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How climate risk data can help communities become more resilient: Insights from San Diego

December 4, 2023

Governments at all levels have a responsibility to help communities adapt to increasing climate risks. Local governments are on the front lines, as they regulate and incentivize the location of new housing and commercial development, develop and operate transportation and water infrastructure, and oversee emergency preparedness and response. The rapidly growing field of climate analytics can help local governments adopt a more proactive approach by identifying risks, developing climate action plans, and implementing strategies that limit the harms of both chronic and acute climate stresses, from intense storms to wildfires to extreme heat.The goal of this project is to illustrate how local governments can use geographically granular climate risk data to map local hazards and plan community-based adaptation strategies, while highlighting some of the challenges in working with this data. We also discuss areas where regional, state, and federal agencies can support their local colleagues in these efforts. This analysis is intended to be useful for local governments—including elected officials and career staff—as well as utilities, regional planning agencies, private sector firms, and civic organizations engaged with built environment planning.To illustrate the potential uses and challenges of geographically granular climate risk information, we analyze data created by First Street Foundation that measures heat, wildfire, and flood risk. Focusing on the city of San Diego, we create risk maps at several levels of geography—city, neighborhood, and parcel—to illustrate how risk varies across geography, over time, and by climate risk category. These metrics primarily capture physical risk; when possible, we look at overlaps with social and economic characteristics that affect community vulnerability. Case studies of three neighborhoods with particularly high risks show the usefulness—and some cautions—of parcel-level analysis.

Building for proximity: The role of activity centers in reducing total miles traveled

June 29, 2023

American households live amid a transportation conundrum. From a technological perspective, no developed country makes greater use of private vehicles and their incredible ability to cover long distances in relatively little time. The problem is that all those vehicles come at a real cost to society: growing environmental damage, unsafe roads, higher household transportation spending, and rising costs to maintain all the infrastructure. Even as electric vehicles promise to reduce the climate impacts of driving, this latest innovation still fails to address car dependency's other persistent costs to society.Building for proximity could offer a more holistic solution. Helping people live closer to the centers of economic activity—from downtown hubs to local Main Streets—should reduce the distances people need to travel for many of their essential trips. Shorter trip distances, in turn, make walking, bicycling, and transit more attractive and can improve quality of life. And as more people travel by foot instead of a private vehicle, officials can feel empowered to build complete streets that include lower speed limits, protected bike lanes, and other amenities.

Not according to plan: Exploring gaps in city climate planning and the need for regional action

September 22, 2022

As the country's primary economic and population centers, cities drive most greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and will absorb most climate-related costs. And the growing frequency of floods, fires, droughts, and heat waves puts cities of all sizes in greater danger.To reduce these costs and amplify benefits, cities need to reduce emissions (or "decarbonize") their built environment. Eliminating fossil fuel consumption from their transportation, building, and electricity sectors is essential; collectively, these sectors produce nearly two-thirds of national GHG emissions. However, achieving those reductions will require more than simply relying on new federal rules and funding, including those in the Inflation Reduction Act. Local planners, policymakers, and practitioners need to coordinate on new infrastructure investments.One of the first steps cities have taken is the drafting of "climate action plans"—many of which pledge specific carbon reductions. Yet even as these plans proliferate, cities leaders are struggling to hit their targets. One gap in city climate planning and action is internal, with cities often failing to specify detailed strategies that will advance their goals. The other gap is regional: Individual cities do not have the fiscal, technical, or programmatic capacity to single-handedly drive decarbonization across their metropolitan regions, and often, they do not coordinate with other jurisdictions.This report attempts to better understand why cities are failing to meet their targets and what can be learned from the planning practices that are working well. By evaluating the most comprehensive decarbonization plans across 50 of the country's largest cities, the report judges how well the strategies and actions in these plans prepare cities for meaningful, accountable decarbonization.

Supporting and Enhancing the Lives of Our Aging Population: Evaluation of Our Aging Society Program 2011-2013

October 1, 2015

The San Diego Foundation contracted with Harder+Company in 2013 to perform an evaluation of the Our Aging Society program 2011 – 2013. This evaluation analyzes programmatic final reports from grantees (organizations) for the 2011 and 2012 program years, along with a survey conducted in 2013 by Harder+Company with program participants (seniors participating in these programs). The following themes emerged.Increased social connections. Many older adults have difficulty developing and maintaining connections due to lack of social opportunities and decreased mobility. Participants reported that this program helped them meet with more friends and family members, and that they more frequently participated in social activities during and after participating in the Our Aging Society program.Decreased isolation. Our Aging Society participants reported feeling less isolated, left out, or lacking companionship after they participated in the program.Improved physical and mental health. Retrospectively, participants generally self-reported improved physical health after Our Aging Society program participation. They also reported fewer incidents of negative mental health symptoms such as loss of appetite, restless sleep and the inability to get going.

Healthy Parks, Schools and Communities: Green Access and Equity in Orange County

March 16, 2011

Analyzes children's fitness, obesity, and park access by race/ethnicity, district, and poverty. Outlines the health, community, cultural, and environmental benefits of as well as equal justice issues related to green access. Makes recommendations.

San Diego Foundation - 2009 Annual Report

December 18, 2010

Contains board chair and CEO's letter; highlights from thirty-five years of giving; lists of funds and grants; profiles of programs, donors, and community foundations; financial summary; and lists of board and committee members, volunteers, and staff.

Green Access and Equity for the San Diego Region

October 1, 2010

Maps green space using geographic, demographic, economic, and historical data to examine green access, equity, and implications. Recommends prioritizing joint-use projects in income- and park-poor areas and addressing various health and cultural needs.

Our Region's Future Funding: The Transfer of Wealth in San Diego County Over the Next 25 Years

May 21, 2009

Estimates the growth in community endowments for each of the county's regions if 5 percent of the projected transfer of wealth could be captured in endowments, as well as the funds that would be available annually, assuming a 5 percent payout rate.

The San Diego Foundation Regional Focus 2050 Study: Climate Change Related Impacts in the San Diego Region by 2050

November 17, 2008

Projects the area's population growth and climate change scenarios through 2050 and provides working estimates of their effects on the ecosystem, including the danger of wildfires; public health; water and energy demand; and the economy.

October 2007 Fires Community Needs Assessment Update

September 23, 2008

Looks at recovery efforts following major fires in San Diego County and projected community needs as of August 2008. Details priority areas such as mental and physical health, rebuilding, and the environment, and the situation in each impacted community.

San Diego Foundation - 2006 Annual Report

January 1, 2007

Contains highlights of events and activities; recognition of individual donors; profiles of programs and grants; Board of Governors, committee, and staff lists; and financial summary.