May 2020

Resources for COVID-19 Response, Resilience, and Recovery

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Richmond VA Launches COVID-19 Virtual Resilience Hub: Richmond VA launched the RVAgreen 2050 Virtual Resilience Hub, providing a growing list of resources to help residents increase resilience in a sustainable and healthy way.

Burlington VT Launches Green Stimulus Package: The Burlington VT Electric Department is seeking regulatory approval for a Green Stimulus Package initiative using unspent energy efficiency funds for several temporary programs, including weatherization for low- and middle-income rental housing.

Oakland CA Closing Streets to Cars: Oakland CA launched an "Slow Streets" initiative to make about 74 miles of street car-free for pedestrian and bike use during the current shelter-in-place order.

New York City NY Closing Streets to Cars: New York City NY is closing 40 miles of streets to cars in May with plans to close up to 100 miles of streets in the future for pedestrian and bike use during the current shelter-in-place order.

Seattle WA Closing Streets to Traffic: Seattle WA is permanently closing 20 miles of streets to cars, opening them up to pedestrians and bike riders as part of their Safe and Healthy Streets Initiative.

Abbotsford BC Supports Physical Distancing: Abbotsford BC started an #abbycares section in their online community portal, providing content to help families stay active, engaged, and positive while staying inside.

Mental Health in the COVID-19 Response: Kristin Baja, USDN Program Director for Climate Resilience, wrote a commentary in U.S. News & World Report calling for leaders to prioritize access to mental health services for all to provide support during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

ICLEI COVID-19 Resource List: ICLEI has provided a list of resources for COVID-19 broken down into information specific to the organization and their response as well as additional information on a variety of perspectives related to the crisis.

GHG Reduction


Shoreline WA Releases First Sustainability Report: Shoreline WA released a Sustainability Report in celebration of Earth Day's 50th Anniversary, highlighting 2019 steps towards reducing GHG emissions, including purchasing electric fleet vehicles and installing solar panels.

Royal Oak MI Awarded LEED Certified City: Royal Oak MI received a LEED for Cities and Communities certification, a program for cities to benchmark and communicate performance in ongoing sustainability initiatives.

St. Louis MO Approves Building Energy Performance Standard: The St. Louis MO Board of Aldermen approved the Midwest's first Building Energy Performance Standard, advancing their goal of reducing community-wide GHG emissions 100% by 2050.

Vancouver BC Approves Zero Emissions Building Code: Vancouver BC City Council approved Canada's first zero emissions building code for new low-rise residential construction that aims to eliminate emissions from space heating and hot water and increase resilience.

Ann Arbor MI Purchases Electric Vehicles for Fleet: Ann Arbor MI purchased 10 light-duty EVs advancing their goal of electrifying 90% of their fleet by 2025.

Urban Sustainability 

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Solarize Philly 

USDN Member and Partner Receive Fast Company World Changing Idea Award: Fast Company selected Chicago's PACE program as an Honorable Mention and Trust for Public Land's 10 Minute Walk Initiative as an Awardee for their 2020 World Changing Idea Awards.

USDN Members Receive American Planning Association Award: USDN Members Washington DC, Austin TX, Boston MA, Pittsburgh PA, and West Hollywood CA received APA Excellence in Sustainability Awards honoring projects, plans, policies, individuals, and organizations whose work is dedicated to supporting sustainable communities.

Columbus OH Approves Energy Benchmarking Program: Columbus OH City Council adopted an ordinance requiring commercial, multifamily, and industrial buildings over 50,000 sq ft and city buildings over 25,000 sq ft to track their energy and water use starting in 2021.

Philadelphia PA Releases Annual Sustainability Magazine: Philadelphia PA released its annual sustainability review in English and Spanish with articles highlighting successes, community members leading local efforts, and provides information and inspiration for further action.

Tempe AZ Releases 2020 Annual Report: Tempe AZ released their first Annual Report which includes information about metrics tied to performance management systems, project highlights, invitations for resident involvement, and descriptions of what's next for various focus areas.

Honolulu HI Files Lawsuit Against Fossil Fuel Companies: Honolulu HI recently joined a growing number of cities filing lawsuits against oil companies that failed to disclose the risks and negative consequences of burning fossil fuels and their impact on the climate.