Webinar Recap: Using Collaborative Planning to Address Compounding Crises

ClimatePlan’s CivicSpark fellow, Nicole Cheng, recently facilitated a webinar discussion entitled “Using Collaborative Planning to Address Compounding Crises.” Over the past year, Nicole has been working on ways for planning departments throughout the Bay Area to better integrate land use and water supply planning. Over the year of research and engagement, it has become clear that climate change and the pandemic have amplified existing challenges around integrating water and land use in planning. But, there are also opportunities for transformational change in the way that agencies, advocates, and communities can work together to create more resilient, equitable communities throughout the state. 

The webinar had a great lineup of panelists, including Thomas Niesar - Water Supply and Planning Manager at Alameda County Water District (ACWD), Zoe Siegel - Director of Climate Resilience at Greenbelt Alliance, and Clarrissa Cabansagan - Director of Programs at TransForm. 

You can listen to the full webinar here

Here is an outline of the webinar and time stamps associated with it. 

  • Panelist introductions: 5:00-7:18
  • Summary of the challenges: 8:06-32:17
  • Barriers to collaboration/opportunities: 32:17 - 47:37
  • Audience Q and A: 47:37- 1:02:36
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1 Year Into the Pandemic - How We Can Use Collaborative Planning to Get out of Compounding Crises

Right now, we are one year into a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders. The data from the State Water Board is showing 1.5 million Californians are behind on their water bills; the average amount of debt per household is $500. According to the Legislative Analyst office, Californian renters owe $400 million in unpaid debt, on top of a shortfall of 220,000 of affordable homes (MTC and ABAG). Latinx, Black, and Asian households are more likely to be behind on rent and water bills than white households. A decline in ridership has led to a decrease in public investments in transportation infrastructure, which is largely used by low income communities. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg. These multiple, compounding crises further highlight the importance of collaborative infrastructure planning for healthy and sustainable communities. Current financing infrastructure relies on local governments, water agencies, and transportation agencies to fund their own operation, maintenance, and infrastructure upgrades. Local governments can rely on impact fees. However, many transportation and water agencies have few outside sources of revenue. So, they largely rely on funding from their constituents and customers in paying their utility bills, paying ridership fees, etc. 

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Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI) is the next step to achieving California's climate goals

A year and a half after Governor Newsom issued Executive Order (EO) N-19-19 - a multi-agency call to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change impacts - we are now seeing a plan for how this EO will be implemented. The EO has asked that the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) leverage $5 billion of discretionary state transportation spending to prioritize reaching our state’s climate goals. In response, CalSTA has created the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure, known as CAPTI. 

Through stakeholder meetings, comment letters, and surveys, CalSTA created CAPTI’s guiding principles and investment strategies. These recommendations will be the foundation for how future transportation decisions are made. CAPTI is an opportunity to create significant shifts towards more equitable, healthier, and climate-friendly transportation. The ClimatePlan network and partners have been engaging with CalSTA and other agencies to provide input on the guiding principles along the way. 

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A Note on Our Leadership Transition

Dear ClimatePlan Family, 

As you may already know, our former Executive Director - Chanell Fletcher - recently took on a new role as Deputy Executive Officer of Environmental Justice at the California Air Resources Board. We thank Chanell for her service at ClimatePlan and wish her all the best in her new role. 

At this pivotal moment for ClimatePlan, the ClimatePlan Team and Advisory Board are currently working together to make the leadership transition as smooth and seamless as possible. 

During the transition, Joshua Stark will be serving as the Project Lead for ClimatePlan and will be managing all administrative duties for the organization. ClimatePlan staff will continue carrying out our Strategic Direction and can be reached at the contact information below: 

Nailah Pope-Harden - State Policy Manager - policy-related matters (i.e. policy workgroup, state legislation). Nailah can be reached at [email protected].  

Amy Hartman - Network Engagement Manager - communications-related matters and Central Valley-focused work. Amy can be reached at [email protected]

Nicole Cheng - Americorps Civic Spark Climate Fellow - water and land use policy in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nicole can be reached at [email protected]

We are grateful to all the folks in the ClimatePlan network - partners at non-profit organizations, state, regional, and government agencies - for all of your support and partnership during this time, and we’ll be sure to be in touch with any updates on the transition. 

We look forward to continuing to bring about a more just, sustainable, and equitable California with you in 2021. 


The ClimatePlan Team and Advisory Board

Thinking Big and Bold: A Recap on 2021 Listening Sessions

“You can’t drive transformative change without talking about race.” - Tamika Butler, Keynote Address at Listening Sessions 2021

In late January 2021, we held our annual Listening Sessions in a half-day virtual summit over Zoom. 65+ ClimatePlan network partners, including the ClimatePlan Advisory Board and representatives from CalTrans, CalSta, and CARB, all joined and provided their thoughts and input on what we’re working towards in 2021. 

Background and Goals

Long-time ClimatePlanners know that in the past we have held an annual retreat where the ClimatePlan Advisory Board and Staff come together to set the agenda and work plan for the coming year. Last year, however, in addition to hearing from our Advisory Board, the ClimatePlan team decided we wanted to get a more local and regional perspective across the state from our network partners. We travelled to seven different regions of the state and held day-long meetings and happy hours with our local and regional partners. But this year - due to COVID - we moved everything online and we’re so grateful to all of our partners that attended and provided such invaluable feedback. 

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Our Strategic Direction


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