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Preparedness & Resiliency

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We are prepared for natural disasters, and we decrease our vulnerability to climate change.

Los Angeles is susceptible to increasingly frequent and intense natural- and human-caused shocks and stresses. We must continue preparing for more climate disruption, bigger wildfires, longer and hotter heatwaves, rising sea levels, and stronger earthquakes. It’s not a matter of if, but when. We need distributed water solutions to boost local supplies—ones that can be easily accessed in times of crisis. We need integration of grid-tied, solar-powered backup systems to keep critical infrastructure like hospitals and re stations running. And we need to deploy multiple strategies to protect Angelenos from extreme urban heat. Having proactive solutions at the ready is an absolute necessity for the environmental, social, and economic prosperity of the city.

Progress on 2017 Outcomes

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Implement enhanced mass notification system to incorporate mobile phones and alerts

L.A.’s official mass emergency notification system, now called NotifyLA, securely alerts residents and businesses via voicemail, text messages and emails. Nearly 90,000 subscribers have signed up to receive alerts and preemptive warnings on landlines and mobile devices.

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Pilot installation of “cool slurry” pavement

After an initial parking lot pilot was completed in 2015, the L.A. Bureau of Street Services (BSS) staff training for the on-road application phase of the project began in November 2016. Fifteen first-of-their-kind pilot projects are due to begin in April 2017, with one 7500-to-10,000-square-foot installation, primarily in cul-de-sacs, planned for each city council district.

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Develop comprehensive climate action and adaptation plan

An analysis of additional climate pathways to achieve 80 percent greenhouse gas reduction by 2050 is set to begin in 2017. A new Resilience Strategy Working Group on climate adaptation was formed in 2016 and will inform strategies recommended in forthcoming
Resilience Strategy, due for release in 2017. These actions address the pLAn outcomes, strategies, and initiatives for L.A.’s climate action and adaptation plan.

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Install 10,000 new cool roofs

Since an ordinance went into effect in 2015, nearly 7,000 residential cool roofs have been installed, covering about 10 million square feet and saving about 4.5 million kilowatt hours annually — enough to power 750 L.A. homes. L.A. Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has issued $430,000 in rebates.

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Progress on 2025 Outcomes

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Reduce urban/rural temperature differential by at least 1.7°F in 2025 and 3.0°F in 2035

Top experts from a dozen universities, non-profits, and government agencies gathered for a July 2016 Urban Heat Island and Extreme Heat Symposium hosted by the Mayor’s Office and Climate Resolve. Key strategies identified: increase tree canopy and green infrastructure in vulnerable communities; implement and expand cool roof program; ramp-up cool pavements; coordinate public communication efforts.

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Improve preparedness and resiliency so the City can quickly “Return to Normal” after a disaster

L.A. Emergency Management Department leads monthly trainings and emergency response drills for Emergency Operations Center (EOC) responders and hosts annual functional EOC exercise. Similar drills are performed by L.A. World Airports, Department of Recreation and Parks, and LADWP.Resilience Strategy, due for release in 2017. These actions address the pLAn outcomes, strategies, and initiatives for L.A.’s climate action and adaptation plan.

Where L.A. Is Leading

L.A. is the first U.S. city to test on-road use of cool pavement to combat urban heat.

Feature Story

L.A. is Developing First-Ever Resilience Strategy

Los Angeles is releasing its first comprehensive Resilience Strategy in 2017. The document addresses a series of potential shocks and stresses and identifies actions that can be taken at the individual or neighborhood level, as well as on a broader scale—for example, along the L.A. River, citywide or across the region. Produced in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, the strategy builds on the Mayor’s award-winning Resilience by Design report and Sustainable City pLAn. The Resilience Strategy grew out of a yearlong stakeholder engagement process led by L.A.’s first Chief Resilience Officer Marissa Aho. Universities, non-pro ts, companies and city departments offered their input, ideas and partnership to enhance the City’s long- term resilience, cohesion and prosperity.

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“Los Angeles is taking critically important steps with our partners to develop and implement resilience-building measures that are strengthening our city, so we are better equipped to survive, adapt and even thrive in the face of the increasing risks and vulnerabilities presented by climate change, earthquakes, aging infrastructure and other challenges.”

Marissa Aho
Chief Resilience Officer

18,000 New Trees Planted

In 2016, more than 18,000 trees were planted in Los Angeles. That’s enough to span along 100 miles of street, which is the distance from Pacoima to San Pedro, and back.

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City Wins

Another Step Forward for Seismic Retrofits

In January 2016, the Mayor and City Council approved a new program that lets landlords pass through 50 percent of mandatory seismic retrofit costs, capped at $38 per month. Since then, working with the Mayor’s Seismic Implementation team, L.A. Department of Building and Safety has notified more than 5,000 owners and begun processing more than 1,200 retrofit plans, with 150 soft-story retro ts completed in 2016. An educational campaign from the L.A. Housing + Community Investment Department is aimed at assuring tenant habitability during retrofitting.

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H2O Resilience in Case of Fire

In 2016, LADWP’s Water Resilience Program partnered with the L.A. Fire Department (LAFD) to increase water supply and reliability, focusing particularly on re hazards after an earthquake. The program is establishing new local and national standards, which also helps to foster a market for seismic-resilient pipe products. LADWP also expanded its Resilience Expert Panel to include T.D. O’Rourke of Cornell University, Charles Scawthorn of UC Berkeley, and Ken Hudnut of the U.S. Geological Survey.

From Hot Blacktop to Leafy Green

Thanks to a $750,000 grant from California cap-and-trade funds, the Bureau of Sanitation has removed 15,000 square feet of concrete and planted 625 large shade trees in the Vermont Corridor. Youth employment groups are lending a hand alongside L.A. Conservation Corps and Koreatown Youth and Community Center leading on construction and maintenance. When fully complete in June 2017, the project will have added 1,175 more trees and distributed 1,500 saplings to residents at tree-adoption events.

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Partner Wins

A Building’s Almanac in Resiliency

The Los Angeles chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC-LA) published Building Resilience: LA: A Primer for Facilities, a new guidebook aimed at local building owners and operators. The book outlines best practices in building safety with respect to disaster preparedness. USGBC-LA also partnered with Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) to develop a neighborhood resilience center in South L.A.

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Beating Extreme Heat

TreePeople spearheaded a multi-disciplinary partnership aimed at speeding up the mitigation of extreme heat in Los Angeles. The L.A. Urban Cooling Collaborative brings together the newest climate- and behavioral-change science and policy. Members include the L.A. Mayor’s Office, L.A. County Public Health Department, Climate Resolve, Global Cool Cities Alliance, Cal State Northridge, UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, University of Miami and Yale University.

Cash at the Ready for Victims of Natural Disaster

A new aid program puts emergency cash cards in the hands of first responders. Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) is a collaboration between the LAFD, United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, and the California Fire Foundation. By carrying SAVE Cards with a cash value of $100, firefighters can deliver both emergency services and immediate financial relief to disaster victims.

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