USDN Innovation Products on Social Equity

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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Deep Carbon Reductions in the Transport Sector - Impacts on Affordability and Displacement: A case study on Portland OR and the impact of deep carbon reductions in transportation on displacement and gentrification, including household research on the neighborhood, a literature review on transit-oriented development and gentrification, a rental properties typology report, a memo on population change, and an emissions summary. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2016).
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Equity and Sustainability Scan: A scan of best practices for how local governments have defined equity and incorporated it in sustainability programming, lessons they have learned, innovative tools they can use, and opportunities to collaborate to build on these successes. (USDN Special Project, 2014). 
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Innovation Lab - Refinement: Tools and guides to inform developing programs.


Ensuring Equity in Energy Transformation and Innovation: 
This project developed actionable resources for local governments and partners to use in advancing social equity in clean energy program design and implementation in their communities. Products included a guidebook for equitable clean energy program design, an inventory of best practice programs and four in-depth case studies. This work outlines a path forward for municipalities and their partners to create programs that prioritize making clean energy technologies accessible and beneficial to low- and moderate-income households, communities of color, and indigenous communities. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2018)
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USDN Fact Sheet - Equity in Recruitment, Hiring, and RetentionThe purpose of this fact sheet is to provide guidance to hiring managers seeking to diversify their sustainability staff by applying an equity lens. Recent and historical studies have shown that sustainability and environmental fields lag in their ability to recruit, hire, and retain employees of color. This can be due to a variety of systemic factors including access to social and professional networks and exclusion from the practices of environmental campaigns and organizations, as well as implicit and explicit racial bias in hiring processes. (USDN Equity Leaders Program, Updated 2018)
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A Guide to Equitable, Community-Driven Climate Preparedness PlanningFew climate adaptation guides address equity issues through specific adaptation solutions, inclusive community engagement tactics, or the root causes of inequities in climate risk. This document addresses these gaps and provides guidance to local governments in designing and implementing a more inclusive, equitable planning process. The Racial Equity Evaluation Tool, a companion to this guide, is an interactive tool to assess racialized power in climate preparedness planning. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2017).
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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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Southeast Equity and Energy Efficiency Toolkit: A toolkit to help build capacity for the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) members to integrate meaningful equity considering into their implementation of municipal sustainability policies and practices. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2016). 
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Adoption Accelerator - Standards Emerging and Scaling: Implementation examples to show how it is being done.

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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Social Equity Through Sustainability Planning in Baltimore: A project to ensure social equity is a key consideration and lens in updating and implementing the city of Baltimore’s sustainability plan, in addition to becoming a model that can be replicated and used across departments (Partners for Places – Equity Pilot, 2016).
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Building Equity into the Local Sustainability Plan in Providence: A project to better understand the needs of the city’s most vulnerable, address them in an updated sustainability plan and make equity a fundamental part of Providence’s Office of Sustainability’s work (Partners for Places – Equity Pilot, 2016).
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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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Connecting Shaded Spaces for Public Health in South Florida - Phase II: A project to provide critical shade along public transit routes in two tree-deprived neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County, FL so that the low-income residents can comfortably walk to – and wait for – the bus. This effort expands the successful Partners for Places-funded SHADE project and makes riding the bus a more viable option, by creating a humane, comfortable and safe waiting experience for the bus rider (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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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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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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Open Space in Underserved Communities in Los Angeles CA: A project to provide more open space in underserved communities in Los Angeles—a city where only 33 percent of children are within walking distance of a park—by transforming nine schoolyards into parks for use during non-school hours. (Partners for Places, 2016).
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Equitable Access to Solar in Berkeley CA: A project to bridge the solar divide and ensure that all residents have access to renewable energy sources by providing solar installations for low-income communities, including multifamily affordable housing developments, and offering free hands-on solar job training. (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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Complete Street Planning in Northampton MA: A project to develop a Complete Streets plan for Northampton, with an emphasis on equity and prioritization of projects based on socioeconomic status of residents and connectivity. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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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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Food Security through Urban Ag in New Bedford MA: A project to increase food security in New Bedford and advance the Sustaining New Bedford Plan goals by promoting use of the SNAP benefits program at city farmers’ markets and enhancing engagement with community gardens. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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Lower-Income Home Energy Retrofits in Blacksburg VA: An energy retrofit program in homes of lower-income older adults in Blacksburg and the New River Valley in order to extend their independence and expand adoption of energy efficiency practices. (Partners for Places, 2015).
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Neighborhood Greening in Louisville KY: A project to implement a neighborhood-scale greening plan in a socioeconomically and environmentally-deprived neighborhood; this project will assess the impact of the natural environment on human health. (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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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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Equity in Climate Action in Cleveland: An equitable model that develops and funds neighborhood projects that align climate action with the assets, concerns, and priorities of Cleveland residents. (Partners for Places, 2014). 
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A Mobile Food Market in Low-Income Communities of Chattanooga TN: A mobile market system/pilot to deliver fresh and locally grown produce to low-income families. (Partners for Places, 2012). 
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Tools for Climate Equity in the Portland OR Climate Action Plan: An effort to integrate equity metrics and criteria into the Portland OR / Multnomah County Climate Action Plan. (Partners for Places, 2012). 
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