In spring of 2021, the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) and the Capital Region Planning Commission (CRPC) in Louisiana launched an innovative partnership to support Louisiana communities in the state’s Region 7 Watershed in protecting people from flooding risks and promoting resilient, affordable housing. Bringing together GCC's nationally recognized expertise in climate adaptation law, policy, and planning, and CRPC's expertise in watershed resilience work, the two organizations are working together through 2022 to engage policymakers and community stakeholders to develop legal and policy resources to:
Louisiana is one of the hardest-hit areas in the U.S. as climate change and sea-level rise make extreme weather events and regular flooding more intense and frequent. These challenges often fall “first and worst” on communities of color, low-income communities, and Indigenous communities, who reside in the Louisiana Watershed Initiative's Region 7. Affordable, resilient housing initiatives are critical to ensuring equitable adaptation that takes into consideration the myriad overlapping challenges these communities face.
This work is guided by a work group of individuals with expertise on Louisiana’s climate challenges and the increasing impacts of flood risk to housing. Members include directors of departments in local parishes, leaders of regional non-governmental organizations, academic researchers, and others. The work will also be informed by research and recommendations laid out in GCC's Managed Retreat Toolkit, which draws on best and emerging practices and case studies from across the country of states and communities integrating managed retreat into their adaptation strategies.
As a Regional Planning and Development District, CRPC is the coordinating agency for the Louisiana Watershed Initiative in Region 7. This partnership with GCC will expand on current efforts to support the Initiative's long-term resilience goals.
In November 2021, GCC and CRPC hosted two virtual visioning sessions with Louisiana residents, planners, policymakers, community leaders, and other participants to discuss increasing flooding and disaster events affecting Louisiana, and brainstorm solutions toward resilience, affordable housing, environmental justice and equity, and flood mitigation. Each event was guided by a local, independent facilitator. Participants shared their expertise, lived experiences, and goals for community resilience in Region 7 and beyond. Ongoing conversations like these will continue to shape how GCC and CRPC develops these planning resources and how they are used to inform resilience and affordable housing initiatives.
This work is being guided by the work group members below, who are graciously lending their knowledge and lived experiences in Louisiana to this effort in Region 7.
For questions and more information, contact GCC Senior Associate and project lead Katie Spidalieri at Katie.Spidalieri@georgetown.edu.
This work is generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.