12B.5 Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Cities Adapting Stormwater Systems to Climate Change

Thursday, 16 January 2020: 11:30 AM
151B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Kimberly Channell, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; and M. Stults, R. Esselman, J. L. Jorns, and M. C. lemos

Annual precipitation, extreme rainfall events, and flooding have increased in the Great Lakes region during the last century, and these trends are expected to continue. Small and mid-sized cities in the region have limited resources and lack of access to climate information, which impedes them from implementing hazard- and climate-related actions to increase their resilience. While boundary organizations play a critical role providing decision-support in Great Lakes cities, they face challenges in sustaining engagement and in scaling-up processes that go beyond short-term funding for local projects. There remains a significant need to support the integration of climate information into planning at the community level, and to develop a tested strategy for sustained engagement that can be scaled up to other cities, sectors, and regions at lower costs. The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA), the Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC), and the City of Ann Arbor, worked with twelve Great Lakes cities to adapt an existing universal vulnerability (VA) template to stormwater systems. In this example of sustained engagement, GLISA, HRWC, and the City of Ann Arbor worked as a boundary chain to move climate information from producers at the universities to users in the cities, as well as across cities. GLISA worked with project partners to jointly develop climate information to populate the template, including historical observations, future projections, and localized thresholds. The template is intended to mainstream the adaptation planning process and result in the integration of climate-smart and equity-focused information into all types of city planning. The ongoing project will also assess whether the boundary chain model can reduce transaction costs for scaling-up sustained stakeholder engagement through a series of social experiments. To do this, the project team randomly assigned the cities to three different engagement methodologies: face-to-face, webinar-assisted, and written/self-guided. A process of pre- and post-interviews with the city participants will qualitatively explore these different forms of engagement. In each engagement methodology, the project team trained each city’s stormwater and sustainability staff on the process of customizing their vulnerability assessments, which have been pre-populated with tailored climate and socioeconomic information. Throughout the trainings, the city practitioners were prompted with guided exercises to help them assess the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of various aspects of their stormwater systems. By the end of the project, all 12 cities will have completed vulnerability assessments that can inform future climate resiliency actions taken by the city. This presentation will provide an overview of the template and trainings, preliminary results of the different engagement methodologies, and examples of implementation and scalability for cities beyond the Great Lakes.
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