Authors: Garlen Capita, Zoe Cennami, Keiko Cramer, Zuzanna Drozdz, Charles Neer, Amie Patel, William Wellington, Shuning Zhao
Empowered Adaptations is a replicable methodology that uses a data-driven decision-making tool to help communities and policymakers identify innovative strategies, prioritize initiatives, and direct resources to support equity and resilience in climate mitigation and adaptation work. The tool ensures a holistic approach to reducing carbon emissions through socially equitable interventions that stabilize communities.
The tool uses the four lenses: [Equity], [Land Use + Transportation], [Environment], and [Community + Social Capital] to develop metrics to identify priority investment areas and assess potential intervention impacts. Mapping highlights areas with the greatest need and the greatest opportunities for catalytic and sustainable change across the four lenses. A toolkit of interventions for each of these four lenses draws from best practices to mitigate the risks that additional environmental stresses may place on already burdened communities and to increase social equity while reducing “whole community” carbon footprint. This toolkit provides inputs for the scenario builder which assesses options for advancing a carbon neutral future without the human and environmental toll that can accompany urban sustainability initiatives. The scenario builder assesses potential interplays between interventions--where some tools might multiply or invert the effects of other tools, or where the positive impacts of one intervention on some lenses might be counteracted by unintended negative impacts on others. This assessment of interplays identifies social/equity interventions that can be instituted to mitigate the potential displacement impacts that a carbon footprint can have on a community, ensuring that all populations can benefit from a cleaner, greener, and safer environment.
Building on the WRT Team’s strength in systems-based planning and design and the firm’s foundational work on Green Plan Philadelphia and Green City Clean Waters, we propose a studio to develop a data-driven decision-making tool to help communities and policymakers identify innovative strategies, prioritize initiatives, and direct resources to support equity and resilience. And illustrate how the tool can be applied to the specific Philadelphia context and create a demonstration project that demonstrates how the Green New Deal objectives can be applied.