Adaptation & Resilience

Adaptation & Resilience

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​In the Office of Sustainability and Innovations (OSI), we view resilience as the ability to bounce forward, not backwards. This definition acknowledges that the world around us is continually changing, whether that is climate change, technology changes, economic shifts, social movements, or others changes. As such, bouncing back is not sufficient but instead, we must build the ability of our residents, our neighbhorhoods, our ecosystems, and our processes to bounce forward and remain flexible. 

Resilience is one of the seven core strategies outlined in our A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan​.  The ability for our community to show resilience in the face of existing as well as projected future changes in climate is crucial to our quality of life, safety, health, and overall wellbeing. 

Climate experts agree that climate change is already occurring and the impacts are likely to increase in the future. The City of Ann Arbor recognizes the serious threats that climate change poses to the local environment, economy, and livelihoods and is taking steps to prepare for these unavoidable changes through several mitigation and adaptation initiatives.  Learn more about local climate change impacts in the Climate Change in Ann Arbor Fact Sheet​.

The City has also put together the following fact sheets for those wanting to learn more about climate change: 

Climate Change and Older Adults

Climate Change and Vulnerable Populations

Climate Change and Mental Health

 Adaptation vs. Mitigation

Ann Arbor is embracing actions that help us both mitigate and adapt. By doing this, we are working to avoid the unmanageable impacts of climate change while managing the unavoidable impacts. For example, building rain gardens and harvesting rainwater on-site is an adaptation technique that facilitates a reduction in flooding during storm events. This action also saves energy by reducing the need to pump water, which is a long-term mitigation technique.

Mitigation – Efforts to reduce sources of greenhouse gas emissions 

Adaptation – Efforts to prepare for unavoidable climate change 


Stormwater Ma​​nagement  

Precipitation has increased 44% in the last 30 years in Ann Arbor. Moreover, the frequency of extreme storm events has increased 37%. Quantity and quality of stormwater runoff can negatively impact local water resources that provide drinking water, recreation and wildlife habitat. The City of Ann Arbor manages stormwater in order to protect water quality and reduce adverse impacts on local water resources. Learn more at the City's stormwater management page. 


Urban Tree Planting  

A properly managed and diverse urban forest provides many environmental, economic and social benefits to the community. These community benefits include reducing stormwater runoff, improving water and air quality, increasing biodiversity and resiliency against invasive species, moderating summer temperatures, lowering utility costs, improving quality of life and beautifying the city. Learn more at the City's urban forestry page​ and by checking out our new 10,000 Trees Initiative​, which can help you get trees on your property.


Neighborhood & Youth Ambassadors  

Community engagement was essential for conceptualizing A2ZERO and continues to play a significant role as we move forward with implementing the Plan. Through education and engagement, ambassadors elevate their voices and take ownership of mitigation and adaption initiatives – helping to drive significant community-wide action. These groups a variety of projects related to energy and water consumption, waste reduction and recycling, transportation, and local food efforts – actions that foster community resource stewardship, climate action, and social cohesion. Find out more at on the Get Involved Page​.   

Emergency Preparedness  

Emergency preparedness plans and kits can help keep ensure resident safety during an emergency. Through intentional community engagement and education, we aim to equip residents with the knowledge and resources necessary to care for themselves and their families for multiple days should a disaster strike. Learn more on the City's emergency preparedness​ website. And send a note to [email protected] if you'd like to organize an emergency preparedness or resilience session with the Office of Sustainability and Innovations. 


Resilience Hubs  

Resilience hubs are community-serving facilities augmented to support residents and coordinate resource distribution and services before, during, or after a natural hazard event. At their core, resilience hubs are about shifting power to communities and increasing neighborhood capacity. Resilience hubs operate at the nexus of climate mitigation, climate adaptation, and equity. They strive to enhance community sustainability and resilience through a bottom-up approach centered on co-development and local leadership. The City is looking to develop a resilience hub in each of the five wards of the City. Learn more about resilience hubs on the Resilience Hubs website.   


Fore more ideas on how to enhance the resilience of yourself, your neighborhood, or the community, or to get engaged, check out our Get Involved page!