Planning American Cities – Assignment Instructions

This project is designed to allow you to synthesize what you have learned about planning American cities this semester. In it, you will pick a city, analyze its existing efforts related to climate change planning, and propose a future course of action for the city to improve its efforts. The particular tasks and guidelines are laid out below.

Introduction

  • Address the topic of the paper, why it is important, and preview some of your main points
  • Think about what your ‘hook’ is; that is, what will get the reader interested right from the beginning

 Background

  • Describe key features of your city’s geography, social and economic history, previous planning efforts,
    and other characteristics that might be relevant to its climate change planning efforts
  • Think of this as orienting a reader who knows little about your city to its situation today
  • For example, if your city is Houston, you’d talk about how it is close to the coast in a low-lying area
    vulnerable to floods and hurricanes; how it is a major oil industry city with boom and bust economic
    cycles; how it has vote Democratic in its urban areas but the region and state are quite politically
    conservative; how it does not have zoning, and so on.

Mitigation Efforts

  • Describe what efforts the city has undertaken to date to reduce its Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • This task will likely require looking at the city’s Climate Action Plan, Comprehensive Plan, Sustainability Plan or other related plans. You may also find it useful to look at the municipal website and the website of local organizations, newspaper articles, and other sources.

Adaptation Efforts

  • Describe what efforts the city has taken to date to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate
    change.
  • This task will likely require looking at the city’s Climate Action Plan, Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan
    or other related plans. You may also find it useful to look at the municipal website and the website of
    local organizations, newspaper articles, and other sources.

Gap analysis

  • Identify what you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the city’s climate planning efforts
  • Highlight the gaps in the planning that you feel need to be addressed in the next few years
  • For this task, you may find it helpful to look at some of the climate change planning guidance documents and links available on Blackboard in the Semester Project folder. These references will provide examples of what other cities in the US and elsewhere are doing (or what experts recommend that cities should do) that can help you identify what your city is not doing that it could be doing.

Goals, Data and Policies

  • Lay out some recommendations for
    • updating or adding mitigation and adaptation goals for the city;
    • identifying what types of data the city appears to need to be able to plan effectively; and c)
      innovative polices or actions the city should pursue to reduce emissions and risk
  • For this task, you also may find it helpful to look at the resources in the Semester Project folder on Blackboard.

Stakeholders, Implementation and Monitoring

  • Identify the
    • stakeholders that need to be involved in successful mitigation and adaptation planning
      (with a particular eye to identifying stakeholders that have not been involved to date that should be);
    • what you think some of the obstacles to implementing your recommended policies and actions will
      likely be; and
    • what things the city should monitor to track its progress over time.
  • For this task, you also may find it helpful to look at the resources in the Semester Project folder on
    Blackboard.

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