While climate change affects us all, it hits families living paycheck to paycheck the hardest. In a world of growing inequities, it is not mere coincidence that the poorest among us not only live and work in areas most prone to flooding, heat waves, and other climate change effects but are also least resourced to prepare adequately for and withstand those impacts. Fortunately, city officials and community leaders across the country are taking steps to improve climate change resilience, along with addressing associated economic, racial, and social equity issues. Progress is most notable in the following cities, each of which is featured in this report: Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; Berkeley, California; Boston, Massachusetts; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; New Bedford, Massachusetts; New York City, New York; Newark, New Jersey; Oakland, California; Portland, Oregon; San Jose, California; Seattle, Washington; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Toledo, Ohio; and Washington, D.C.
Along with those examples, this report offers recommendations for mayors on designing and implementing strategies to build just and resilient cities and to create new economic opportunities for many of the people left behind by recent economic booms. The report findings reveal that climate change policies and preparedness strategies are most effective, and draw the most support from residents and community groups, if they are designed through inclusive processes and address the intersecting problems of racial, income, and environmental inequalities. In addition, climate solutions are the most successful when city leaders partner with community groups to set priorities and shape those solutions. By embracing strategies that support pathways to a just economy while reducing extreme weather, flooding, and other climate change risks, city officials can expand access to living wages and safe jobs, quality schools and affordable housing, and safe and sustainable neighborhoods.