Goal Five: Greaux implementation and capacity-building efforts to increase resilience.
Goals One through Four discuss nature-based solutions, flood mitigation solutions through targeted infrastructure planning and investments, resilient urban affordable housing options, and resilient rural affordable housing options. However, before implementing any of these solutions, decisionmakers should evaluate opportunities to engage in equitable community engagement processes, make data-driven decisions, and build inclusive regional governance structures and public-private-nonprofit-community partnerships. It is intended that all the other goals of the Regional Vision be read and evaluated in tandem with Goal Five due to the crosscutting nature of this goal.
Policymakers need new and updated decision-support tools, structures, and partnerships to develop durable, equitable, and data-driven solutions for housing and nature-based solutions to increase resilience. Gathering a multitude of perspectives (e.g., community members, public and private sectors, grassroots organizations, home builders, landscape architects, universities, and religious and cultural organizations) to inform decisions is critical in order to create solutions that work for a community. Every step in decisionmaking processes, such as thought gathering, product development, data collection, and plan implementation, must include equitable engagement with an emphasis on capacity and partnership building and the holistic representation of the realities and perspectives of a community.
Credit: Rachelle Sanderson, Region Seven Watershed Coordinator, Capital Region Planning Commission.
Goal Five highlights some of the priority legal, planning, and policy considerations and actions regional and local governments in Region Seven might evaluate to better develop equitable and inclusive community engagement processes; identify priority data needs around flooding and affordable housing; and build regional governance structures and public-private-nonprofit-community partnerships. Conversely, this part does not approach crosscutting funding and financing considerations, which are discussed in another part of the Regional Vision.
Objective 5.1 highlights that to create effective solutions, planners and policymakers must create meaningful and equitable opportunities for community engagement before, during, and after the implementation of plans, laws, policies, and projects. Currently, not all jurisdictions are implementing best or emerging practice recommendations for meaningful and equitable community engagement. Additionally, many processes often end once planning is complete and governments fail to continue to work with communities on plan implementation, projects, or updates on progress. The long-term success of solutions turns on how effectively they can work for the residents they are intended to serve.
Objectives 5.2 and 5.3 discuss how parishes and municipalities should identify priority data needs to craft the best solutions for flooding and affordable housing. Currently, more data and analyses are needed to inform legal, planning, and policy decisions at the regional, parish, and municipal levels with the recognition that different stages of decisionmaking require certain types and scales of data. For example, some food risk data exists; however, it is often not presented in a forward-looking manner or format that is usable by government staff or the public. At the start of a decisionmaking process, policymakers should identify their priority data needs as aligned with resilience efforts and outcomes.
Objective 5.4 focuses on the importance of creating and maintaining regional entities and networks. As population shifts take place and extreme flooding events and other cross-boundary issues occur with greater frequency and intensity, regional and local governments should create and maintain regional entities and networks to learn from each other and work together to implement affordable housing and nature-based solutions. Regional entities and networks can create opportunities for regional planning, identifying regional priorities, and leveraging funding and other resources.
Objective 5.5 outlines the benefits of and need for building inclusive public-private-nonprofit-community partnerships. While the primary audience of the Regional Vision is regional and local policymakers, “greauxing” or growing resilience at home will necessitate collaborative work inside and outside government. Accordingly, establishing regional capacity-building and partnership opportunities between government, private, and nongovernmental stakeholders and community members is an important part of creating long-lasting solutions in communities. Private and nongovernmental organizations often have expertise and local knowledge that can help inform legal, planning, and policy decisions that will better support a community. Therefore, having all perspectives is a vital part of developing holistic solutions for communities.
Despite different focus across for each of these objectives, it is critical to remember that all this work must be centered around principles of procedural and substantive equity. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and low-income communities have historically and systemically been left out of conversations about where and how they want to live in Louisiana and nationally. The increasing frequency and intensity of extreme storms and flooding will disproportionately affect these communities, which are already facing significant economic and social challenges. It is important for regional and local policymakers to understand the historical, local, and personal context of the places they are engaging, and to support the leadership of overburdened and underresourced communities to shape decisionmaking and invest in the design and implementation of the programs and policies that they ask for and need.
Many of these considerations are similar to and adapted from those listed in Georgetown Climate Center’s Equitable Adaptation Legal and Policy Toolkit.
The parts that follow introduce the five objectives that were identified as priorities through the process to develop the Regional Vision. The objectives are also informed by informational interviews, case studies, and other resources to suggest how policymakers may evaluate and use them in practice. As such, this goal is shaped by five objectives detailed below. These five objectives, however, do not present an exhaustive list of all the challenges and complexities necessary to address engaging in an equitable community engagement process and creating partnerships. Policymakers may consider and see all or parts of their community in one, all, or some of the objectives.