KLA Perspectives

Preemption: How One Word Can Stop Progress in Local Communities

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Oct 10, 2018 8:37:56 PM

Cities are fighting back against preemption to chart their own course on issues from labor standards to civil rights to environmental protection.

In August I attended the Mayors Innovation Project summer meeting in Grand Rapids where one of the most common themes in presentations and casual conversations was "preemption." So we reached out to Kim Haddow with the Local Solutions Support Center to find out more about preemption, why it has so many communities worried, and what they are doing about it.

Here is our Q&A on preemption:

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Topics: sustainability, cities, preemption

6 Ways We Help You Meet Climate + Sustainability Goals

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Oct 8, 2018 1:37:07 PM

At KLA our clients want thriving, inclusive, healthy communities. Sometimes they come to us before they kick off of a major planning process, and we partner with them throughout that journey. Other times it starts with a GHG inventory or implementing a specific grant-based project with community engagement. Still others come to us for our Community Dashboard and wind up integrating our communications support.

Regardless of the starting point, KLA has been proud to work with communities from Encinitas, CA, to Cambridge, MA, and Indianapolis, IN, West Palm Beach, FL and San Antonio, TX. Here are 6 ways we help them achieve their climate and sustainability goals.

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Topics: sustainability, KLA, cities

New Podcast: What a Resilience Hub Can Do for Your Community Before, During + After Disasters

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Aug 28, 2018 10:18:57 AM

Summer is winding down, and National Preparedness Month is upon us.  It’s been a summer filled with headlines of devastating wildfires in California, heat waves around the globe and extreme rainfall and flooding events from the US to Japan. It’s clear that communities big and small should be thinking about the impacts they might face now and in the future with climate change.   

Among strategies to prepare for natural disasters, “resilience hubs” are gaining momentum as well as a reputation for fostering equity, neighborhood development and local community power.

In my latest podcast episode of SAS Talk with Kim, I spoke with Kristin Baja, Climate Resilience Officer at USDN and formerly with the City of Baltimore, about the concept, value and logistics of resilience hubs and more of USDN’s work on climate resilience.  

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Topics: sustainability, resilience, SAS Talk Podcast, cities

How Indianapolis Used Animals, Bikes, Yoga and a Passport to Engage Kids in Sustainability Planning

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Aug 24, 2018 1:58:51 PM

Earlier we wrote about KLA’s work with the City of Indianapolis to think outside the box for public engagement in developing their Sustainability and Resilience Plan. Part of the Thrive Indianapolis approach is a focus on several populations that are not typically engaged in a community planning process, including youth. 

Young people -- which we defined loosely as elementary through high school ages -- will, after all, be the ones living with the impacts of today’s decisions longer than the rest of us.

So Indianapolis pulled together the first Thrive Community Day in mid-August as an end-of-summer celebratory and educational event specifically designed to engage a younger audience. It was a hit. 

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Topics: sustainability, community engagement, resilience, cities, youth outreach

Beyond the Usual Suspects: 3 Public Engagement Strategies from Thrive Indianapolis

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Aug 9, 2018 9:31:00 AM
Read a quick update on Thrive Indianapolis, "How Indianapolis Used Animals, Bikes, Yoga, and a Passport to Engage Kids in Sustainability Planning." 

Many sustainability planning processes (and indeed planning processes in general) tout community engagement as the cornerstone of plan development. But we often see the same actors engaged time after time. These are often representatives and members of environmental nonprofits and super civic-minded citizens. While their opinions are important, ultimately the needs and perspectives of huge swaths of the community are not reflected in the final plans because they weren’t given the right opportunity to voice them.

That was not the approach Indianapolis wanted to take when they embarked on their Sustainability and Resilience planning process and brought the KLA Team in to manage it. The plan -- called Thrive Indianapolis -- brings together City agencies, community partners, and residents to chart a course for an Indianapolis that is equitable, healthier, and prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. It encompasses 8 “plan elements”:

  • Built Environment
  • Economy
  • Energy
  • Food & Urban Agriculture
  • Natural Resources
  • Public Health & Safety
  • Transportation & Land Use
  • Waste & Recycling


So it touches on everything -- and everyone -- from infrastructure to parks to jobs to food access to transportation options to safe streets to air and water quality. We’re still only halfway through the process, but so far the approach we’ve taken with the City and our partners to really shake up the standard community engagement game is showing results.

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Topics: sustainability, community engagement, resilience, KLA, cities, indianapolis

How a Game, Surveys + Virtual Reality Can Support Your Resilience + Preparedness Outreach

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Aug 6, 2018 9:30:00 AM

3 Unique Ways to Get Your Stakeholders + Community Involved in Emergency Preparedness and Climate Resilience

We’re in the middle of hurricane and wildfire seasons with other parts of the country battling heat waves and others recovering from flooding. And we’re weeks away from National Emergency Preparedness Month (September). Is your community ready if your number is up?

There are plenty of ways to engage community members and key stakeholders in your emergency preparedness and climate resilience planning.  We're taking a look at 3 -- a game, a survey tool and virtual reality -- that we think are the most fun and effective. 

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Topics: sustainability, community engagement, resilience, cities, preparedness

Meet the KLA Team

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jul 25, 2018 10:44:07 AM

Who is Behind the KLA Curtain?

On any given day you can find members of our growing KLA Team:

  • Organizing and attending workshops and events for our clients, their stakeholders and community members
  • Coordinating with local partner organizations in client cities as we develop sustainability, resilience and climate action plans
  • Deep in data analysis for GHG inventories
  • Mapping with GIS
  • Talking with technical partners as we refine our Community Dashboard
  • Walking clients through a messaging and branding process as they kick off new initiatives
  • Designing and conducting surveys to gauge community awareness and opinion on behalf of our clients
  • Drafting social media posts, blog posts and newsletter articles for our clients
  • Speaking at and attending conferences
  • Recording podcasts with leading local government and sustainability voices for our SAS Talk with Kim podcast (Sustainability Action Series)
  • Researching the latest trends and best practices when it comes to sustainability, livability, equity, storytelling, community engagement, smart cities and more

These are tasks we all juggle. And for a growing slate of clients. But with a team this expansive and collaborative, we can effectively juggle without dropping any balls.

So who is this team? Lately we’ve been growing by leaps and bounds, so I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce us to you. You can also do the Cliffs Notes version on our profile page. 

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Topics: sustainability, KLA, cities

"The Latest": Monthly KLA Email

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jul 10, 2018 10:34:54 AM

In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." 

These days that's especially true when it comes to local governments' pursuit of sustainability, resilience, smart city and livability goals. As the KLA team churns out new analysis, resources, blog posts and podcasts on these topics -- "KLA Perspectives" -- we want to ensure you don't miss the next big thing. 

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Topics: sustainability

How We Can Use this Heat Wave to Get Ready for the Next Ones

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jul 5, 2018 3:02:36 PM

As many of us are gearing up for an extra long holiday weekend, it will be hard to leave “our work” at the office. I have been tracking the weather in my hometown of Boston as well as in a number of my client cities particularly in the Northeast, and it is hard to ignore the oppressive heat wave that is hitting the country (and, heck, the whole world) right now.

Meanwhile here in Massachusetts, about 70 cities and towns have just completed and sent in their final reports for a new state program called the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program. Through the MVP process, cities and towns are engaging key stakeholders and the public to identify four key hazards, the assets that will be impacted by these hazards, and the solutions that can enhance their resilience to these hazards.

And right now one of those hazards is hard to escape: the heat. 

While conversations and news coverage of climate change impacts often focus on sea level rise or flooding due to more intense storm events, it is the sustained temperature increases that is our biggest enemy at this moment in time.

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Topics: sustainability, climate change, heat waves

Recycling: Perspectives from Austin (New Podcast)

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jun 26, 2018 9:03:11 PM

Recycling. It has been called the “gateway to sustainability” for cities. It’s one of the first things individuals and businesses think of when you ask them what it means to be “green.” And it’s making all sorts of news headlines these days.

Recycling, waste reduction in general and plastics pollution have been in the news recently in part because China announced a ban on some imports of waste and recyclables.

When the KLA team sat down to identify who would be the best local governments to talk to on the subject for our podcast, Austin, Texas, came to mind. A lot of folks in our field have heard about Austin’s zero waste goal (by 2040) which has been around more than a decade (there’s a good EPA case study on this) and calls for the City to 75% diversion by 2020 and 90% by 2030.

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Topics: sustainability, cities, recycling, zerowaste