Climate Smart Tools for Rhode Island Cities

The Trust for Public Land’s Climate-Smart Cities decision-support tool for Metro Providence is here!

The Trust for Public Land has worked with six Rhode Island cities and dozens of technical experts to bring its national Climate-Smart CitiesTM program to metro Providence. This innovative and easy to use online tool promotes a multi-benefit green infrastructure for a cleaner Narragansett Bay and climate resilience. The decision support tool is the product of an in-depth, 2-year collaboration and analysis that demonstrates that there is a lot of work to do to prepare Rhode Island cities for a warmer, wetter, low-carbon future through great new parks and urban open spaces. The interactive, web-based decision-support tool is publicly accessible and password protected – and available to anyone with an internet connection and an email address.

This short video will introduce you to
the many tools available in Climate-Smart Cities.

We know that cities are on the front line of climate change. They must be part of a resilience solution by offering energy-efficient living while they also face the growing threat of heat waves and flooding. This on-line tool will encourage and support metro Providence cities to use parks and natural lands as green infrastructure serving four objectives:

Connect: Trails and transit lines provide carbon-free transportation and link residents to popular destinations and each other.

Cool: Shady green spaces reduce the urban heat islands effect, protect people from heat waves, and reduce summer energy use.

Absorb: Water-smart parks, playgrounds, and green alleys absorb rainfall, reduce flooding, and recharge drinking water supplies while saving energy for water management.

Protect: Shoreline parks and natural lands buffer cities from rising seas, coastal storms, and flooding.

The Climate-Smart Cities Metro Providence tool is useful for neighborhood groups, planners, developers, landowners, landscape architects- almost anyone who has an interest in close-to-home parks and open spaces. For example, you can use the Tool to design green and safe routes to school. Or you could identify parcels that most help reduce stormwater runoff in neighborhoods with vulnerable populations. Or you could design your own planning scenarios to identify neighborhoods that would most benefit from nature-based solutions. We have even allowed you to export Excel files and create PDF reports about specific properties.
Check out the project web page to become acquainted with the tool and project resources, including a user guide and videos demonstrating sample applications of the tool. The Tool is free, available to the public, and easy to use. Click here to see the tool and to create an account. Click on “Mapping Portal” on the landing page, create a username and password, then confirm your email and you’re off. Also on the site are easy-to-follow instructions, webinars, and background about the analysis.

The Trust for Public Land is excited to offer demonstrations and trainings of the Climate-Smart Cities Metro Providence decision-support tool. If you are interested in hosting a demonstration or training or you’d simply like to stay in the loop on this project, please submit your contact information here. The tool is publically accessible and free of charge, with the creation of your personal account.

Kevin Essington is the Southern New England Area Director The Trust for Public Lands.

Nature At Work is a newsletter designed and distributed by the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition to bring more green space news to our cities and encourage the use of nature to clean, protect, and cool our neighborhoods. Because of climate change, we are seeing increased heat impacts in our city, especially where there are fewer trees, as well as issues with flooding and polluted runoff in our neighborhoods.

The Green Infrastructure Coalition is a collaborative of more than 40 non-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies focused on using nature to reduce stormwater pollution. We develop projects to demonstrate the powerful role nature can play to create healthier urban environments. We promote policies to create sustainable funding for stormwater management and green infrastructure solutions. And we connect a wide range of partners to share lessons learned in the Providence Metro area and Aquidneck Island.

RI-GIC Website