ULI has long been on the forefront of research and best practices for how the real estate, land use, and built environment sectors can address climate change through adaptation, resilience, and mitigation and is committed to helping our cities discover and implement best practice solutions to these challenges.
With support from JPMorgan Chase, ULI will be working with eight communities across the U.S., including Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Tampa Bay, to provide advisory services and technical assistance geared toward developing solutions to help communities prepare for and address a range of climate risks. In each community, the city will partner with the local ULI District Council to accomplish technical assistance related to land use, development, and resilience, and to work together through a peer learning program called the Resilient Land Use Cohort (RLUC).
Challenging environmental stresses affect the world’s urban areas, including increasingly frequent and intense rainfall, longer droughts, worsening wildfire seasons, and more frequent and severe heat waves. Today’s cities are particularly vulnerable given the compounded crises of potential climate events and the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and these crises put the most vulnerable communities, including low income communities and communities of color, at the greatest risk.
Cities which consider climate change sources and impacts in planning and decision-making will be the most prepared. Increasing equity is also key to enhancing resilience and addressing long-standing racial inequities, ensuring that those with fewer resources are protected.
While changing environmental conditions are visible everywhere, low-income communities, communities of color, and otherwise vulnerable communities are the most adversely impacted as their members are more likely to live in locations more vulnerable to climate events and have fewer resources to recover from major climate events. As a result of the pandemic, risk has increased and city response has become more challenging given fiscal impacts, public health concerns and challenges related to social distancing, and typical disaster preparedness practices such as evacuation and shelter management.
“Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges addressing cities today and has become all the more urgent as our cities and communities are also battling COVID-19. ULI’s Urban Resilience Program is eager to support cities at this difficult time and help build bridges between local ULI members, city leaders, and community-based groups.” said Katharine Burgess, vice president of the Urban Resilience Program. “Our work with cities will focus on how to assess climate vulnerabilities and enhance resilience through land use policy, resilient infrastructure, public private partnerships and other strategies.”
Through RLUC, ULI will work with cities via its advisory services and technical assistance panel programs, which galvanize the Institute’s member base to provide strategic, unbiased advice to cities on land use and real estate development issues. ULI panels bring real estate and land use professionals together to develop solutions to local land use challenges through dynamic, workshop-style engagements which include significant stakeholder involvement. In order to assist implementation of each expert panel’s recommendations, ULI will also provide long-term coaching and follow-up within the communities. ULI also plans to bring together city staff from all seven communities and ULI’s District Council network through the Cohort, to share lessons learned and strategies to leverage implementation.
In addition to these community-specific panels and ongoing assistance, the grant will enable ULI to produce reports, presentations, and other communications on best practices. Through JPMorgan Chase’s partnership, ULI can help communities address the impacts and sources of climate change and consider climate change impacts in planning and decision-making.