2. Transportation

Resilient practices related to transportation and other critical services include integrating climate projections into designing new and retrofitting existing infrastructure, such as roads, highways, hospitals, and utilities, and improving and maintaining access to services during extreme events. Climate change and extreme weather events may result in infrastructure damage or destruction, restricted access to medical facilities, reduced capacity to provide medical services, and/or disruption in food and energy supplies for communities. In addition, vulnerable individuals may be affected by a lack of access to reliable daily transit options. Improving and expanding resilient options for vulnerable individuals and communities in service-limited areas in a changing climate is critical. Examples include incentivizing public transit use, climate-proofing facilities, and expanding access to local food sources in low-income and food-insecure neighborhoods.

    “Encourage developers to give free transit passes and charge for parking. Encourage cities to eliminate parking minimums in development standards in order to encourage more housing and discourage driving.”

    “[Create] amendments for urban agriculture ordinances and support to grow nutritious food locally, increase access to mental health networks for resiliency awareness and support, and [provide] energy efficiency support for property owners/renters.”

    “[Promote] use of public transportation. Residents relying on cars are less resilient if they are displaced.”

    “Updating and upgrading the electrical grid should be a nationwide priority, since the grid is affected by all types of extreme weather events from heat waves and extreme cold to storms.”


    Case Study Examples

    • Brooklyn’s Seagate Rehabilitation and Nursing Center (formerly known as the Shorefront Rehabilitation Center) is elevated almost 30 feet above ground to accommodate flooding. In addition, the facility’s emergency power supply is capable of maintaining power to all systems and equipment during power outages. During Superstorm Sandy, the center was able to withstand the floodwaters, the emergency power supply supported services for four days during the local power outage, and staff and patients were able to safely shelter in place during the storm due to the center’s sufficient supply of food and medical supplies.8
    • The neighborhood of South Madison is considered a food desert and healthy food access priority area in Madison, Wisconsin. The Center for Resilient Cities hosts the Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, which actively promotes urban agriculture and community gardens as a way to boost local food supply.9 Climate change is causing a northward shift of plant species and will likely increase drought stress and soil erosion. In response, the Center for Resilient Cities has initiated an effort to expand on-site infrastructure to accommodate more space for community and household gardens, host a local farm stand and monthly community meals, and plant and cultivate species likely to be found in the region even as the climate changes (e.g., dwarf fruit trees such as cherry, persimmon, and kiwi).
    • The City of Chicago was selected as one of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities and created a strategy to guide urban growth in light of climate change and socioeconomic problems such as income and housing inequities.10 The Resilient Chicago plan focuses on three pillars—Strong Neighborhoods, Robust Infrastructure, and Prepared Communities—in which the city will aim to increase its resilience. For example, the strategy calls for the development of a citywide urban agriculture plan to increase the supply of local nutritious food, create employment opportunities, and implement the Growing for Chicago Initiative to provide technical and financial assistance for local urban farmers. In addition, the Chicago Housing Authority, Department of Planning and Development, and Chicago Public Library are partnering to develop mixed-income developments co-located with public libraries in order to provide affordable housing, accessible library resources, and safe neighborhood centers that promote community connection and cohesion.
    • The Partnership for Southern Equity focuses on connecting communities and increasing quality of life through their Equitable Transit-Oriented Development program.11 For example, they are working with the Atlanta Regional Commission to engage community members in transit planning and understanding the transit needs of Atlanta’s residents so that the city can become less car-dependent while avoiding displacement.