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GreenStep City Best Practices Resilient Economic & Community Development

Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience
no. 29

Plan and prepare for extreme weather, adapt to changing climatic conditions, and foster stronger community connectedness and social and economic vitality.
  Best Practice Action 3      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ]       [all actions]

Increase social connectedness through engagement, capacity building, public investment, and opportunities for economically vulnerable residents to improve their economic prosperity.

  • Twin Cities PBS (TPT) ECHO Program provides multilingual programming to empower Minnesota's non-English speaking immigrant and refugee communities. A Good, Safe Place to Live is available in Hmong, Karen, Somali, Spanish, and basic English. [Applicable to 1 Star implementation.]
  • The Racial Equity Toolkit provides best practices for engaging communities of color. Due to the historical reality of the role of government in creating and maintaining racial inequities, it is not surprising that communities of color do not always have much trust in government. In addition, there is a likelihood that other barriers exist, such as language, perception of being welcome, and lack of public transportation, or childcare. For communities with limited English language skills, appropriate language materials and translation must be provided. This Toolkit provides a step by step process using a results-based accountability framework for community engagement with underrepresented populations. [Applicable to 1 Star implementation.]
  • The U.S. Census Bureau's Opportunity Project expands access to opportunity for all Americans by putting data and digital tools in the hands of families, communities, and local leaders, to help them navigate information about the resources they need to thrive. Select the Affordable Housing Finder and enter the name of your community into the open opportunity data search box. When the map comes up, click on any location to find the median home value, school proficiency index, jobs proximity index, low transportation cost, low poverty index, and environmental health hazard exposure index. Through diversitydatakids.org check out How Affordable is Opportunity maps for the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area. [Applicable to 1, 2 and 3 Star implementation.]
  • The UM-Extension Model of Civic Engagement brings together experience, information and diverse perspectives in a respectful process, allowing communities to reach decisions that are more thoughtful, broadly supported and ultimately sustainable. [Applicable to 1 and 3 Star implementation.]
  • King County Equity & Social Justice Tools and resources include an Equity Impact Review (EIR) Tool plus access templates for community engagement, language access, and staff training on implicit bias. [Applicable to 1, 2 and 3 Star implementation.]
  • Building the Field of Community Engagement is a collaborative initiative that includes six core organizations in the Twin Cities with decades of community engagement experience. The website offers many useful resources: the Community Engagement Assessment Tool and Evaluation and Community Engagement and Everyone is an Evaluator plus more. [Applicable to 1 Star implementation.]
  • The Resilience Capacity Index explores how to quantify a region's capacity for resilience based on its qualities to cope with future challenges. It uses four indicators in each of three dimensions encompassing Regional Economic, Socio-Demographic, and Community Connectivity attributes. Provides useful information for a local conversation about what are the important indicators of resilience in your community. [Applicable to 1 Star implementation.]
  • Green Zones is an innovative policy to transform low-income communities impacted by multiple pollution sources into sustainable healthy neighborhoods. Get up-to-date information about implementation in Minneapolis and FAQs for the city's Green Zones Policy. [Applicable to 2 and 3 Star implementation.]
  • Grow Solar is a Midwest Partnership to Move Markets through training, technical assistance, pilot utility collaboration, permitting/planning/zoning, and solar project finance with the goal of creating jobs and growing solar energy installations. [Applicable to 2 Star implementation.]
  • Urban Agriculture: Programs and Policies in Minnesota provides case studies from communities across the state. [Applicable to 2 Star implementation.]
  • Better Futures Minnesota uses an evidence-based integrated-care approach to increase self-sufficiency of hard-to-employ men through participation in a work-training program and profit-generating reuse warehouse and supervised work crews that specialize in building deconstruction, building maintenance, appliance recycling, and janitorial services. [Applicable to 2 Star implementation.]
  • The Equitable Development Principles & Scorecard was created by Twin Cities, MN community leaders to make sure that the principles and practices of equitable development, environmental justice, and affordability are available to all communities as they plan for economic development and wealth creation that benefits everyone. [Applicable to 3 Star implementation.]
Conduct community engagement events specifically targeted to underserved populations, and take follow-up actions to resolve problems/vulnerabilities brought to the city’s attention.
Implement a program of targeted training, job placement, and/or supportive services specifically designed to meet identified needs of economically vulnerable residents in the community and improve their prosperity. (Examples include low-income solar or weatherization with workforce development; urban agriculture with workforce development; post-incarceration reentry assistance; culturally-appropriate mentoring and peer support programs.)
Implement a green zone policy (or other approach) that engages grassroots support for redevelopment of underserved neighborhoods to benefit existing residents (such as by reducing pollution sources, improving the condition of streetscapes to increase walkability, and providing long-term affordable commercial space for local small businesses owned by lower-income, immigrant, and/or minority residents).

Albert Lea

Date action report first entered:   02/22/2017
Date of last report update:   02/22/2017
Year action initially completed:   2015
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The Mayor, City Manager, and Assistant City Manager went door-to-door in two parts of town, asking residents what actions could be taken by the city to improve quality of life. If constituents had an issue, the three took notes and asked the appropriate staff to respond. The City also started a weekly e-newsletter and increased posting on social media.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The newsletter now has 900 subscribers. The City's Facebook following ballooned from 1,400 to 2,700. The program was also recognized by the Alliance for Innovation

Descriptive links: http://www.albertleatribune.com/2015/10/going-door-by-door-for-community-input/

For more information contact:
Jerry Gabrielatos (City staff)   |   jgabrielatos@ci.albertlea.mn.us   |   507-377-4316

View All Albert Lea Actions


Date action report first entered:   12/14/2016
Date of last report update:   12/14/2016
Year action initially completed:   2016
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
Austin implemented a targeted outreach effort to its most vulnerable residents (primarily immigrant populations), supported in part with a Best Practice 29 Event Sponsorship. Surveys (click on "view file" below to see the survey questions) were administered individually as African, Asian, and Latino clients came to the Welcome Center through late May and mid-June. These were people who typically did not speak English well, if at all. The surveys were read in the client’s language. Some guidance with regard to meaning was provided, but it was suggested that they answer questions to the best of their ability and understanding. A focus group addressing issues of living in the City, availability and quality of City services, extreme weather preparedness, and information sources was held June 30, 2016. Five Karen women volunteered for the focus group out of the groups surveyed, and all of the women participated in the conversation. Five Karen families were represented by one family member.

Outcome measures/metrics:
There were 54 surveys completed. A major outcome of the focus group was identifying the conflict between participants and their landlords. The interpreter expressed that she had heard similar feedback from other families. The participants related climate change more to seasonal change and how changes in temperature impact their budgets and choices, if any, with regard to housing. The City handed out SMART schedules to identify transit routes that will work for them. An idea for SMART to give a presentation to non-English speakers about how to utilize the system was well received. Information was provided to the interpreter on energy efficiency rebate programs. The fire and police departments were asked to provide the Welcome Center with materials on emergency and weather-related concerns. The Planning and Zoning Administrator will follow up on the housing issues discussed. The City will provide information from the survey and focus group to the City’s consultants to help achieve better communication and participation, improve the delivery of services and create more resiliency by creating better access and a working relationship to address problems when they arise.

            view file

Great Plains Institute

View All Austin Actions

Golden Valley

Date action report first entered:   12/05/2017
Date of last report update:   12/05/2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
In February of 2017, the City hosted two focus groups to gather feedback from the community for the development of its first Resilience and Sustainability Plan. The subject of one of these focus groups was supporting vulnerable populations in Golden Valley. The attendees of this focus group were all professionals who work to provide services to vulnerable populations in Golden Valley. Feedback provided by participants was incorporated into the objectives, policies, and strategies outlined in the City’s Resilience and Sustainability Plan, which was completed in July 2017. The City intends to continue this conversation and initiate actions to address the needs of vulnerable populations.

For more information contact:
Eric Eckman (City staff)   |   eeckman@goldenvalleymn.gov   |   763-593-8084

View All Golden Valley Actions

Inver Grove Heights

Date action report first entered:   07/07/2017
Date of last report update:   07/07/2017
Year action initially completed:   2010
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The City of Inver Grove Heights participates in Night to Unite, which is focused on in-person community engagement with residents by City Staff. During this event, the City's department heads visit neighborhoods throughout the city to have one-on-one conversations with residents. Staff answer residents' questions and listen to their complains, suggestions, or concerns. Staff also spread news regarding the city's goals and projects. The information collected from the community conversations is used to inform the city's planning of future goals and projects.

For more information contact:
Ally Hillstrom (City staff)   |   ahillstrom@invergroveheights.org   |   651-604-8511

View All Inver Grove Heights Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/29/2016
Date of last report update:   04/29/2016

Implementation details:
1. The City of Maplewood's Nature Center holds workshops and educational opportunities to teach residents practical skills in urban agriculture as part of the Edgerton Community Garden programming; trees as part of the City's requirements as a Tree City USA; and raingardens as part of our ongoing efforts to improve water quality through stormwater best practices. 2. In 2016 Maplewood began a partnership with Ramsey County to promote and offer space for monthly Fix It Clinics. The free events allow residents to get items repaired such as small equipment (such as a lamp or desktop radio) and small sewing projects (such as mending ripped pants). This allows residents to save money and reduces waste. 3. In 2015 Maplewood held a series of workshops at the Maplewood Community Center designed to build partnerships with local businesses. One of the workshops help in the spring of 2015 was a career day. Students from local high schools and collages were offered an opportunity to meet with local business staff to discuss their career goals, and get advice on moving forward with their education and career paths.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Number of events and attendees at workshops, educational opportunities, Fix It Clinics, and Career Day events.

Descriptive links: www.maplewoodmn.gov/nc

For more information contact:
Shann Finwall (City staff)   |   shann.finwall@maplewoodmn.gov   |   651-249-2304

Maplewood Nature Center, Ramsey County, Maplewood Community Center

View All Maplewood Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Laura Millberg, MBA, LEED AP BD+C, Sustainable Development and Climate Resilience Principal Planner, MN Pollution Control Agency: 651/757-2568, Laura.Millberg@state.mn.us, https://www.pca.state.mn.us/quick-links/community-resilience