parks, tree plantings, and improve water quality for recreation. Then, the University of Miami Landscape Architecture department assisted with developing designs that could be implemented, incorporating climate change projections and other datasets, contributing to the advancement of education. A number of parks are planned as part of the project, and these parks will serve an estimated 100,000 people that live and work in the area.
City: Phoenix Country / US State / US Territory: Arizona Type of Solution: Volunteer / Community Group 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; Community Engagement; Public Education; Diverse Transportation; Public Health and Safety; Urban Beautification; Community Wellbeing and Quality of Life
The City of Phoenix is participating in the national Resilience AmeriCorps program. The local program is called Resilient PHX. Volunteers assist low-income communities with projects to build community capacity. Resilient PHX has already completed a number of projects, such as Grandview Message Boards, Grand Avenue Curb Cut/Rain Garden, and Triangle Tree Planting.
Three message boards were installed in the Grandview Neighborhood to improve communication of climate risks, such as the risks of extreme heat in vulnerable communities, specifically low-income residents, elderly residents, and renters.
Another project was the Grand Avenue Curb Cut/Rain Garden. The curb cut/rain garden improves stormwater management to prevent flooding risks during heavy precipitation events. In addition to improved stormwater management, the project created more greenspace for residents and improved aesthetics, walkability, and shade coverage.
Lastly, the Triangle Tree Planting project was a community outreach program that engaged residents in tree planting and taught residents tree maintenance in an effort to mitigate extreme heat and the heat island effect. Trees increase shade coverage, which also contributes the the walkability of the area.
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.
Supported by the National Science Foundation under award number SES-1444755. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.