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4 Steps to a Climate Savvy Community

In 2018, SPARCC shared its Rapid Climate Vulnerability Assessment (RCVA): A New Way to Measure Vulnerability.

In partnership with SPARCC and EcoAdapt, we are excited to share an updated RCVA guide, a simple, four-step process designed to evaluate community vulnerability to climate change while collaboratively finding solutions.

>> Download RCVA: single page format and spread format

Why We Created This Rapid Climate Vulnerability Assessment Tool

Communities are places of family, friends, culture, work and play – and they are under tremendous stress. From record development in some places to disinvestment in others, communities are addressing increased traffic and air pollution, aging infrastructure, a lack of affordable housing while facing increased exposure to climate change in the form of flooding, drought, and extreme temperatures. As climate change and its effects grow, the way communities are structured and built becomes more important in counteracting and preventing those effects – for the health and safety of all residents.

RCVAs enable people to see where community vulnerabilities intersect with climate stressors. Vulnerability assessments aren’t new. Natural resource managers have been using them to document and adapt to climate change events for over a decade. But use of an RCVA by communities for local planning (development, services, resources) is just beginning. This particular tool was developed for the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) to create climate-savvy investments that perpetuate inclusive, equitable, sustainable community development practices that also contribute to community health and well-being. Designed and piloted with some SPARCC communities, the RCVA allows users to quickly identify core challenges, immediate interventions, and resources to support climate informed actions going forward.

Who uses an RCVA?

An RCVA is not conducted for a community, but by a community. Anyone can undertake an RCVA, although they are typically initiated by cities or other regional planning authorities. Increasingly, there is a need for community focused RCVAs as participation and buy-in across diverse stakeholders results in more equitable solutions, which can be critical for community resilience. The perspective of residents and local leaders in community-focused RCVAs to build solutions grounded in community history and local assets often not represented in external assessments.