Kansas City steps up climate action with Bloomberg’s American Sustainable Cities initiative

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Kansas City, Missouri – Kansas City has embarked on a transformative journey as one of the 25 cities selected for the Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities (BASC) initiative by Bloomberg Philanthropies. This significant partnership aims to advance climate action, spur economic development, and promote racial wealth building, addressing some of today’s most pressing challenges.

A Sustainable Future for Kansas City

Under this initiative, Kansas City is set to establish an innovation team dedicated to creating solutions that bridge climate resilience with economic growth. This collaborative effort will engage the city’s most vulnerable communities to enhance the quality of life and ensure alignment with Kansas City’s overarching climate action strategies. These strategies encompass a wide range of focus areas:

  • Mobility: Enhancing the ease of moving around the city.
  • Energy Supply: Transitioning to clean and affordable energy sources.
  • Natural Systems: Leveraging nature for urban cooling, flood prevention, and purification of air and water.
  • Waste & Materials: Minimizing environmental impact through reduction and reuse of resources.
  • Food: Promoting the growth and distribution of local, nutritious food.
  • Homes & Buildings: Ensuring healthy indoor environments for residents and businesses.

The partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies led to the formation of a new Office of Sustainability within the City’s Office of Environmental Quality. City Manager Brian Platt is at the helm, leading the charge alongside a team of forward-thinking sustainability leaders. Their mission is to broaden, integrate, and actualize the innovative solutions outlined in the city’s Climate Protection and Resiliency Plan, which received approval from the Kansas City Council in 2022.

Mayor Quinton Lucas emphasized Kansas City’s commitment to creating a climate-resilient community, highlighting initiatives like zero fare transit and significant investments in urban forestry. The BASC designation will bolster efforts to construct a climate-aware city, focusing particularly on supporting communities disproportionately affected by climate change.

Over the past two years, Kansas City has secured more than $41 million from federal, local, and philanthropic sources to shield its most vulnerable populations from environmental risks, mitigate the effects of climate change, and lessen reliance on fossil fuels. These funds have supported a range of projects, from waste reduction and transportation improvements to tree canopy restoration and lead removal from soil.

As a participant in the $200 million initiative led by Bloomberg Philanthropies and its partners, Kansas City’s Innovation Team is poised to tap into over $400 billion in federal funding available for crucial projects, particularly in disadvantaged areas. The initiative anticipates rolling out solutions like affordable housing, electric vehicle investments, and clean energy access, signifying a comprehensive approach to tackling climate change while ensuring equity and sustainability are at the core of Kansas City’s growth and development strategies.

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