Press Release: Protecting Residents from Extreme Weather Events through Community Engagement

How To Protect Communities From Extreme Weather Events
Written by Resilient Cities Network
Wednesday, 12 October 2022

Houston neighborhoods Alief and Trinity Houston Gardens are the center of a study by the Resilient Cities Network

Houston – (R-Cities). The world’s leading urban resilience network R-Cities (Resilient Cities Network) will conduct a community-based survey as part of its Resilience for Communities Program in Alief and Trinity Houston Gardens from October 11 to the 14th. The study will provide crucial information used to design programs that will increase extreme weather resilience in these neighborhoods. Funding for these programs will be made available through the Resilient Impact Funds, administered by R-Cities.

The City of Houston is an integral part of the R-Cities network, with Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner serving as the Chair of the Board of the global city-led nonprofit organization that brings together knowledge, practice, partnerships, and funding empowering cities to build a safe, equitable, and sustainable future for all. R-Cities is present in more than 100 cities, 40 countries, and 6 continents.

Alief and Trinity Houston Garden are highly diverse neighborhoods in Southwest Houston. Both neighborhoods were particularly hard hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. In Alief alone 11,456 Houses were flooded. Many property owners were not aware that they were living in a flood zone and had no flood insurance. Even five years after the catastrophic floods, neighborhoods like these have not fully recovered and are still ill prepared for future extreme weather events.

Communities are resilient when they are strong across social, physical, economic, natural and human capacities. This study aims to identify where the communities need additional support. Neighborhoods with insufficient or poorly developed infrastructure suffer the most during and after extreme weather events. Communities in these areas often lack representation in urban planning and there is limited detailed data regarding their specific vulnerability. The R4C program provides critical information to close the knowledge and data gaps by collecting this data in partnership with communities.

Data-driven planning is key to ensuring that underserved communities are equally protected, and the consequences of damaging events are mitigated in a more equitable manner. Volunteers from the communities, who will be compensated for their contributions to the program, will conduct focus groups and one on one surveys in each community to generate a fair assessment of how events like storms, flooding or extreme heat events affect the people who live in these neighborhoods.

All data collection will be conducted anonymously, no personal data will be collected, and the data will only be used to evaluate and assess which approach to future shock and stress can serve the neighborhoods and the people who live here best.

The outreach to the community is supported by local community leaders, within a by the community, for the community approach. Barbara Quattro is one such community leader, who has lived in Alief for more than 40 years and is a passionate advocate for the neighborhood she serves as the Chairwomen of Alief Super Neighborhood Council. She has a long history organizing volunteers to bring substantial change to the neighborhood.

R-Cities is working in Houston in partnership with the Coalition for Environment, Equity and Resilience (CEER), an organization that has been working to make sure that the Northeast Corridor is equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically strong. Ms. Huey German-Wilson, President of Super Neighborhood 48 – Trinity / Houston has been working with CEER for years and will also be actively involved in organizing the outreach of R-Cities in Trinty Houston Gardens.

After reviewing community input from Alief and Trinity Houston Gardens, the city of Houston will receive $250,000 to implement resilience-focused interventions. City staff, community members and R-Cities will work together to identify actions and strategies that respond to the specific challenges identified by the communities. Solutions will be prioritized based on community input and available funding.

About the Resilient Cities Network

Resilient Cities Network is the world’s leading urban resilience network. It brings together global knowledge, practice, partnerships, and funding to empower its members to build safe and equitable cities for all. Its unique city-led approach ensures cities drive the agenda to benefit the communities they serve. At work in nearly 100 cities worldwide, the Resilient Cities Network supports on-the-ground projects and solutions to build climate resilient, circular and inclusive cities while also facilitating connections and information-sharing between communities and local leaders.

For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Thomas Halaczinsky, New York
Media Consultant, Resilient Cities Network
+1 347 985 6885

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