A Climate-Smart Cities Partnership to Support LA’s Sustainable City pLAn

March 6, 2017

The Trust for Public Land today announced a partnership with the city of Los Angeles to help residents prepare for climate change.

The partnership is part of The Trust for Public Land’s commitment to support the city’s goals laid out in Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainable City pLAn: to improve climate change resilience and protect the most vulnerable against extreme heat, connect more residents to parks, lower the urban heat effect in the city, and protect coastal residents and businesses from rising sea levels.

The Trust for Public Land has developed a custom Decision Support Tool for a Climate-Smart Los Angeles, which uses existing national and local data and community priorities to help prioritize green infrastructure strategies. These strategies include local water sources, ensuring Angelinos live within a 10 minute walk of a park, and increasing the use of green infrastructure to reduce urban heat islands (urban portions of the City are 1.8-5.4 F degrees hotter than rural surroundings).

“Every neighborhood has unique potential to fight the effects of climate change with smart local strategies. L.A. is a leader in that work, and this new tool from the Trust for Public Land will help empower Angelenos to become the best possible stewards of our communities," said Mayor Garcetti. “Climate change affects everyone, and I’m grateful to the Trust for Public Land helping us better target our resources to meet the goals in my Sustainable City pLAn."

The online, interactive tool identifies regions, neighborhoods and sites where green infrastructure projects can cool the urban environment, capture storm water and recharge underground aquifers, facilitate walking and biking connections to transit and jobs, and protect populations who are vulnerable to climate change impacts.

The Trust for Public Land created the tool through an effort which included local City and Los Angeles County staff, along with community-based organizations and environmental and advocacy partners.

Development of The Trust for Public Land’s tool was supported by the MacArthur Foundation. With additional private support, including the Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation, the tool will be maintained and the portal’s data will be updated annually for the next 5 years and is available on the city’s GeoHub (https://geohub.lacity.org).

“The Los Angeles Climate-Smart Cities mapping tool will allow us to partner with the City to bring new and exciting resources to support the prioritization, design, funding, and delivery of multiple benefit green infrastructure projects like green alleys and school yards, bio swales, urban trails, parks, and community gardens” said Tori Kjer, Los Angeles Director for The Trust for Public Land. “Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainable City pLAn demonstrates the leadership we need from our cities to provide low-carbon solutions and promote healthy lifestyles while addressing the real impacts of climate change such as extended heat waves, drought, and air quality problems.”

The Trust for Public Land, through its Climate-Smart Cities program, has partnered with 20 other U.S. cities to bring national expertise and technical assistance to help cities strategically site and design parks, open space, and green infrastructure for climate mitigation and adaptation outcomes such as the South Los Angeles Green Alleys and Watts Serenity Park.

For example, after Superstorm Sandy hit New York in 2012, The Trust for Public Land’s Climate-Smart Cities program partnered with the city, Drexel University and Columbia University to develop an online mapping tool to identify high priority areas where parks, open space, and green infrastructure could increase resilience and protection from future storms.

The Trust for Public Land uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software to analyze data and develop maps that show where green infrastructure can help cities with climate resilience and equity issues. Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute), maker of the GIS platform the Trust leverages, is a key partner and supporter of the Trust’s Climate-Smart Cities and GIS program.

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.