Climate Action KC and MARC host public input for Climate Action Plan

Climate Action KC and MARC have wrapped on their final week of public input on a Climate Action Plan for Kansas City. Last winter, guests from around the city got to see the unveiling of the new Climate Action Playbook — a collection of actionable ideas with examples from around the country of various steps that can be taken by local towns and jurisdictions. At the event, attendees got a sneak preview of live polling in action when the team solicited answers on the greatest needs for the region.

The follow-up workshop, originally planned for March of this year, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As an alternative, the team looked to previous polling of respondents at similar events and decided to instead spend the entire spring getting public input through MindMixer, an online tool that provides a platform for polls, long-form responses and other idea-generating conversations. Each week was focused on a different aspect of climate action planning — resiliency, transportation, food and land use, built environment, and energy as well as two weeks dedicated to prioritizing responses through the lens of equity across the region.

The input session had nearly 200 active participants commenting on 160 different community-sourced ideas. The top ranked ideas included scaling up renewable energy in both the public and private domains; mixed-income housing spreading throughout all corners of the metro so that people can live closer to their jobs; and expanding transit hubs and complete streets for both transportation diversification and better stormwater management.

In early July, the team will meet again to work on ways to generate an actionable set of steps for the region to take as prioritized by respondents in the MindMixer discussions. The aim is to not only decide what actions should be taken in order of urgency but also in terms of their relevance for other major shifts in public focus brought about in 2020.

As part of the Climate Conversations interview series — part of the awareness campaign for the Climate Action Plan — the team conducted one-on-one interviews with community leaders, industry executives, lawmakers, public health specialists and other experts on the topic of the week. Notable interview subjects include Fox 4 meteorologist Joe Lauria and U.S. Representative Sharice Davids. A recent conversation with Dina Newman from the UMKC Center for Neighborhoods touched on translating climate policy and implementation all the way down to the neighborhood leadership level.