Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit


Utilizing General Frameworks & Guidance

The following resources and case studies provide general frameworks and guidance for practitioners working to implement climate adaptation solutions with meaningful community engagement processes. The following resources provide step-by-step actions to guide practitioners at all points of the community engagement process and provide tools to gauge the success of the collaboration.

Lessons Learned

  • There are many resources available to guide community engagement processes.
  • Practitioners should use guidance from like-minded organizations to begin their processes.


Related Resources

A Guide to Community-Centered Engagement in the District of Columbia

The Guide to Community-Centered Engagement was developed by the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) in partnership with the District of Columbia's Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE). The guide synthesizes lessons from a year-long engagement process that GCC helped to lead in partnership with DOEE. GCC convened an Equity Advisory Group (EAG) of community leaders and residents in far Northeast neighborhoods of DC's Ward 7 to inform the implementation of the Clean Energy DC and Climate Ready DC plans. These neighborhoods were selected for an intensive community-driven planning process because they were identified in the District's climate vulnerability assessment as facing disproportionate flooding and other climate-related risks relative to other parts of the District. The Guide provides lessons from the EAG process, and is intended to help District and other local government agencies institutionalize equitable planning processes. In addition to best practices around community engagement, specific recommendations are provided for centering racial equity in community engagement.

USDN Guide to Developing Resilience Hubs

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) supports the development of Resilience Hubs, which are described as community-serving facilities that aid and educate residents, and coordinate resource distribution and services before, during, or after a natural hazard event. The USDN Resilience Hub Guidance Document is a living framework designed to assist communities in planning for, implementing, and operating a community Resilience Hub — geared towards local governments, community-based organizations, and other practitioners.

NAACP - Our Communities, Our Power: Advancing Resistance and Resilience in Climate Change Adaptation - Action Toolkit

From the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), this comprehensive Toolkit provides a series of modules to help NAACP chapters and other advocates mediate climate adaptation planning processes and ensure that adaptation plans and policies meet local needs while focusing on frontline communities, environmental and climate justice, and equity. The Toolkit provides guidance to help community groups and advocates develop an Environmental and Climate Justice (ECJ) Committee to inform adaptation planning and policy through 19 different modules. The introduction defines equity, climate resilience and adaptation, environmental and climate justice, and frontline communities. It also provides a summary of how climate change will disproportionately affect frontline communities.

Social Cohesion: The Secret Weapon in the Fight for Equitable Climate Resilience

From the Center for American Progress, this report discusses the role that social cohesion plays in preparedness and responses to climate change-induced extreme weather events, with a focus on the vulnerability of low-income communities. Methods to integrate community resilience into climate resilience are described, and specific recommendations to foster climate and social resilience are provided. In addition to the value of social cohesion in climate resiliency, the report details how addressing the unique housing, economic, and health vulnerabilities of low-income groups will in turn have benefits for the community at large. The report explains that social cohesion is the degree to which a community’s members are engaged with each other. A cohesive social community does not require that all members have common values; however, a cohesive society works towards the well-being of all members, promotes trust and belonging, and provides opportunities for upward social mobility.

From Community Engagement to Ownership: Tools for the Field with Case studies of Four Municipal Community-Driven Environmental and Racial Equity Committees

Recognizing the importance of collaborative governance in reducing inequities caused by climate vulnerability, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network funded the Innovation Fund Project. This grant supported four municipal community-based committees for racial equity and environmental justice to learn and evaluate the collaboration process between community-based committees and the local governments. Participants utilized the spectrum of community engagement to ownership approaches as a tool to analyze the case studies. The four case studies include the Equity Working Group in Portland, the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee in Providence, the Environmental Justice Committee in Seattle, and the Equity Advisory Group for Ward 7 in Washington DC. Four committees and groups contracted with Facilitating Power (FP), Movement Strategy Center (MSC), and the National Association of Climate Resilience Planners to establish an evaluation process of collaborative governance. After conducting surveys and in-person interviews, the research indicated that all four cases are still at level two (consult) on a scale of five on the spectrum. While some have shown the potential of moving toward level three (community involvement), none of these cases have arrived at level four (collaborative governance). Building on the findings and the spectrum, the project further suggests a learning and evaluation tool for assessing the process of collaborative governance.

Community-Driven Climate Resilience Planning: A Framework

This report outlines a framework, informed by community-based organizations from across the country, to meaningfully engage vulnerable and impacted communities in defining and building climate resilience. The guide seeks to use climate resilience activities to better build momentum for change, build a new economy and community-based financing, deepen democracy and improve governance, and activate ecological and cultural wisdom. In addition to describing guiding principles and elements of community-driven planning, the document provides examples of case studies where communities have taken a central role in resilience planning. The guide is primarily aimed at other community-based organizations, but it may also be useful for philanthropy and public sector officials.

Making Equity Real in Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience Policies and Programs: A Guidebook

To operationalize California’s statewide vision of honoring social equity in the climate adaptation planning and decisionmaking processes, the Greenlining Institute published Making Equity Real in Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience Policies and Programs: A guidebook. This guidebook can be helpful for states to reexamine their existing grants programs and policies and better create equity-centered climate adaptation grant programs and policies in the future. The guidebook provides detailed step-by-step guidelines for policymakers to ensure social equity is embraced and implemented throughout the adaptation processes, from goal setting, policy implementation, to outcomes evaluation. The guide can help policymakers who design policies (bills, executive orders, local measures) and state agencies and local governments who develop grant programs to center social equity and protect frontline communities. Communities and advocates can also examine relevant existing policies and grant programs.

City of Minneapolis, Minnesota Neighborhoods 2020: Community Engagement Working Group

The City of Minneapolis created the Neighborhoods 2020 initiative to examine and restructure how the City serves and supports neighborhood organizations with staffing, organizational/advisory board oversight, and grant-funded programs. As part of this process, Minneapolis formed a Community Engagement Policy Work Group, which created a framework for a Citywide Community Engagement Policy. This framework outlines the processes and stakeholder commitments necessary to improve the City’s engagement with community members and places an emphasis on a thoughtful, integrated community engagement policy that extends to all members of Minneapolis.

  Previous Next