As the world looks for new ways for cities to adapt to climate change, design expert Alison Sant believes that potential solutions lie at the front lines and with the people most directly impacted.
In her recent book From The Ground Up: Local Efforts to Create Resilient Cities, Alison shows how communities are raising the bar to make cities places in which we don’t just survive, but where all people have the opportunity to thrive.
The efforts discussed in her book demonstrate how urban experimentation and community-based development are informing long-term solutions. Alison shows how US cities are reclaiming their streets from cars, restoring watersheds, growing forests, and adapting shorelines to improve people’s lives while addressing our changing climate. The best examples of this work bring together the energy of community activists, the organization of advocacy groups, the power of city government, and the reach of federal environmental policy.
In the book Alison presents 12 case studies, drawn from research and over 90 interviews with people who are working in these communities to make a difference. For example, advocacy groups in Washington, DC are expanding the urban tree canopy and offering job training in the growing sector of urban forestry. In New York, transit agencies are working to make streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians while shortening commutes. In San Francisco, community activists are creating shoreline parks while addressing historic environmental injustice.