Growing Awareness of Climate in Community Planning

Map excerpt showing the metro area with various municipalities indicated in shades of purple, with the caption "Integrated Resiliance"

One of GPI’s maps of climate considerations in recent metro-area comprehensive plans. This map illustrates which municipal plans integrate climate resilience throughout the plan, not just within one section. The 1, 2, 3 ratings are described here.

I don’t remember how this ended up in my inbox, but the Great Plains Institute (GPI) recently published an article evaluating how Met Council-area communities are using the comprehensive planning process to address climate-related issues.

As part of the state laws governing land use in the metro area, metro area municipalities are required to create a comprehensive plan, and revise the plan every ten years. Under Minnesota Statutes § 473.858, the Met Council is required to review the comprehensive plans. (The whole chapter contains endless, fun details about our system of regional municipal governance; definitely read the whole thing some day.)

According to GPI, the Met Council itself has noticed “a shift in the planning community as an increasing number of communities have integrated climate and energy into their plans.” And, significantly, GPI found that “many community types are represented from the large, dense urban cities to predominantly rural communities and suburban edge communities.”

I’m not going to re-write the entire article—it’s right here! It includes a really helpful interactive map of metro-area communities that have taken up certain issues in their comprehensive plans.

I was heartened to see this analysis and its results. It seems to reflect a growing recognition that municipal land use planning is inextricably bound to climate. It’s also critical that this recognition is a regional one. As the legislature itself wrote in the statute establishing this system of regional municipal planning, “local governmental units within the metropolitan area are interdependent,” and “there is a need for the adoption of coordinated plans, programs and controls by all local governmental units in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the metropolitan area and to ensure coordinated, orderly, and economic development.” We’re all in this together.

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3 Responses to Growing Awareness of Climate in Community Planning

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke February 19, 2020 at 1:35 pm #

    Good news, but awareness is not growing nearly fast enough!

    • Christa Moseng
      Christa Moseng February 20, 2020 at 8:43 am #

      Yeah, there’s way too much unshaded area on those maps.

  2. Katie Jones February 22, 2020 at 7:36 pm #

    I want to call out how crucial GPI on this. Abby Finis, Brian Ross, Jenna Greene, and others brought crucial expertise to cities when they were drafting their comp plans and helped them incorporate a number of solid sustainability goals. Thanks Christa for posting this!

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