New Orleans is determined to make the city resilient to future climate change in a socially equitable way via a range of environmental, social, and structural projects.

The Challenge

More than a decade after Hurricane Katrina flooded 80% of the city and the homes and businesses of one million people, New Orleans is moving forward with its comprehensive strategy to reduce inequality and climate change vulnerability.

The Solution

'Resilient New Orleans' is a portfolio of policies combining environmental, social, and infrastructure systems to reduce climate risk and socio-economic inequality. Climate change is expected to disproportionately affect poor communities1, so to increase resiliency, New Orleans is investing in the most vulnerable neighborhoods. One initiative is an emergency account program, which matches financial savings for lowand moderate-income earners to create emergency funds dedicated to natural disaster response. Another initiative incentivizes property owners to invest in risk reduction via a tested financial tool that removes high upfront cost barriers for homeowners.The city is also investing in green infrastructure to improve resilience. Built on a river delta and low-lying marshy land, water is at the heart of New Orleans. After decades of trying to work against the water, the city now embraces it via a network of parks and green spaces. The green infrastructure absorbs water slowly, filtering and cleaning it in the process, allowing the city's drainage system to cope with storm downpours more effectively. New Orleans will also establish a pioneering Resilience Center to serve as a hub for resilience innovation and leadership.

Environmental Benefits – By reintegrating green and blue infrastructure back into the city's urban landscape, biodiversity will increase and natural filtration capacity will improve water quality.

Social Benefits – With more than 52% of black men unemployed or underemployed, Resilient New Orleans is focused on advancing social cohesion and mobility. A workforce development program is in progress to accompany environmental projects.

Economic Benefits – Improved flood protection is expected to result in lower insurance premiums for low-income communities.

Health Benefits –  Equitable public health is a key goal and improved air and water quality and improved housing conditions will all contribute to better health for the city's residents.

About Cities100

Presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – Cities100 2017 showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in five sectors: Energy, Waste, Adaptation, Mitigation and Transportation.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments. You can access the full Cities100 2017 publication online here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Health
  • Social
Emissions Reduction
50% CO2 reduction goal by 2030 with resilient New Orleans
Share article

More Case Studies