What values drive Hartford’s approach to climate? Our shared values are public health, economic development, and social equity, also known as environmental justice. A coordinated approach to these challenges can make enormous progress toward improving the overall health of our city.
This Climate Action Plan process presents the opportunity to address the city’s poor performance – the worst in the state – in a majority of social determinants of health. Our vision for improved public health:
- Urban agriculture offers affordable, fresh food to Hartford residents, which meets cultural tastes and preferences.
- Hazardous brownfield sites, abandoned mills, and homes with lead-based paint are identified and cleaned up.
- Improved urban forest canopy, clean energy vehicles, and greater reliance on renewables make the air cleaner and reduce asthma rates.
- Park and river trails are more accessible to residents, leading to reduced obesity rates and improving pedestrian safety.
- Education programs on healthy food, exercise, and medical care are available to all.
Climate action can save money for individuals and businesses. It can also create stable jobs with living wages that cannot be outsourced overseas – especially important since Hartford has a 16% unemployment rate overall, and in some neighborhoods a rate as high as during the Great Depression. Our vision for improved economic development:
- Hartford residents have access to a wide variety of green jobs – in agriculture, renewable energy installation, bicycle repair, or energy efficiency retrofitting, to name a few possibilities.
- The cost of electricity – which in the highest in the continental United States – decreases for households and businesses, so they have more capacity to invest in workers and infrastructure.
- Pedestrian throughways, bikeways, and public transportation connect Hartford’s various neighborhoods to each other, our waterways, commercial centers, and residential areas, providing professional and recreational opportunities.
Social equity, also known as environmental justice, means ensuring that all people have access to a clean environment and a resilient community. Addressing climate change in Hartford will improve the lives of the residents of Hartford and promote equity across the city. Our vision for a more environmentally just future:
- Everyone in Hartford is engaged in all aspects of this Climate Action Plan, from planning to implementation.
- All residents of Hartford, including those who lack access to adequate heat or air conditioning in their homes, have access to shelters and emergency facilities during flooding, excess snow and ice, and heat waves.
- Every neighborhood in Hartford offers a superior quality of life, regardless of average household income.
- All residents have access to vibrant mixed-use corridors of opportunity, whether they walk, bike, take public transportation, or drive a car.
- Hartford’s now-capped landfill is re-imagined as a usable community amenity.
[Photos (top-bottom): Hartford Public High School students at a Green Apple Day clean-up (header image); Knox’s Harvest Market in the Laurel Street greenhouse; AI Prince Tech students honing skills to build a solar house; & Vecinos Unidos at a Recycling Verbena.]