Helping Communities Prepare for Climate Change

Community Land = Community Resilience: How Community Land Trusts Can Support Urban Affordable Housing and Climate Initiatives

Community Land = Community Resilience: How Community Land Trusts Can Support Urban Affordable Housing and Climate Initiatives

Housing insecurity and the impacts of climate change are interrelated issues increasingly affecting cities across the United States. Community land trusts (CLTs) can present useful partnerships to simultaneously tackle these challenges by promoting community ownership and decision-making, and providing permanently affordable and resilient housing. To help state and community leaders support community land trusts and work to enhance climate resilience, the Georgetown Climate Center has released Community Land = Community Resilience: How Community Land Trusts Can Support Urban Affordable Housing and Climate Initiatives.

 
Legal & Policy Toolkits

Legal & Policy Toolkits

The Georgetown Climate Center has developed several legal and policy toolkits to assist states and communities working to build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Created by GCC staff in collaboration with leading federal, state, and local policymakers, affected community members, Georgetown Law faculty and students, and other experts, each toolkit includes practical legal and policy tools, best and emerging practices, and case studies from across the U.S.

 
 

With the planet warming and extreme weather becoming the new normal, states and communities are seeking out resources to help them anticipate climate impacts and protect residents, homes, businesses, and public infrastructure.  Now is the time to begin taking steps to build stronger and safer communities and prepare for rising seas, heat, drought, wildfires, extreme weather, and other climate impacts on the way.

See below for tools developed in conjunction with the Georgetown Climate Center to asssist communities in preparing for climate change.

 
Tabs Information
Our Adaptation Projects
Our Adaptation Resources
Adaptation News

Developing and Maintaining the Adaptation Clearinghouse

The Adaptation Clearinghouse is an online database and networking site that seeks to assist state policymakers, resource managers, academics, and others who are working to help communities adapt to climate change. The Clearinghouse contains more than 2,000 resources. 

The Center regularly partners with organizations, such as the EPA, the Urban Sustainability Directors Netork, the American Society of Adaptation Professionals, and other organizations working on resilience and adaptation issues through the Clearinghouse.   

Supporting Adaptation that is Equitable and Just

Recognizing that vulnerability to climate change is social as much as it is physical, Georgetown Climate Center supports policy options that address social inequities and climate exposure together. The center is collecting resources that showcase and provide guidance on equitable adaptation in our Adaptation Clearinghouse and is partnering with U.S. cities to explore policy options, such as techniques to encourage more affordable resilient housing, targeting green infrastructure in low-income neighborhoods, and creating local hire programs to ensure resilience investments bring economic benefits.

Preparing for Urban Heat Impacts

The Georgetown Climate Center works with state and local governments to develop “heat-smart” communities that are well prepared to cope with rising temperatures — to both help them identify the adaptation choices available and navigate through the legal obstacles they may face in trying to implement different options. Learn more about the Center's law, policy, and on-the-ground work in this area.

Preparing for Sea-Level Rise and Flooding Impacts

Global sea levels could rise three to six feet over the next century. The Center is working with state and local governments to help them become “coast-smart” — that is, better prepared to cope with the threats posed by rising sea levels and higher storm surges. We convene dialogs between states, local governments, and federal agencies to ensure that lessons learned are shared widely to inform future policy actions.

Preparing for Climate Change Impacts in the Transportation Sector

Every year, taxpayers pay hundreds of billions of dollars for transportation and related infrastructure—infrastructure that is becoming increasingly vulnerable to flooding and damage from extreme heat as a result of climate change. The Georgetown Climate Center regularly works with communities, states, and the federal government to address climate change impacts in the transportation sector.

Working with Citites to Improve Green Infrastructure

In order to ensure effective adaptation, communities need help identifying and implementing the most appropriate policies. The Georgetown Climate Center is working with a group of local partners to identify the best green infrastructure practices that cities are beginning to experiment with and to translate these lessons into a toolkit in order to share the best practices with communities across the country.

 

The State of Adaptation in the United States: An Overview

The State of Adaptation in the United States: An Overview
April 4, 2013

The State of Adaptation in the United States surveys activities underway to help communities prepare for climate change and identifies needs, challenges, and potential actions that communities can now pursue. The report was commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation and was undertaken by the Georgetown Climate Center, EcoAdapt, the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, and the University of California-Davis. 

 
 

Zoning for Sea-Level Rise
December 13, 2012

To help local communities address the increased flooding expected from sea-level rise and more frequent extreme weather events, the Georgetown Climate Center designed a model sea-level rise ordinance to provide local governments with a template for tailoring regulations to meet the needs of their community and its particularized vulnerabilities.

 
Adaptation Tool Kit: Urban Heat

Adaptation Tool Kit: Urban Heat
August 17, 2012

"Adapting to Urban Heat: A Tool Kit for Local Governments" is designed to help local governments reduce the effects of increased heat on their communities and citizens.  It provides an analytic tool for policy makers to consider a combination of four built-environment changes (cool roofs, green roofs, cool pavements, and urban forestry), providing clear criteria for selecting among these approaches. It also examines the roles government can play in pursuing these changes: shaping government’s own operations, mandating or providing incentives for private choices, and engaging in public education.

 

Coastal Management in the Face of Rising Seas: Legal Strategies for Connecticut
August 2, 2012

This article examines two adaptation approaches that could be applied in Connecticut: a local-­?level approach using zoning and floodplain regulations, and state-­?level approach modeled after cutting-­?edge sea level rise regulations adopted by neighboring Rhode Island. For each method, the authors examine what measures can be implemented now given existing legal authorities delegated to state agencies and municipalities; what measures will require additional delegations or amendments to existing statutes or regulations; and what level of government is best suited to implement different measures (state or local).

 

Analysis of the Flood Insurance Reauthorization and Reform Law (2012)
August 1, 2012

The Georgetown Climate Center's Jessica Grannis recently released a summary and analysis of Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which includes several reforms that could assist state and local governments looking to implement policies to adapt to sea-level rise and other flood impacts from climate changes.

 
Innovative Approaches for Adapting to Water Variability in the West

Innovative Approaches for Adapting to Water Variability in the West
May 1, 2012

This brief reviews three approaches that communities are pursuing to adapt to climate change.

 
Adaptation Tool Kit: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use

Adaptation Tool Kit: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use
November 1, 2011

The Adaptation Tool Kit explores 18 different land-use tools that can be used to preemptively respond to the threats posed by sea-level rise to both public and private coastal development and infrastructure, and strives to assist governments in determining which tools to employ to meet their unique socio-economic and political contexts.

 
Adaptation Case Studies in the Western United States

Adaptation Case Studies in the Western United States
October 31, 2011

This report contains two case studies from the Western United States that explore water shortages in the West, water rights along the Colorado River, and the protection of an endangered ground-dwelling bird: the greater sage grouse.  In doing so, the report also examines the role of states in adaptation planning and the intersection between state and federal authority.

 
Virginia Case Study: Stemming the Tide: How Local Governments Can Manage Rising Flood Risks

Virginia Case Study: Stemming the Tide: How Local Governments Can Manage Rising Flood Risks
May 1, 2010

This case study analyzes the authority of Virginia local governments to use existing land use regulations to adapt to sea level rise impacts. Specifically, this study looks at local authority to implement policy options identified in the Virginia’s Climate Action Plan.

 

Comparison of Adaptation Provisions in the Kerry-Boxer and Waxman-Markey Bills
November 6, 2009

This document provides a side-by-side comparison of all adaptation provisions in Kerry Boxer (S.1733) and Waxman-Markey (H.R.2454).

 

President Obama Establishes Task Force and Council on Climate Change Preparedness
November 1, 2013

President Obama signed an executive order today, directing federal agencies to modernize their programs to support climate-resilient investments, manage lands and waters for climate resilience, provide information,...

 

Baltimore Adopts New Hazard Mitigation Plan, Making Climate Change Part of Future Capital and Budget Decisions
October 6, 2013

Recognizing the city’s vulnerability to climate change, Baltimore officials have incorporated planning for sea-level rise, urban heat, and extreme storms into its new hazard mitigation plan.  The new approach...

 

Delaware Gov. Markell Signs Executive Order to Reduce Emissions and Help State Prepare for Climate Change
September 13, 2013

On Sept. 12, 2013, Governor Jack Markell signed Executive Order 41, “Preparing Delaware for Emerging Climate Impacts and Seizing Economic Opportunities from Reducing Emissions.” The order creates a...

 

Hurricane Sandy Task Force Releases Rebuilding Strategy
August 10, 2013

On August 9, 2013, the Hurricane Sandy Task Force released its Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy.  The report includes 69 recommendations for rebuilding communities affected by Hurricane Sandy in ways that...

 

Maryland Finalizes Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 25 Percent by 2020
July 26, 2013

At the Maryland Climate Summit, Gov. Martin O'Malley laid out Maryland's aggressive new plan to reduce carbon pollution. The plan calls for an economy-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020,...

 

NYC Building Resiliency Task Force Releases Recommendations
July 2, 2013

The New York City Building Resiliency Task Force recently released its recommendations to improve the resiliency of the City’s commercial buildings, hospitals, multifamily residences, and smaller homes. The...

 

Mayor Bloomberg Introduces Comprehensive Resilience Plan for NYC
July 2, 2013

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently introduced a comprehensive plan, A Stronger, More Resilient New York, to protect the city from coastal storms like Hurricane Sandy that are expected to increase in...

 

Bills Attempting to Roll Back Biggert-Waters National Flood Insurance Program Reforms
June 17, 2013

Several bills have been introduced in the 113th Congress to roll back the insurance subsidy reforms that were included in the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.1 Biggert Waters reformed the...

 

Understanding the Adaptation Provisions of the Sandy Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (H.R. 152)
May 24, 2013

Disaster relief funding presents an opportunity for state and local governments to rebuild in a manner that anticipates and responds to future changes in the climate. In most cases, programs funded through...

 

Legislative Study Urges Virginia to Launch Coordinated Planning to Avoid Catastrophic Flooding
April 30, 2013

A new study calls on the State of Virginia and coastal localities to launch a comprehensive and coordinated planning effort to avoid catastrophic flooding related to sea-level rise. The report predicts that...