Town of Madison Hazards and Community Resilience Workshops: Summary of Findings

The need for municipalities, regional planning organizations, the state and federal agencies to increase resilience and adapt to extreme weather events and mounting natural hazards is strikingly evident along the coast of Connecticut. Recent events such as Tropical Storm Irene, the Halloween Snow Storm, and Storm Sandy have reinforced this urgency and compelled leading communities like the Town of Madison to proactively plan and mitigate potential risks through a community-driven process. Ultimately, this type of leadership is to be commended because it will reduce the exposure of Madison’s citizens, infrastructure and ecosystems and serve as a model for communities across Connecticut, the Atlantic Seaboard, and the Nation.

The summary of findings transcribed in this report, like any that concern the evolving nature of risk assessment and associated action are proffered for comments, corrections and updates from workshop participants and additional stakeholders alike. The Town of Madison’s exemplary leadership on hazards and community resilience will benefit from the continuous and expanding participation of all those concerned. 

Madison, Connecticut Hazards and Community Resilience Workshops

Location

Madison Town Campus
8 Campus Drive
06443 Madison , CT
United States
41° 17' 44.232" N, 72° 34' 35.0328" W
Connecticut US
Organization: 
Summary: 

The Madison Hazards and Community Resilience Workshops: Summary of Findings report is the culmination of an engagement process focused on comprehensively reducing risk and improving resilience in the Town of Madison, Connecticut through a community-driven process. This effort identified the top priority adaptation actions for the town derived through stakeholder consensus.

City of Benicia Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan

Location

94510 Benicia , CA
United States
38° 2' 57.714" N, 122° 9' 30.8808" W
California US
Summary: 

Benicia is a waterfront community in the San Francisco Bay Area. The city is home to a thriving arts community, beautiful weather and scenic vistas, a downtown full of charming boutiques and antique shops, and an industrial park and port that provide jobs to Benicia residents. However, all of this is threatened by the impacts of future climate change. Sea level rise, storm surge, and extreme temperatures are projected to increase significantly over the coming decades.

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The coastal City of Benicia is located in Solano County, California.

The Community Sustainability Commission (CSC)

Ready for Tomorrow: The City of Salem Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment & Adaptation Plan

Salem recognizes the importance of being prepared for climate change and has produced this Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan (Plan). The Plan investigates some of the most serious climate change impacts, the resulting stresses to different sectors in the City, and outlines project ideas to address some of the most critical issues. The goal for this plan is to identify immediate, actionable adaptation priorities, and incorporate these into existing and future projects and policies. This will make Salem a more resilient City and a great place to live, work, and visit for years to come.

Ensuring Social Equity in Preparing for Climate Change

Climate change is impacting communities of color disproportionately. To respond to these challenges, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Environmental and Climate Justice Program is working to educate communities on adapting to climate change. Jacqui Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, discusses her work on equity indicators and applications. Branden Johnson, President of the NAACP Longview Chapter, Vik Verma, Chair of the Safe Inviting Green Neighborhoods (SIGNS) Initiative, and Katherine Egland, NAACP Board Environmental and Climate Justice Committee Chair, also discuss how these innovative indicators are being applied in the planning of newly formed Eco-Districts in Longview, TX and Gulfport, MS.

This is the sixth installment of the National Adaptation Webinar Series, sponsored by EcoAdapt and hosted by CAKE.

For other NAF webinar recordings, visit www.cakex.org/NAF/webinars.

Building the Resilient City: A ULI Conference Report

The Urban Land Institute convened its first major meeting focused on resilience on September 4–5, 2014. The San Francisco conference brought together several hundred leading real estate, development, finance, planning, and policy professionals to explore strategies for building resilient cities.

Over two days in San Francisco, ULI and its Urban Resilience Program showcased the Institute’s ongoing engagement and commitment to resilience. ULI recognizes that bold leadership is needed to foster more resilient and more energy-efficient cities around the world. Gatherings such as the Building the Resilient City conference are an important part of ULI’s mission to transform markets, catalyze innovations, and share cutting-edge knowledge related to urban resilience.

The Building the Resilient City conference was a foundational experience for ULI and its members. But make no mistake: the conference was only an important first step in ULI’s long-term efforts to foster resilient cities. Like ULI’s work following Superstorm Sandy, the dialogue that took place in San Francisco is giving shape to the Urban Resilience Program and is helping frame a broader suite of activities under ULI’s Center for Sustainability.

This report not only presents the conference’s key takeaways, but also delves deeper into the ideas and projects discussed there to provide a lasting resource and help extend the dialogue on resilience.

What the Real Estate Industry Needs to Know about the Insurance Industry and Climate Change

The insurance industry's keen interest in climate change goes back decades. Evan Mills, a climate change researcher at the University of California who specializes in the financial services sector, explains that climate change is a “stress test” for the insurance industry because “insurers abhor unquantified and unpriced risks, as well as market distortions” introduced by public policy makers.

For many insurance products, including property and business continuity insurance, climate change upends the notion that experience is a good predictor of future losses. Climate change’s destabilizing effects are also likely to increase the political pressure on governments to intervene in insurance markets.

The insurance industry has accepted a leadership role that reaches beyond the world of insurance. Climate change experts and policy makers have long recognized that the insurance industry holds a significant reservoir of needed skills and knowledge. Not only does the industry possess in-depth knowledge of extreme weather and its associated risks, but it also advances expertise in risk modeling, scenario building, and the alignment of incentives with desired actions. The insurance industry is positioned to communicate climate change’s risks and promote adaptation to its unavoidable consequences. This includes developing new insurance products.

This review of the insurance industry and climate change examines why the real estate industry can be increasingly confident in the stability and resilience of the insurance industry. Indeed, the real estate industry may even learn from the insurance industry’s advances in developing risk standards and tools for modeling and scenario analysis. In a world shaped by climate change, however, maintaining the insurability of individual properties is not a given. Unless owners and societies take steps to reduce their exposure to the damages and losses associated with extreme weather, the overall affordability and availability of insurance will be affected.

The Urban Implications of Living with Water

How does one protect and enhance the value of a real estate asset, community, and infrastructure as the climate changes and sea levels rise?

Building on the climate preparedness work done for the Mayor of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission, ULI Boston’s “The Urban Implications of Living with Water” charrette was convened as an opportunity to explore resilient design solutions for development in the region. The charrette explored how to help land owners, developers, designers, and public officials act to protect their assets and communities from the risks associated with sea level rise and climate change.

The issues focused on what ULI members and those involved in the industry can begin to do now to protect the quality of the urban experience and respond to the significant changes that are expected in the coming years.

Sea level rise implications for the Greater Boston region are significant, as a substantial percentage of these communities not only are bound by water but were also built on former marshlands which are susceptible to instability when saturated with water. Some or all of these areas may well be flooded twice daily during high tide by the end of the century, and more frequently during severe storms in the coming years. “The Urban Implications of Living with Water” charrette, a ULI Resiliency Grant project funded by The Kresge Foundation, embraces sea level rise, exploring the development opportunities for four urban typologies with distinctly different challenges.

Four sites in and around Boston were chosen for their similarities as well as their differences, and are meant to represent typologies rather than site-specific solutions. The intent was for the issues raised and solutions proposed to be replicable and have wider applicability beyond these given locations. For each site, interdisciplinary teams of ULI members were assembled that included expertise in development, finance, design, and insurance. They were teamed up with city leaders and local experts to expose opportunities for, and barriers to, climate preparedness.

The critical questions each team sought to address were:

  • What types of resilient strategies could be implemented over time, to upgrade and protect existing buildings and properties within the district?
  • How can we develop new urban design solutions that address both sea level rise and more frequent storm events while maintaining a vibrant streetscape?
  • How do we pay for this and what is the cost of doing nothing?
  • What barriers to resiliency planning currently exist at the local, state, and/or federal levels?
  • What development opportunities arise if we strategically rethink our relationship with water?