Mission: To explore the relationship between historical race-based housing segregation and the current and predicted impacts of climate change.
Background: Research has found that climate change threatens to make many communities hotter and wetter than they've ever been. Yet not all neighborhoods in a city will suffer the same social, health, and financial consequences. Indeed, many communities subject to "redlining" and other racially-driven housing practices in the 1930s and 1940s are most at risk today for experiencing extreme heat and flooding. In these communities, the use of extensive impermeable pavement and lack of tree canopy increases the risk of flooding and amplifies the urban phenomenon known as the heat island effect. Groundwork USA, a network of local organizations dedicated to transforming the natural and built environment of low-resource communities, created the Climate Safe Neighborhoods initiative to explore the relationship between historical race-based housing segregation and the current and predicted impacts of climate change. Through the initiative, Groundwork Trusts in Denver, Colorado; Elizabeth, New Jersey; Pawtucket and Central Falls, Rhode Island; Richmond, Virginia; and Richmond, California, work closely with residents and stakeholders to organize, mobilize, and effect systems change aimed at making their communities more resilient to extreme heat and flooding.
Outstanding Web Features: Visitors to the site can use the vertical slide-in menu to jump to individual sections dedicated to four of the five Trust cities (Richmond, California, is under development). Each section provides information on that city's resiliency planning and advocacy efforts, an overview of how race and climate change in that city intersect, and an overview of historical segregation and ecological risk patterns in that city. Visitors to the site can also learn what the Trusts are doing to organize residents for change (through legislative means at the ballot box and communication by involved citizens); check out profiles that break down the ethnic composition of neighborhoods in that city and map the impervious surface, tree canopy cover, and land surface temperature against the number of households in poverty; and/or learn more about getting involved in the effort.