Building on a legacy of frontier innovation, Boulder will cultivate a creative spirit to adapt to and thrive in a changing climate, economy, and society and in the face of increasing disruptions.
Our strategy presents new actions to address gaps and weaknesses to create an integrated, strategic, and intentional approach to building resilience—through understanding our interlinked hazards, building on regional collaboration, fostering more resilient communities and government, and leveraging our history of planning innovation.
Prepare for uncertainty & disruption by fostering community preparedness, creating a culture of risk awareness, & personalizing resilience.
Despite several severe natural disasters over the last decade, most Boulder community members remain unprepared for future events. Many of the potential shocks the city faces require constant vigilance, a deeply personalized understanding of individual exposure and community risk, and an ability to act quickly in case of an emergency. Fundamental to preparedness is community connectivity and the ability for all members of the community to contribute to response and recovery when disaster strikes. Community connection can be as simple as knowing your neighbors, but it can also mean building new relationships and capacities between the city and local businesses. By enhancing preparedness and connection now, before the next disaster,
the city can empower everyone to take quick action, while also deepening the city’s overall sense of community.
The city is preparing for future uncertainty by building robust and flexible local capacity, inclusive plans, and new opportunities for community collaboration; we will make resilience accessible, activate volunteerism, assess economic strength, prepare businesses, connect for rapid recovery, and foster artistic engagement.
Mobilizing action at a broad scale also requires varied ways of communicating complex topics so that they are relatable and actionable to the diverse residents that make up our community.
Capitalize on the problem-solving and creativity of our community by leveraging in data and research to address resilience challenges.
In order to make the most informed decisions about the future, Boulder needs a better understanding of the changes taking place around us. The city must develop the ability to anticipate changes to proactively address emerging challenges. Remote sensing, data architecture, and mobile technology now allow us to design integrated monitoring and observations systems to create new insights into the world and community. By using the power of people and place, tapping into vast research and educational resources, the city will develop the data, observation systems, and partnerships necessary to understand and predict forces of change across social, economic, and environmental factors, as well as create new opportunities for engagement from a wide range of stakeholders.
By developing mechanisms and partnerships for inclusive and collective problem-solving, Boulder can elicit novel and innovative answers from a broad pool of expertise, creativity, and talent. We will do this by putting science in the hands of the community with a citizen science program, assessing and ensuring food security, making data accessible to all through public visualizations and displays, and crowd source solutions.
Challenges are dynamic competitions intended to focus the creative and entrepreneurial talent of the city to help identify and solve collective problems.
Embed resilience into city operations and systems by transforming our approach to community resilience.
The city’s infrastructure, design, and neighborhoods are driven by public investments and land use decisions. Choices made today will last for generations. These choices also must be considered on multiple scales and across issues and systems. Facing a future with so much uncertainty will ultimately require flexible and adaptive systems that do not lock the Boulder community into a single pathway.
Embedding resilience into long-held sustainability values creates systemic change for both the city and the larger community that allows us to better address a wide range of climate, economic, and social challenges. To do this, we will create community resilience centers to
ensure the continuity of all critical life-safety services, foster climate readiness, advance sustainability with resilience by integrating resilience principles into boulder’s sustainability framework, embed resilience into the boulder comprehensive plan, and develop an integrated urban ecosystem management plan.
“We are working on a wide array of policies, programs and projects to reduce emissions and realize other important community outcomes. We know that long-term success will require better feedback loops, honest assessment, persistence and collective action.”
– City of Boulder’s 2016
Climate Commitment Framework