What it's about:
As shocks ranging from floods to financial crises continue to disrupt communities, some neighbourhoods have found that the upheaval can bring unexpected – and positive – results.
Sunset Park, a waterfront neighbourhood in Brooklyn, was hit by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. A grassroots environmental justice group called UPROSE came up with a plan to re-build their town while incorporating climate resilience rather than relying solely on the industries which they feared had previously polluted their local environment. In taking this approach they were able to transform Sunset Park’s industrial space into a manufacturing hub that produces eco-friendly building and construction materials, is powered by renewable energy and creates local jobs.
Similar neighbourhood-led projects have taken place in Buffalo, New York, where a vacant property block was re-designed into a 25-square Green Development Zone providing energy-efficient and affordable housing.
In Richmond, California, too, a community in the shadows of a Chevron oil refinery, a coalition has organised forums and rallies, held roundtables for decision makers, and encouraged public participation at planning meetings. In doing so, its residents have reshaped their city’s General Plan and emphasised green industries.
Why it's noteworthy:
“Connectedness” and “equity” are put forward by the authors as the two main signposts to build community resilience.
Connectedness is the recognition that our well-being is inextricably linked to that of others and the planet itself, while equity is about building power from the bottom up and fully engaging communities.
These principles have been translated into concrete action in three U.S. neighbourhoods and can be applied to cities around the world, as communities are increasingly taking the initiative to build resilience to shocks and stresses.
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