Best Practice Action Detail

Best Practice Action 29.3

GreenStep City Best Practices: Resilient Economic and 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

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

  • Generate and download a Populations at Risk report for your city based upon current socioeconomic data (note: sometimes estimated) on Young & Elderly Populations, Race & Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, Language Proficiency, Individuals in Poverty, Families in Poverty, Households Receiving Public Assistance, Labor Participation, Housing Affordability, Rental & Mobile Homes, Potentially Vulnerable Households, Potentially Vulnerable People.
  • The Racial Equity Toolkit (Government Alliance on Race and Equity: 2016) provides best practices for engaging communities of color, and is being used by the League of MN Cities.
  • 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. 
  • See The National Civic League's Civic Index, a self-assessment tool comprising 32 questions that measure and help discussion of a community’s civic capital – the formal and informal relationships, networks and capacities that communities use to make decisions and solve problems.   
  • Green Zones have been created in Minneapolis neighborhoods and in other cities to engage low-income communities in environmental justice improvements. 
  • 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. 
1 star Conduct community engagement events specifically targeted to under-served populations, and take follow-up actions to resolve problems/vulnerabilities brought to the city’s attention.
2 star 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.)
3 star Implement a green zone policy (or other approach) that engages grassroots support for redevelopment of under-served neighborhoods to benefit existing residents.

Who's doing it

Albert Lea - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
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 File:
For more information contact:
Jerry Gabrielatos (City staff) | jgabrielatos@ci.albertlea.mn.us | 507-377-4316
Partners:
Austin - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
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.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Partners: Great Plains Institute
Golden Valley - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
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.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Eric Eckman (City staff) | eeckman@goldenvalleymn.gov | 763-593-8084
Partners:
Inver Grove Heights - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
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.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ally Hillstrom (City staff) | ahillstrom@invergroveheights.org | 651-604-8511
Partners:
Maplewood - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
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 File:
For more information contact:
Shann Finwall (City staff) | shann.finwall@maplewoodmn.gov | 651-249-2304
Partners: Maplewood Nature Center, Ramsey County, Maplewood Community Center