Community Greening Program
Through a new grant funded Equity-Based Community Greening Program, Watertown will identify specific neighborhoods that are more vulnerable to impacts of climate change, like flooding from extreme storms and urban heat, and design solutions to make these areas safer, enjoyable, and more resilient for residents who live there.
Value of Community Greening
Climate change impacts can create hazards that threaten the safety and well-being of Watertown residents. Three major hazards we face are flooding, extreme storms, and extreme heat.
Creating climate-resilient neighborhoods means our residents, businesses, institutions, and infrastructure are well prepared to endure these acute climate shocks and rebound to a healthy, safe, and thriving business-as-usual.
Watertown has been awarded a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant for an Equity-Based Community Greening Program to enhance resilience to climate hazards in climate-vulnerable neighborhoods.
Read the project flyer
What is climate-vulnerability?
Climate-vulnerability describes the degree that certain factors of natural, man-made, and social systems may be at risk of harm from exposure to impacts from climate change. For example, a neighborhood with few mature trees may have hotter temperatures during the summer than other neighborhoods, leading to higher energy bills and making being outside more uncomfortable, or even unsafe, during heat waves. We can address natural and man-made vulnerabilities, such as limited tree canopy and insufficient stormwater infrastructure, to create more resilient neighborhoods.
Not all neighborhoods will experience the same impacts at the same level. Geographic locations, available resources, socio-economic characteristics, and other unique aspects can affect how vulnerable each neighborhood is to climate hazards. For example, by planting more trees in neighborhoods with less tree canopy, we can decrease residents’ energy bills and lower risk of heat stress during hot summer months.
Watertown is prioritizing our next investments in green infrastructure in neighborhoods that are located in the most demographically and environmentally vulnerable areas of Watertown.
Equitable Greening Outcomes
In the first phase of the program, running through June of 2022, we will deliver outcomes that will set the stage for action in the following phases. These outcomes include:
- Map of climate-vulnerable neighborhoods in Watertown
- Community conversations held about the role of trees and green infrastructure
- Locations identified for 15 stormwater tree trenches in climate-vulnerable neighborhoods
- Design drawings for three Green Streets in climate-vulnerable neighborhoods
The City is committed to working closely with residents on this program. A team of paid residents will help shape the program and engage with our community during the process. Involving residents from within the neighborhoods they serve is effective for community outreach because resident team members can personally connect with community members during outreach, build a foundation of trust, and support community buy-in for implementation.
Two different paid roles for residents, Ambassadors and Core Team Members, will support community outreach for this project. Ambassadors will be giving presentations about the project to local organizations, attending community events, and reporting feedback captured during conversations with community members to the Core Team Members. The Core Team of residents will review draft materials and assist the City in planning projects and engagement.