City leaders can’t make Dallas a healthier, cleaner place all alone.
“Because city operations form such a small part of our overall carbon footprint in Dallas, we have to collaborate with our residents and businesses to find innovative ways to reduce our community-wide emissions, prepare for a changing climate, and enhance quality of life through equitable and sustainable planning of our community’s environmental assets,” said James McGuire, director of the Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability.
The Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability has reached out to businesses and residents to participate in the Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan (CECAP).
That work has included a survey as well as public meetings, including six held in September and October. Suggestions have included more green spaces and tree planting programs and improved options for public transportation.
“It will take the entire community of Dallas to ensure it’s ready to build a safe future and enhance the quality of life for all residents.” -Tatum Lau
According to the city of Dallas website, “We know that climate change will have the most impact on vulnerable communities, including children, the elderly, low-income communities, and in particular, communities of color. We are working to ensure that the voices of these communities are heard and included in the planning process.”
The Dallas City Council in January chose AECOM, a premier, fully integrated global infrastructure firm, to develop a plan. The goal is to unveil the document for Earth Day 2020.
AECOM has worked with more than 50 cities around the world with climate action, adaptation, and sustainability planning.
The CECAP process included first seeking out public engagement from low-income communities of color who are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, but least likely to engage. Company representatives asked about what environmental changes residents were most concerned about and what type of actions the community would support.
Based upon the findings, CECAP will propose quantitative, sector-specific city and community goals to enhance the city’s environmental performance by a specific timeline.
When finished, the CECAP plan will focus on cutting down on the causes of changing weather and develop standards and strategies for adapting the city to changing local conditions.
The plan will outline specific things the city can do to reduce greenhouse gases and improve environmental quality.
The plan includes preparing the city for climate change impacts, creating a healthier and more prosperous community by addressing the change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GFG), and encouraging residents and businesses to take action.
“It will take the entire community of Dallas to ensure it’s ready to build a safe future and enhance the quality of life for all residents,” said AECOM senior urban planner Tatum Lau.
The city of Dallas conducted a CECAP Community Survey online that identified such focus areas as buildings and energy, food and urban agriculture, parks and open spaces, solid waste, transportation and land use, water and wastewater, and climate resilience. About 1,235 people responded to the survey.
Survey Identifies Top Ideas
Building/Energy – Require new construction to meet high energy efficiency standards.
Food – Encourage businesses with extra to donate to those in need.
Parks – Prioritize tree planting in areas with high urban heat.
Solid Waste – Encourage businesses to reduce what they generate.
Transportation – Provide better infrastructure for biking and walking.
Water – Promote use of trees and other plants that require less water.