Events + Media

Students tackle climate change in neighboring Richmond

Students tackle climate change in neighboring Richmond
UC NewsCenter
18 November 2013
Image: UC NewsCenter

Residents of Richmond, CA expect climate change to present their city with major challenges in the coming years, including rising sea levels, higher temperatures, flood risks, and increased energy and water consumption. For help, the city is turning to students at the University of California, Berkeley.

Jason Corburn, Associate Professor with the Department of City and Regional Planning in the College of Environmental Design and at the School of Public Health, is leading the campus effort that expands on the Richmond Health Equity Partnership, a city initiative to improve the health of Richmond residents.

“We have more than 30 students, divided into five teams, working collaboratively with community-based organizations and the city to analyze local greenhouse gas emissions and develop mitigation and adaptation strategies,” said Corburn. “We are especially focused on Richmond’s vulnerable, low-income communities, which make up a majority of the city’s population.”

The goal, he said, is primarily to help Richmond develop a Climate Action Plan to mitigate or adapt to climate change in a manner that fairly distributes climate adaptation and mitigation responsibilities across all segments of the community.
Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay is thrilled about the collaboration. “This symbiotic relationship will provide Professor Corburn’s students hands-on experience working in public policy, while Richmond accesses the leading minds of one of the nation’s premier academic institutions,” he said in a recent city announcement about the project.

Students from Corburn’s “Environmental Policy and Regulation” class will formally move into action on Nov. 20, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Richmond City Hall Council Chambers, 440 Civic Center Plaza. The students will outline the key areas they will be exploring –- transportation and neighborhood health patterns, city waste and water usage, flooding projections and potential energy conservation measures  — and then start collecting citizen input. In late December, the students will present draft recommendations to city officials, and will help refine the plan before Richmond finalizes it in 2014.