New York, New York: CloudBurst Study, South Jamaica Houses

City: New York
Country / US State / US Territory: New York
Type of Solution: City Government Program
Climate Impact: Hurricanes and Storm Surge; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Food security and nutrition; community cohesion, bikeability; livability; urban beautification

The Cloudburst Study was conducted by NYC through a collaborative project with Copenhagen to prevent flooding during heavy precipitation events, aka. Cloudbursts. NYC and Copenhagen are both facing rising sea levels and Cloudbursts, so the cities have partnered to develop new innovative projects to enhance stormwater management. Their solutions are aimed at creating inspiring urban areas and other co-benefits for citizens, local businesses, and the city.

South Jamaica Houses redevelopment is one pilot project that has emerged from the NYC Cloudburst Study. The project will increase liveability of the area, and will result in additional shared green space for recreation, bike paths, and urban gardening. Improved public spaces will help to improve community cohesion. Additionally, the college will be better integrated into the surrounding community, also contributing to social cohesion.

Fig: Rendering of South Jamaica Houses project on a dry day (Image retrieved from

Fig: Rendering of South Jamaica Houses project on a wet day (Image retrieved from

Fig: Map showing the environmental benefits (blue) and social benefits (orange) that will result from the project


C40 Cities. (September 14, 2017). Cities100: New York City and Copenhagen – cities collaborating on climate resilience. Retrieved from

New York City Department of Environmental Protection. (January, 2017). Cloudburst resiliency planning study: executive summary. Retrieved from

Miami, Florida: Wagner Creek Restoration

City: Miami
Country / US State / US Territory: Florida
Type of Solution: Habitat Restoration
Climate Impact: Seal level rise; Hurricanes and Storm Surge; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Public Education; Community Engagement; Community Wellbeing and Quality of Life; Urban Beautification
Cost: $18.4 million
Funding Source: Public Space Challenge grant

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) partnered with Greater Miami and the Beaches on a project to revitalize Wagner Creek. Over the years, Wagner Creek has been a site of illegal dumping, leaking pipe systems, and stormwater runoff from nearby auto-repair shops, making it one of the most polluted water bodies in Florida. The project will use green infrastructure improve stormwater management in response to flooding from heavy precipitation events and storm surge, as well as to remove pollutants and improve water quality.

Green infrastructure also provides shade, helping to cool the urban environment and mitigate extreme temperatures and the urban heat island effect. Additionally, the project aims to improve community well-being and contribute to urban beautification.

During the design phase of the project, TNC held a public visioning workshop that engaged stakeholders with various backgrounds. Stakeholders identified different services the project could provide and were given stickers to prioritize these services, such as larger/smaller parking lots, parks, tree plantings, and improve water quality for recreation. Then, the University of Miami Landscape Architecture department assisted with developing designs that could be implemented, incorporating climate change projections and other datasets, contributing to the advancement of education. A number of parks are planned as part of the project, and these parks will serve an estimated 100,000 people that live and work in the area.

Fig: Wagner Creek (Photo retrieved from

Fig: Residents prioritizing services during vision workshop (Photo retrieved from


Heffernan, J. (November 25, 2017). The Nature Conservancy launches effort to revitalize the banks of Wagner Creek. Miami’s Community Newspapers. Retrieved from

The Nature Conservancy. (November 8, 2017). The Nature Conservancy to revitalize Wagner Creek. Retrieved from

The Nature Conservancy. (n.d.). The greening of Wagner Creek. Retrieved from

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

San Francisco, California: Public Utilities Commission Green Infrastructure Projects

City: San Francisco
Country / US State / US Territory: California
Type of Solution: Green Infrastructure, Streets
Climate Impact: N/A
Social Value Created: Diverse Transportation; Public Health and Safety; Active Living and Recreation; Public Education; Urban Beautification; Social Cohesion; Public Spaces

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is implementing various green infrastructure projects to improve stormwater management as part of its Urban Watershed Assessment. San Francisco has a combined sewer system, posing an increased risk to public health during heavy precipitation events if sewers overflow.

In addition to stormwater management, social value has been co-created by many of the projects. Many projects improve walkability and bikeability of streets, traffic calming and reduced congestion, and provide more spaces for community gatherings, which contributes to urban beautification and increased social cohesion.

Thus far, SFPUC has completed six green infrastructure projects. Eight additional projects are currently underway. These projects were identified in a participatory planning workshop held by SFPUC in 2007.

Cesar Chavez Streetscape Improvement is a demonstration project for the Better Streets Plan that was completed in the Mission neighborhood. 18 rain gardens were constructed along a half mile portion of a street. Trees and drought-tolerant landscaping were also planted to help manage stormwater. Additionally, traffic-calming bulb-outs were constructed and a bike lane was created to improve pedestrian and bicycle safe.

Newcomb Avenue Green Street is another green infrastructure project that has been completed to improve stormwater management. This project focused on creation of community gathering spaces and urban beautification in addition to traffic calming improvements. Additionally, the project helped to improve property values for residents.

City and County of San Francisco Planning Department. (n.d.). Newcomb Avenue model block streetscape improvement project. Retrieved from

The Adaptation Clearinghouse. (2016). San Francisco Public Utilities Commission green infrastructure projects. Retrieved from

San Francisco, California: Baylands Restoration

City: San Francisco
Country / US State / US Territory: California
Type of Solution: Habitat Restoration
Climate Impact: Seal Level Rise; Hurricanes and Storm Surge; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Community Engagement; Employment Opportunities; Water Security and Quality; Property Values; Active Living and Recreation; Urban Beautification

San Francisco has set a goal to restore 100,000 acres of the bay’s tidal marshes. A 2015 study projects that most of the existing marshes will be damaged or destroyed by 2100. The City has identified restoration of marshes as a strategy for managing sea level rise, as it provides the community with other socially value co-benefits unlike other sea level rise solutions.

Through restoration initiatives and innovative strategies, marshes can be restored and enhanced to prepare for sea level rise and coastal flooding. Additionally, the marshes help to filter pollutants out of runoff to improve water quality, and they provide habitat for many at-risk species and species critical to the economy, such as Dungeness crab and salmon. Further, restoration projects help to control coastal erosion of water front properties.

Sonoma Land Trust acquired 1,000 acres of tidal marshes in the Sears Point Wetland along the northern shore of San Francisco Bay. For the project, 285 feet of an existing levee was breached to restore previous marsh land, creating a “habitat” levee using marsh mounds, or raise “islands”. 500 marsh mounds were constructed, each of which are 6 feet tall and 50-75 feet wide, using reclaimed sediment. These mounds support marsh accretion and provide cover for nesting birds from the rising tides and waves during storms. The “habitat” levee both protects the adjacent a nearby highway and railroad and provides additional wildlife habitat.

The project also includes the development of a 2.5 mile section of the Bay Trail, a recreational trail running through the marshes. This addition will provide users with views of Mt. Tamalpais, Mt. Diablo, and the San Francisco skyline, as well as include new benches, interpretive signs, and parking.

South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is another project underway, seeking to restore 15,100 acres of former commercial salt ponds to functional tidal marshes. The Project is will manage coastal flooding, as well as improve wildlife habitat and increase public recreational access. A 400 foot berm will be constructed to help control flooding. 16 islands, each 15,000 square feet, will also be constructed. Levees will also be lowered and breeched to restore 130 acres of tidal pools.

In addition to flooding control measures, public recreational trails will be realigned and resurfaced to improve public access, and two overlooks and four interpretive panels will be installed.

Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). South Bay Salt Pond Tidal Marsh Restoration at Pond A17 Project. Retrieved from

Small-Lorenz, S. L., Stein, B. A., Schrass, K., Holstein, D. N., & Mehta, A. V. (2016). Natural defenses in action: harnessing nature to protect our communities. National Wildlife Foundation, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from

Sonoma Land Trust. (June 6, 2014). Sonoma Land Trust and Ducks Unlimited kick off construction of Sears Point 960-Acre Wetland Restoration Project on San Pablo Bay. Retrieved from

Sonoma Land Trust. (n.d.). Seas Point Wetland Restoration Project groundbreaking FAQs. Retrieved from

South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. (n.d.). Project description. Retrieved from

Wood, J., Pitkin, M., Meisler, J., DiPietro, D., Graffis, A., & Fris, R. (January 17, 2018). Saving tidal marshes in the San Francisco Bay. U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. Retrieved from

Phoenix, Arizona: Resilience AmeriCorps

City: Phoenix
Country / US State / US Territory: Arizona
Type of Solution: Volunteer / Community Group
Climate Impact: Extreme Temperatures and Urban Heat Island Effect; Air Quality; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Social Justice and Equity for Vulnerable Communities; Community Engagement; Public Education; Diverse Transportation; Public Health and Safety; Urban Beautification; Community Wellbeing and Quality of Life

The City of Phoenix is participating in the national Resilience AmeriCorps program. The local program is called Resilient PHX. Volunteers assist low-income communities with projects to build community capacity. Resilient PHX has already completed a number of projects, such as Grandview Message Boards, Grand Avenue Curb Cut/Rain Garden, and Triangle Tree Planting.

Three message boards were installed in the Grandview Neighborhood to improve communication of climate risks, such as the risks of extreme heat in vulnerable communities, specifically low-income residents, elderly residents, and renters.

Another project was the Grand Avenue Curb Cut/Rain Garden. The curb cut/rain garden improves stormwater management to prevent flooding risks during heavy precipitation events. In addition to improved stormwater management, the project created more greenspace for residents and improved aesthetics, walkability, and shade coverage.

Lastly, the Triangle Tree Planting project was a community outreach program that engaged residents in tree planting and taught residents tree maintenance in an effort to mitigate extreme heat and the heat island effect. Trees increase shade coverage, which also contributes the the walkability of the area.

Sources: City of Phoenix. (n.d.). Resilient PHX. Retrieved from

Houston, Texas: Lower Footprint Biofiltration

City: Houston
Country / US State / US Territory: Texas
Type of Solution: Streets and Parking Lots
Climate Impact: Hurricanes and Storm Surge; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding; Air Quality
Social Value Created: Diverse Transportation; Urban Beautification; Public Health and Safety; Water Security and Quality
Cost: $9.6 million

Bagby Street, a ten-block corridor in a dense, urban neighborhood underwent a redevelopment project. The project improved stormwater management to reduce flooding risks during hurricanes and severe storms. Green infrastructure systems were used to store and filter runoff, reducing flooding risk and improving water quality. The system has a smaller footprint than typical biofiltration systems, requiring only 1/20th of the space. 33% of stormwater runoff is captured by the system, removing 75% bacteria, 73% phosphorous, 93% oil and grease, 43% nitrogen, and 85% total suspended solids. Trees were also planted to aid with stormwater management, increasing the number of trees by 165%.

Additionally, the project improved traffic congestion and walkability, as well as the overall aesthetic appeal of the road, contributing to diverse transportation, public health and safety, and urban beautification. The smaller footprint design was essential for managing stormwater given the limited space available for green infrastructure. Private development also increased as a result of the project, totaling to $25 million in new development.

Fig: Sidewalk area with rain garden biofiltration system (Photo retrieved from

Fig: A portion of the biofiltration system (Photo retrieved from

Sources: Atlas. (n.d.). Lower footprint biofiltration to increase efficiency in right of way stormwater capture. Retrieved from

Boston, Massachusetts: Everett Street Pilot Demonstration Project

City: Boston
Country / US State / US Territory: Massachusetts
Type of Solution: Streets and Parking Lots
Climate Impact: Extreme Temperatures and Urban Heat Island Effect; Air Quality; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Water Security and Quality; Public Spaces; Community Engagement; Public Education; Urban Beautification

The Everett Street Pilot demonstration project was completed as part of the Blue Cities Initiative. The project transformed an asphalt parking lot adjacent to the German International School of Boston into a valuable public space. Green infrastructure filters the air, improving air quality, mitigates extreme temperatures and the urban heat island effect, and helps to slow and capture runoff, preventing flooding.

The parking lot incorporated two rain gardens, permeable pavement, and a stormwater tree pit. Trees produce more shade, reducing health risks from the extreme temperatures and improving resident comfort. The landscape is also more aesthetically appealing, contributing to urban beautification, and provides more greenspace for the community to access.

The Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) coordinated student and community member volunteers to help with landscaping and planting trees for the project, engaging community members and educating them on the connection between green infrastructure, stormwater management, and water quality.

Fig: Green infrastructure along Everett Street. Source: