Seattle, Washington: Redevelopment Project

City: Seattle
Country / US State / US Territory: Washington
Type of Solution: Vacant Properties and Lots
Climate Impact: Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: recreation; public gathering space; social cohesion; connectivity; employment; benefits vulnerable communities

The City of Seattle recently redeveloped undertook a nine-acre redevelopment project to repurpose an underutilized parking lot and the surrounding area. The Thornton Creek restoration is one component of the restoration project. Thornton Creek was previously been forced below the surface as the urban area developed.

The restoration project aimed to restore the creek to manage stormwater runoff from 680 acres. Impervious surfaces were also reduced by 78%, improving ground water infiltration and thereby reducing runoff. Native species were used for 85% of the project’s landscaping, reducing water consumption for landscaping and reducing maintenance needs. The project design also improves stormwater filtration to remove pollutants from stormwater runoff, removing 40-80% of total suspended solids from 91% of runoff in the 680 acre drainage basin.

Thornton Place is a combined residential and commercial space created in the redevelopment. The project added 530 units of mixed-income housing and 50,000 square feet of retail space, including 143 units of assisted-living housing for seniors. Thornton Place also includes a 14-screen cinema and a plaza area for public gatherings. Additionally, pedestrian links were created to link adjacent commercial and residential neighborhoods, improving walkability. Transit access was also improve by the design, increasing mobility and diversity of transportation.

Benfield, K. (June 6, 2011). How to turn a parking lot into an ideal green community. The Atlantic. Retrieved from

Benfield, K. (June 7, 2011). A seattle redevelopment that is greener than green. Grist Magazine. Retrieved from

Miami, Florida: CLEAR Miami

City: Miami
Country / US State / US Territory: Florida
Type of Solution: Volunteer / Community Group Program
Climate Impact: Seal Level Rise; Hurricanes and Storm Surge; Extreme Heat and Urban Heat Island Effect; Infectious Disease
Social Value Created: Public education and awareness, community engagement, social cohesion, benefits vulnerable communities

Catalyst Miami is a community organization that has conventionally focused on providing social services, such as health coaching and financial planning. Recently, the group has begun to engage vulnerable communities in local climate initiatives.

In 2016, Catalyst Miami launched its CLEAR Miami (Community Leadership on the Environment, Advocacy, and Resilience) program. CLEAR Miami is a 12 week program that teaches residents how to participate in the climate planning process, including the basics of climate change science, types of adaptation strategies, communication skills for public speaking, and how to create an asset map for their neighborhoods.

Community members learn about the risk of Seal Level Rise and Inundation, hurricanes and storm surge, extreme heat and the urban heat island effect, and the spread of infectious disease. The program focuses on financially vulnerable populations given their disproportionate level of risks to climate impacts. Those who participate in the program are provided dinner and childcare for free.

The Southeast Florida Climate Compact is working on updating an adaptation plan and developing a mitigation plan. Catalyst Miami is working on engaging residents in this planning process to ensure equitable solutions are chosen.

Fig: The first CLEAR Miami graduates (Photo retrieved from

Fig: CLEAR Miami Youth graduates talking about why they advocate for climate change (Photo retrieved from

Sources: Delahunty, M. (2016). Catalyst Miami launches pioneering climate resilience training in South Florida. Catalyst Miami. Retrieved from

United States Water Alliance. (2017). An equitable water future: a national briefing paper. Retrieved from

*Note: This case was documented from an interview with a city practitioner.