USDN Innovation Products on Community Engagement

Table of Contents

Innovation Lab - Concept Developing and Prototyping: Learning resources to understand the topic.

Innovation Lab - Refinement: Tools and guides to inform developing programs.

Adoption Accelerator - Standards Emerging and Scaling: Implementation examples to show how it is being done


Innovation Lab - Concept Developing and Prototyping:

Learning resources to understand the topic.

Collaborating for Climate Preparedness - Insights from a 2015 Workshop: A 2015 workshop of local government and community organization representatives about how they can better collaborate within local communities to enhance climate preparedness and equity, highlighting secrets to successful collaborations and examples of collaboration for climate preparedness. (USDN Special Project, 2016).
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Seattle Extreme Heat Scenario-Based Pilot-Project in Frontline Communities - Racial Equity Evaluation: A pilot program in Seattle to understand how these municipal agencies can better support low-income communities and communities of color during extreme heat events. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2016).
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Behavior Wedge Profile Model 1.0: This report documents a low-cost means for developing city-specific assessments of behavior-based energy and carbon reduction opportunities. The product of this approach is a city-specific Behavior Wedge Profile that highlights local opportunities and targets that can guide behavior-based strategies. (USDN Special Project, 2013). 
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Community Based Social Marketing Campaign - Cold Water Wash: A multi-city campaign to foster sustainable behavior in residents through a cold water wash program. (USDN Special Project, 2013). 
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Community Based Social Marketing Campaign - Employee Computer Shutdown: A multi-city campaign to use community based social marketing to foster sustainable behavior through an employee computer shut down program. (USDN Special Project, 2013)
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Innovation Lab - Refinement: Tools and guides to inform developing programs.

From Community Engagement to Ownership: This project developed an engagement plan with case studies so that city staff and frontline communities of color can work together towards racially equitable decision-making. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2019)
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Inspiring Local Action through Sustainable Marketing: Phase 2: Through this phase two project, ten diverse cities successfully applied the 2017 Innovation Fund Marketing for Action framework to develop strategic marketing campaigns and test scalability. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2019)
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Responsible Events - A Framework for AchievementThis project enabled USDN members and partners to create a resource kit, complete with tools, templates, and best practices. This library of responsible sporting materials, is designed to assist cities as they build their ‘event ecosystem’, predicated on a transparent global event sustainability standard, that will assist events in supporting local community goals for jobs, social cohesion, safety, culture, and sustainability. Due to the volume of material, only the Best Practice Guidebook and its appendices are available for download on this site. Access this curated set of resources on the City of Eugene’s Responsible Events page, here.  (USDN Innovation Fund, 2018)
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Marketing for Action Guidebook: This project enabled USDN core members and partners to leverage an existing prototype to develop and scale a customized training on the basics of marketing for sustainability directors. The ensuing guidebook describes marketing fundamentals that any sustainability director can use to create and shape a strong local behavior change campaign. It plots a course for city sustainability teams to apply modern best practice marketing techniques to the objective of improving the environmental behaviors of its residents. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2017)
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Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) for Drought Response in California:  USDN-affiliated regional network Green Cities California (GCC) adapted a USDN Innovation Fund project on community based social marketing to address drought response for staff members who are primarily responsible for municipal water programs. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2016).
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Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) in the Southeast: The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) collaborated to (1) plan, develop, and implement a CBSM campaign by providing expert-level educational resources tailored to each community; (2) foster sustainable behavior within participating communities; and (3) record and communicate insights on the CBSM methodology to the entire regional network. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2016)
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GHG Reduction RFI and Evaluation Toolkit: A customizable toolkit for cities to engage a broad set of stakeholders, technical assistance providers, and innovators in identifying and implementing actionable greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategies and create a means of evaluating costs and benefits of various strategies. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2016).
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RentRocket - Building Energy Tool: A prototype rental housing website that aims to (1) help renters consider sustainability factors (such as utility costs) alongside other factors (such as rent) when making housing decisions and (2) help landlords recognize the value of sustainability investments as a marketable asset. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2016).
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Municipal Workplace and Neighborhood Challenge: A sophisticated online template to allow USDN members to efficiently launch turnkey neighborhood and workplace sustainability challenges, including web-based applications with customizable homepages and bank-end functionalities for each participating community, as well as an implementation manual with strategies for other municipalities. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2016). 
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New England Design and Resiliency Teams: A collaborative effort to help the New England Municipal Sustainability Network (NEMSN) create Design and Resiliency Teams (DARTs) to help Providence RI and Belchertown MA identify strategic and paradigm shifting resiliency opportunities and to catalyze action. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2016).
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Social Networking Tools Guidebook and Case Studies: A guide to using web-based social networking tools for interactive community engagement. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2012). 
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Adoption Accelerator - Standards Emerging and Scaling: Implementation examples to show how it is being done.


The Save Our Sons Jobs Project: Advancing Equity and Opportunity for Knoxville’s Youth of Color:
A project to align partners in Knoxville to advance opportunities for youth of color to succeed more equitably in local green and traditional economies. (Partners for Places, 2019)
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Equity in Climate Action: Resilient Communities for a Sustainable City in New Orleans, LA: A project to engage the community in making equity a priority in implementation of the City of New Orleans’ Climate Action Strategy and to help the City meet the strategy’s climate mitigation goals equitably. (Partners for Places, 2019)
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Community Climate Action Planning Initiative in Bend, OR: A project to engage diverse stakeholders to co-create a community climate action plan (C-CAP) with innovative strategies that balance equity, efficiency and meaningful climate benefits. (Partners for Places, 2019)
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Equity in Climate Action: Resilient Communities for a Sustainable City in New Orleans, LA: A project to engage the community in making equity a priority in the implementation of the City of New Orleans’ Climate Action Strategy and to help the City meet the strategy’s climate mitigation goals equitably. (Partners for Places, 2019)?
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Healthy Homes Neighborhood Pilot in Newark, NJ: A project to develop and implement scalable strategies for promoting healthier, more energy-efficient homes through a pilot targeting children under six exposed to lead in two target neighborhoods. (Partners for Places, 2019)
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People for Parks - Community School Parks in Los Angeles, CA: A project to open vibrant school playgrounds to the public in underserved Los Angeles; empower low-income residents through enhanced community engagement; and advance local joint-use policies. (Partners for Places, 2019).
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Using Trees as Green Infrastructure for Economic, Social and Environmental Outcomes in St. Louis: A project to employ teens and to host neighborhood tree-planting events to help address stormwater management while also enhancing tree canopy, reducing heat island impact, and strengthening community relations (Partners for Places, 2018).
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Creating a Unified Community Vision for the Future of Syracuse’s Urban Forest: A project to create a public outreach campaign for urban forest master planning (Partners for Places, 2018).
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Chicago Green Living Program in Chicago, IL: A project to create a residential package of all of the beneficial energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste & recycling, transportation, and other “green” programs that the City offers and to connect low and moderate income residents to this package of offerings (Partners for Places, 2018).
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Junior Sustainability Stewards Program in Broward County, FL: A project to bring knowledge around climate and environmental justice topics to underrepresented youth by introducing at-risk students to STEM/environmental citizen science, experimentation, mentoring, scholarships and a career path toward environmental science or advocacy/policy making (Partners for Places, 2018).
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Net Zero Program Excellence – A Community of Practice in Australia - This project engaged a cohort of Australian cities to align around the application of a values-based approach to communication and engagement. This approach is designed to catalyse action for net-zero carbon outcomes. Three successful workshops facilitated a learning environment that resulted in tools to enable city campaign planning. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2018)
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Design and Resiliency Teams (DARTs) Phase 2 - Dubuque, Fraser, Southern Nevada, and Vinalhaven: This project implemented a phase two of Design and Resiliency Teams (DARTs). Four community reports are posted here. Reports from phases 1 and 2 can also be found on this website. Outcomes from both phases reflect an interest in the DART’s unique approach and DART’s ability to help advance community conversations around resilience. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2018)
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Bringing Renewable Thermal Solutions to Scale in New England: This project developed and implemented pilot programs designed to expand the early adoption of renewable thermal in the existing residential building stock in New England. It created market analysis and campaign design methodologies, and summarized campaign findings so other cities can use lessons learned as they follow suit. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2018)
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Increasing Energy Efficiency in Low-income Neighborhoods in Chattanooga: A project to expand a successful program that helps low-income neighborhoods – which use 43 percent more energy per square foot during the winter than the city’s average home – increase their energy efficiency. Residents will be encouraged to create their own locally-based solutions (Partners for Places, 2016).
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Carbon Reduction Efforts Benefit Low-Income Neighborhoods in Portland, OR: A project to help this city ensure that its successful efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions directly benefit low-income neighborhoods by supporting a resident-led Community Energy Plan in the Cully neighborhood. Portland has seen impressive results from its carbon-reduction efforts – in 2014 per person emissions were 40 percent below 1990 levels – and seeks to support historically underserved communities in implementing low-carbon investments and solutions (Partners for Places, 2016).
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Farmers’ Markets Help Low-Income Residents Purchase Healthy, Local Food in Minneapolis:
A project to strengthen the local food system by helping Minneapolis’ 35 farmers’ markets work together, collect metrics on their impact and conduct a joint “Minneapolis Buy Local” marketing campaign. In addition, the program will expand an innovative program at the West Broadway Farmers Market’s that incentivizes low-income residents to purchase healthy foods by having doctors give patients food prescriptions (Partners for Places, 2016).
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Equity and Environment Initiatives Progress in Seattle: A project to implement the city’s Equity & Environmental Agenda, a roadmap to ensure that people of color, immigrants, refugees and those with low-income and limited English proficiency both lead and benefit from the city’s environmental progress. Unveiled in April, the agenda provides goals and strategies so that the city, funders, environmental organizations and the private sector can work together with the community for change. Funding will support community participation in a new Environmental Justice Committee and support pilot projects with communities of color that demonstrate environmental justice in action (Partners for Places, 2016).
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Improving the Food-Based Economy for Latino Residents in Tucson: A project to help the mostly Latino residents of the La Doce neighborhood strengthen their food-based economy by having citizen folklorists trained in ethnographic research assess local needs. The study will look at the informal economy and what home-based food businesses exist, how they and local supermarkets are faring, and what these businesses need to thrive. As UNESCO named Tucson a City of Gastronomy last year, honoring its rich food culture, the city wants to enhance the local food economy in neighborhoods (Partners for Places, 2016).
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Green Infrastructure in Low-Income Neighborhoods in Bridgeport CT: A project to engage residents in developing a plan to create more tree canopy, open spaces and stormwater solutions that will reduce flooding in a low-income area of this city. (Partners for Places, 2016).
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Austin 2030 District: A project to launch the Austin 2030 District, a voluntary initiative to reduce energy and water consumption and carbon emissions from Austin buildings. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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Cincinnati Food Fund and Fellowships: A project to enhance and strengthen Cincinnati’s regional food system through civic engagement, new policies, and creation of a Cincy Food Fund and food fellowships. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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Education and Engagement on Energy Efficiency: A community engagement campaign to empower disadvantaged residents in Knoxville to reduce utility bills through energy efficient behavior and cost-effective upgrades. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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Engagement through Arts and Community Organizing in Madison WI: A project to utilize the arts and community organizing to empower residents of diverse neighborhoods to identify and pursue neighborhood sustainability goals. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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Neighborhood Resiliency in Baltimore MD: A project to increase and enhance resiliency in neighborhoods most vulnerable to the impacts of natural hazards and climate change. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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Residential Climate Change Adaptation in Cleveland OH: A project to mitigate and adapt to climate change by engaging residents in improving tree canopy, transportation mode shift, and entrepreneurship, delivering tangible outcomes for neighborhood resilience and equity. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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Stamford 2030 District: A resilient, high-performance building district in downtown Stamford with goals to dramatically reduce demand for energy and water resources and increase resiliency by 2030. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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Vulnerable Populations Outreach Program in Bloomington IN: A project towards establishing and enhancing programs which assist vulnerable populations and create an outreach coordinator position to help meet Bloomington's new residential energy reduction goal. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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A Chinatown Community Engagement Program in San Francisco: An effort to engage immigrant and monolingual communities to identify strategies to sustain Chinatown's unique culture and affordability by raising the environmental performance of the neighborhood’s infrastructure and buildings. (Partners for Places, 2014). 
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A Resident-Led Sustainability Demonstration Project in Toledo OH: A resident-led demonstration project in the Overland Park neighborhood that mobilized citizens to promote sustainability in their neighborhood. (Partners for Places, 2014). 
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Community Engagement for Transit-Oriented Development in San Diego: A community engagement effort during the planning phase for light rail stations along the Mid-Coast light rail line extension. (Partners for Places, 2014). 
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CoMo Energy Challenge in Columbia MO: An overview of Columbia's CoMo Energy Challenge program.  (Partners for Places, 2014). 
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Dashboard of Neighborhood Assets and Sustainability Metrics in Memphis and Shelby County: An interactive dashboard for Memphis and Shelby County citizens mapping neighborhood assets, indicators, and metrics. (Partners for Places, 2014). 
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Diverse Participation in Environmental Progress in Seattle WA: A project to create opportunities for all residents, especially people of color, immigrants, refugees, low-income, and those with limited-English proficiency, to fully participate in and benefit from Seattle’s environmental progress. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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Philadephia Food Policy Council: A project to sustain and exapand the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council. (Partners for Places, 2014). 
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Resident Empowerment through Urban Agriculture in Milwaukee: A resident empowerment program that repurposes vacant lots to support local food production and distribution. (Partners for Places, 2014). 
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Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Education in Buffalo NY: A community engagement campaign about stormwater management and green infrastructure projects. (Partners for Places, 2014). 
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Clean Air Social Marketing Campaign in Salt Lake City UT: Clean Air Neighborhoods, a neighborhood-based social marketing campaign to help individuals negotiate barriers to alternative transportation. (Partners for Places, 2013).
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Energy and Climate Action Implementation in Oakland CA: A project to engage community organizations and residents in the implementation of the City of Oakland’s Energy and Climate Action Plan. (Partners for Places, 2013). 
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Groundswell's Community Power Program in Baltimore MD: Expanding Groundswell’s Community Power Program in Baltimore, to help community institutions and low-income families access sustainable power, build connections, and save money on electricity bills. (Partners for Places, 2013). 
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Sustainable Dubuque Initiative: A project to build new connections between Dubuque’s sustainability efforts (Sustainable Dubuque) and low-income families living in at-risk neighborhoods through the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI). (Partners for Places, 2013).
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