The Collaborative proposes a three-step resilience planning process that prioritizes nature-based strategies and focuses on vulnerable communities. The primary focus of this process is to help staff and community organizations:
Understand holistic and multi-benefit climate solutions that can be implemented at the local level
Advocate for nature-based solutions with decision-makers, public works staff, and the community
Socially vulnerable populations, such as older adults, children, unhoused individuals, and some communities of color, are at a higher risk of negative economic and health outcomes associated with climate change. These populations face cascading consequences related to employment, food access, and housing. Solutions for climate resilience need to include the needs of these communities.
The primary focus of this three-step process is to help staff, non-profits, and decision-makers frame, develop, and advocate for nature-based solutions and concepts while ensuring the integration of equity. This is done through sharing information on the type and scope of nature-based solutions and policies available in Santa Clara County, and increasing understanding of the multi-benefit resilience and adaptation solutions that can be implemented at the local level within a coordinated regional framework.
Scope & Identify Goals
In the first step, you should work on clearly scoping the problem and setting project goals. Is utilizing nature-based solutions a priority? To what extent will you need to incorporate engineered or "grey" solutions? How do the nature-based and engineered solutions work together in the system?
Typically, problems are multi-dimensional and require working closely with stakeholders and the community to define needs, concerns and opportunities. The questions below are designed to be used as discussion points to help develop the scope and goals internally or with stakeholders.
Once the scope is defined, use what you learned to help develop project goals, integrating the multi-benefit criteria in the process, as appropriate.
Questions to Consider
Does the project align with, or support considerations outlined in existing policies like safety, housing, health, environmental justice? Look to existing documents including:
Local Hazard Mitigation Plans
General or Specific Plans
Parks and Open Space Plan
Climate Adaptation Plans
Are there other projects planned or in the works that should be connected or aligned with this one?
What is the planning area? A region? A city? A neighborhood? Site? Is it well suited to nature-based approaches?
Do funding sources exist which can be tapped to help implement and influence solution sets?
Has the community been engaged with the issue? If no, how can they be engaged?
Which hazards or issues are you trying to address?
Current Tidal Flooding
Climate impacted Sea Level Rise
What is the urgency? Is there a timeframe or project deadline for implementation? Can short- to mid-term solutions be implemented?
Who do you need to work with to implement the project? Other jurisdictions? Community members? Other regional or state agencies? Developers? Community-based Organizations?
What are the triggers or drivers for the project? Is it an elected individual, a regulation or general pressure from the community, an agency, or neighboring jurisdiction?
Identify & Prioritize Solutions
The Collaborative promotes the use of nature-based solutions to support long-term resilience and livability in the County. Nature-based solutions will often be undertaken in concert with traditional manmade or "grey" interventions - ultimately a hybrid solution.
The following catalog of physical and policy interventions outlines a range of nature-based options suited to the County and its climate, and a summary of their requirements, dependencies, and supporting information to provide decision-makers and staff with the non-technical, accessible strategies to support advocacy and recommendations in their jurisdiction.
There are two sections to browse: Physical and Policy Interventions.
Assess the Solutions
Once strategies have been identified, the project as a whole and the strategies themselves should be assessed to determine how well they meet project goals and the multi-benefit criteria.
This assessment, intended for city staff, project partners, engineers, public works staff, and more can help to ensure the integration of nature-based elements while supporting a commitment to equity.
Below, the multi-benefit criteria are outlined and reflect the goals defined earlier in the process. Download the worksheet to score and evaluate your project or browse the details online.
Reduces environmental injustices and systemic disparities experienced by marginalized communities and ensures equitable distribution of project benefits and burdens.
Prioritizes solutions that deliver multiple long-term benefits and value in line with the costs of design, implementation, and maintenance.
Supports thriving ecosystems and biodiversity, balancing the needs of wildlife, landscapes, and natural resources without creating harm to the community.
Creates community benefits that improve human health and well-being, community resilience, quality of life, and supports a prosperous and just economy.
Bridges and strengthens connections between organizations, jurisdictions, etc. to work towards scaled solutions.