To be more climate resilient, cities need to restore natural functions of the land by weaving green elements into the built environment. The Trust for Public Land's Climate-Smart Cities™ effort 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.
Climate-Smart Cities™ in action
We're applying our "connect-cool-absorb-protect" strategy to a number of pilot projects that demonstrate these principles in action at the city scale. Each of our pilots has engaged city leaders, academic institutions, and community groups in a collaborative and science-based approach.
Working with the City of Kirkland, Washington, we're modeling walk-bike networks to reduce carbon emissions. This pilot is developing an optimized system of access points and connecting greenways along Kirkland's 5.75-mile segment of the 42-mile Eastside Rail Corridor.
We've partnered with the City of Los Angeles, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and Arizona State University to advance a green alleys strategy for heat island mitigation, stormwater management, and walk-bike corridors in the most concrete-bound sections of the city.
Together with the City of New York, Columbia University, and Drexel University, we're creating green buffers, like wetlands and waterfront parks, to protect the city from future storm events.