Cincinnati Paves the Way for Equitable, Climate-Forward City Planning
CINCINNATI -- "Cincinnati, Ohio, is a midsize city that has attracted attention for its outsized climate action. In early 2020, Cincinnati contracted the nation’s largest municipal solar farm as part of its plan to convert the city government’s power usage to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. The 100 percent renewable energy goal is just one of 80 total recommendations in the 2018 Green Cincinnati Plan, which aims to reduce city carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 and implement a suite of other projects in the fields of environmental sustainability, environmental justice, and climate resilience. The plan, the third of its kind, acts as the city’s roadmap for climate and environmental action.
According to Carla Walker, Climate Advisor for the City of Cincinnati, the first Green Cincinnati Plan was born out of Cincinnati’s engagement with the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2008. The first plan focused primarily on carbon reduction and sustainability; the second, published in 2013, incorporated climate resilience; and the third and current plan has deepened its engagement with issues of equity and justice.
Beyond this expansion of focus areas, Oliver Kroner, the Sustainability Coordinator for the city's Office of Environment and Sustainability, says the plan has benefited from major advances in science, policy, and technology over the last 10 years. The city has also worked to create a more robust community engagement process, which is central to the creation of the plans.
...The city has made strides to center equity for underserved communities in its community engagement process. Savannah Sullivan, Climate and Community Resilience Analyst at OES, says the city is working on “centering equity within the work, not only with outcomes but also with processes.” She cited work with Groundwork USA on the city’s Climate Safe Neighborhoods project, which analyzes the relationship between historical patterns of urban racial segregation and climate risk to inform the development of participatory resilience plans in at-risk communities."
-- Joesph Glandorf, Environmental and Energy Study Institute