Oakland, CA — Two Oakland, CA neighborhoods were awarded grants of $170,000 each to begin planning their neighborhood’s transformation into sustainable climate communities.
The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) unanimously approved $1.6 million in competitive Planning Grants to 10 recipients across the state to help local jurisdictions plan strategies to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and build resiliency in the face of a changing climate. These efforts are undertaken with a focus on low-income and disadvantaged communities.
Led by the City of Oakland Planning Bureau, the East Oakland Resilient Neighborhoods Initiative – a partnership of the City and three East Oakland-based community organizations—supports community driven, neighborhood-wide resilience planning. Focus areas include health, green infrastructure, urban greening without gentrification/displacement, active transit, renewable energy, and mitigation and resilience strategies that engage, educate, and empower residents.
The grant was awarded to the City and non-profit partners East Oakland Building Healthy Communities, the HOPE Collaborative, and the Oakland Climate Action Coalition. Together, these groups will connect existing and emerging neighborhood plans to develop an actionable plan that informs the City’s focus on equity, environmental justice, anti-displacement, and sustainable economic and workforce development. Residents and community groups of six East Oakland neighborhoods will lead planning efforts. Neighborhoods include Brookfield Village/Columbia Gardens; Coliseum/Rudsdale/Lockwood/Havenscourt; Highland/Elmhurst; Sobrante Park; Stonehurst; and Melrose.
“We are excited about the opportunity that these grants afford for community collaboration and partnership with the City”, states Planning and Building Director William Gilchrist. “We have a commitment to all Oakland residents, understanding the attention needed in those neighborhoods underrepresented by environmental advocacy and action. This grant provides key funding to support actionable planning with key resident input.”
The West Oakland grant, awarded to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, supports the launch of the Adapt Oakland Green Infrastructure Masterplan focusing on air pollution mitigation. The planning partners will work on collaborative problem-solving and design processes to reduce air pollution exposure and health impacts. The resulting project – green infrastructure spanning the freeway corridor in the Prescott neighborhood – seeks to address the needs of this “hotspot” for air pollution. Grant money will fund the community participatory research and design phases of the outreach and education, citizen science activities, multi-stakeholder advocacy and engagement, and the development of a design and implantation plan.
“Freeways and the freight industry have a huge impact on community health risk in all our Oakland flat-land neighborhoods”, says Brian Beveridge, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project cofounder. “There are options available to “green” freeways and reduce impacts on local-residents. This project allows us to explore these opportunities in a real-world situation.”
The City and its partner organizations will host a series of East Oakland neighborhood meetings for local-residents to participate in the planning, with a Convening expected in June.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media