Diversity, Equity, and Green Infrastructure: Local Government Webinar

Through green infrastructure practices, communities use parks and gardens to manage stormwater, create habitat for insects and wildlife, and help mitigate greenhouse gasses. But green infrastructure can also be a tool for social justice. Research demonstrates that incorporating green spaces into cities can have a positive impact on a number of societal conditions, including crime, property values, and health. Increasing green space in economically challenged communities could also be one of the cures for societal inequality.

In this webinar, we will discuss the connection between green infrastructure and community diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Speakers will showcase how communities and organizations are incorporating equity into natural resource management and share the results of a recent survey about barriers and opportunities communities in the Midwest are encountering in making green stormwater infrastructure equitable. We will finish up with some tools and resources for local governments interested in building local equitable green infrastructure programs.

About the Presenters:

Carla Walker is the founder and CEO of think BIG strategies, llc, a boutique consultancy that creates and executes public relations and strategic campaigns for not for profit, start up and public sector clients. She specializes in projects that are in the environmental space and those that have a global reach or impact including creating and leading the Equity Advisory and Action Committee for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition; exploring ways to create equitable green infrastructure projects with the North Central Extension Region; and serving as the Climate Advisor for the City of Cincinnati American Cities Climate Challenge through Bloomberg Philanthropies. Carla has advised elected officials, non-profit and business leaders in Cincinnati and abroad for nearly 20 years. A veteran political strategist, she has served in three Mayoral Administrations, staffed 12 members of the Ohio State Legislature, held leadership positions in three US Presidential campaigns and has led or been involved with more than 100 different advocacy or candidate campaigns. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a Master’s degree in Environmental Science & Engineering from the University of Florida, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Cincinnati.

Tony Heath is a Civil and Environmental Engineer and Urban Planner who specializes in Green Infrastructure Planning and Design. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor's of Engineering in Civil & Environmental Engineering in 2013 and from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a Master's Degree in Urban & Regional Planning in 2019. Tony's work includes civil engineering site design utilizing traditional and green stormwater practices across the Midwest and Southeastern United States, 3rd party review of low-impact-development (LID) design plans for Metro Nashville, and storm water planning for campus and community areas. He was the lead engineer on the Red Oak Rain Garden Renovation at the University of Illinois Campus in 2019.