Climate-Smart Cities

Climate-Smart Cities

To become more climate resilient, cities must restore natural functions of the land by weaving green elements into the built environment. The Trust for Public Land helps cities meet the climate challenge through conservation and design – from protecting waterfront parks and wetlands to creating green alleys and "water smart" playgrounds.

We focus on four aspects of greening America's cities to address climate change:

Connect—Linking walk-bike corridors at the city scale to create carbon-free transportation options for all residents.

Cool—Planting shade trees and creating new parks to lessen the urban "heat island effect" that drives increased summer energy use and worsens heat waves.

Absorb—Creating "water smart" parks and green alleys that manage storm water naturally to reduce flooding, save energy used for water treatment, and recharge drinking water supplies.

Protect—Establishing waterfront parks, wetlands, and other green shorelines to buffer low-lying cities from sea level rise, coastal storm surges, and other flood risks.

Our Work in Action

  • NY-NJ Harbor Estuary: In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, we are working with the City of New York and Columbia University to target new waterfront parks and restored wetlands to protect low lying neighborhoods, adding to our 600 acres of completed park and natural area projects in New York City's Hurricane Evacuation Zone.
  • Philadelphia and NYC Playgrounds: Our work to retrofit playgrounds as green infrastructure is helping restore natural function to inner city neighborhoods, replacing asphalt with trees, ball fields, and permeable pavements that absorb polluted stormwater and lessen flooding while cooling the surrounding environment.
  • New Orleans: Having led the redevelopment of City Park and restoration of highly absorptive wetlands at Jean Lafitte National Historic Park, we are now working with the City of New Orleans to identify low-lying vacant lands for redevelopment as stormwater retention parks and create the Lafitte Greenway, a new connecting corridor for walking and biking.