Equity, Sustainability and Resilience

Environmental Justice and Equitable Reinvestment

Community Dialogues Shape Green and Gray Infrastructure Priorities – Berkeley, California

Situation

In 2012, Berkeley citizens voted to support a $30 million bond investment in much-needed street and watershed improvements. However, detailed priorities for the funding had not been identified. Local commissions were concerned that divisions between street and watershed improvement priorities might prevent progress.

Solution

In 2013, Skeo supported the Berkeley Public Works Commission, the Transportation Commission and the Citizen Environmental Advisory Commission in facilitating a community engagement process to gather stakeholder input on investment priorities. The process included three public meetings to discuss stakeholder considerations, identify goals and develop a process for prioritizing projects and integrating green infrastructure elements as part of street improvements. The meetings brought together concerned residents, bike advocates, watershed groups, commission members, city staff and elected officials to develop a shared set of priorities for moving forward.

Outcomes

The resulting report supported Council discussions and consensus approval of the prioritization process and the five-year capital investment plan. City staff can now integrate priorities across Berkeley’s bike plan, pedestrian plan, watershed master plan and the street improvement capital program. Commissions have developed partnerships and set a precedent of collaboration. Skeo was asked to continue community engagement efforts and draft a program report to help guide the next phase of capital investments.

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“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt