Ann Arbor floodingOVERVIEW

Cities throughout the Great Lakes region share similar threats from climate change including more extreme precipitation events and increasing high heat days. These factors increase a city’s vulnerabilities across the built and social fabric of a city. Incorporating climate change into planning will ensure cities are aware of new and increasing vulnerabilities and can prepare accordingly.

The Urban Sustainability Director’s Network (USDN) Innovation Fund has awarded a grant to the Great Lakes Climate Adaptation Network (GLCAN) to help five Great Lakes cities assess vulnerabilities to climate change impacts. Additional funding was provided by Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA). The Huron River Watershed Council is working with the City of Ann Arbor and GLCAN on this project to develop Vulnerability Assessments based on our strong history of supporting climate adaptation in the watershed. These assessments are used in city planning and budgeting, and can help ensure cities are reducing vulnerabilities to the impacts of high heat, extreme rainfall events and other anticipated climate impacts.

Cities require vulnerability assessments for virtually every planning process. From planning for natural hazards, to infrastructure design, to how a city will grow, vulnerability assessments shape future land use, policy, budget and planning decisions.

This effort will provide cities with climate-smart and equity-focused information that can be integrated into nearly all types of city planning, regardless of city size or location. The project team will work closely with GLISA to localize climate information for cities and with Headwaters Economics to identify relevant socioeconomic data.

“Great Lakes cities face similar challenges of increased precipitation and extreme storms and GLCAN is a perfect venue for us to share information and create innovative strategies to support small and medium sized cities as they plan for climate change. We are pleased to partner with HRWC and the University of Michigan to support this project.” said Matthew Naud, the Environmental Coordinator for Ann Arbor.


1.Climate-informed Vulnerability Assessments completed for five cities– Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Indianapolis, Bloomington and Cleveland;

2.VA guidance and template developed and available for adoption by other Great Lakes cities and small to mid-sized cities throughout the US facilitating incorporation of climate change into city planning.

3.Recommendations for best climate and equity data available for cities.

FUNDED BY: Urban Sustainability Directors Network and GLISA
TIMELINE: November, 2016 – October, 2017
CONTACT: Rebecca Esselman

MEDIA: Press Release; Grant helps Ann Arbor, other Midwest cities brace for climate change effects