KLA Perspectives

Cambridge Leads Building Decarbonization with BlocPower Partnership

Posted by Dunia Seidu on Sep 19, 2023 12:58:56 PM


Guest Post by Dunia Seidu, KLA Summer 2023 Climate Storytelling Intern.

Dunia is a rising senior studying English at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  As Climate Storytelling Intern, she worked with a range of KLA clients, like Cambridge, to tell stories about their current efforts to address and adapt to climate change.

The City of Cambridge has announced a new pilot partnership with BlocPower, is a climate technology company that analyzes, finances and upgrades homes and buildings, becoming the first city in New England to work with the climate technology company on building decarbonization. 

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Topics: clean energy, climate action, energy efficiency, climate resiliency, planning

Choosing Climate Metrics that Matter

Posted by Nathan Abreu-Cruz on Sep 19, 2023 12:57:02 PM


Guest Post by Nathan Abreu-Cruz, KLA Summer 2023 Climate Analysis Intern.

Nathan is a recent graduate of Clark University, where he studied Environmental Science, with a specialization in Earth System Science.

Climate change resilience is the ability to withstand the effects of climate change. Resilience metrics allow us to track our progress in attaining greater climate resiliency, by giving us a sense of what “successful” climate change adaptation looks like.  

There is a wide range of metrics that a community can track to measure the progress of climate action. Throughout my work at KLA, I've learned that picking the right metrics and targets for each community is critical in forming climate action plans that are well-fit to the municipalities they serve. 

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Topics: sustainability, climate resiliency, equity, planning, Webinars

How Can Climate Communication Drive Behavior Change?

Posted by Saahithi Achanta on Sep 19, 2023 12:56:28 PM


Guest Post by Saahithi Achanta, KLA Summer 2023 Marketing & Engagement Intern.

Saahithi is a rising senior at Boston University studying Environmental Policy and Analysis.

My summer as KLA's Marketing and Engagement Intern exposed me to three top strategies for driving behavior change as we fight the climate crisis, including the value of storytelling, the importance of knowing your audience, and the critical role of effective communication tactics in planning. 

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Topics: sustainability, local government, solutions, climate resiliency, equity, planning, Webinars

Regional Climate Action Planning: Webinar, Resources, & Expert Advice

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Aug 2, 2023 12:48:40 PM

In July, KLA held a webinar to discuss regional climate action and collaboration in a new age of federal funding for sustainability and resilience planning. The fact that the webinar took place among record deadly heat across the country only underscores the need for smart, ambitious climate action. 

Our expert panel, consisting of regional climate veterans from Clark County, NV and Washington, DC, discussed all things regional climate planning, from tips for regional GHG inventories to critical considerations for equitable engagement strategy.

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Topics: sustainability, local government, solutions, climate resiliency, equity, planning, Regional GHG Analysis, Regional Climate Action Planning, CPRG, Webinars

We're San Diego Bound for APA's National Planning Conference - See You There?

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Apr 18, 2022 12:53:01 PM

4 Ways to Connect With Us at #NPC22

Members of the KLA Team Speaking, Accepting Awards April 30-May 3

The American Planning Association (APA) National Planning Conference (NPC) was long a staple on KLA's presentation circuit. From Phoenix in 2016, through New York, New Orleans and San Francisco, we had booths in the exhibit hall, spoke at countless sessions, attended amazing events and receptions, loaded up on best practices, and connected with previous and future clients among hundreds of others. Alas the NPC we had most been anticipating was 2021 on our home turf in Boston -- especially when we found out we won the 2021 Leadership in Sustainability Award -- was held virtually. 

But now we're pumped to head back in person to #NPC22 in San Diego. If you or a colleague will be there, here are 4 ways we would love to catch up:

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Topics: APA, California, planning

New Resource! 4 Steps to Add Street Teams to Your Equity + Community Engagement Efforts

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Sep 25, 2019 10:17:17 PM

KLA's Summer Intern takes a look at our latest resource, a 4-step guidance document on adding "street teams" to your community engagement strategies.

By: Claire McCoy

We know that one of the most effective ways to effectively engage your community during a planning or similar process is to get out in the community. To be present at community events. To convene small get-togethers. To show up at the places where people live, work, play and commute. 

But for busy local government staff, that can be a time and resource intensive exercise. And you might not be in the best position to get honest feedback. 


That’s why a key ingredient for robust, equitable engagement is street teams. 

Given the questions about and interest in street teams on our recent Equitable Engagement webinar, we pulled together a resource on the topic. It includes:

  • a detailed 4-step Recruit-Train-Coordinate-Evaluate process
  • best practices for getting your municipality’s first street team up and running
  • pro tips
  • resources like job descriptions and contracts 

Download our 4-Step Street Teams Guidance

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Topics: community engagement, equity, planning, youth outreach

Box City: What Our Kids Are Learning - And Can Teach Us

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jun 25, 2019 2:05:12 PM

School has just ended here in Boston, giving me time to reflect on all that my daughter, Charlotte, learned and accomplished in 3rd grade.

As a planner and sustainability professional working with local governments, I had a “proud mommy” moment visiting her class to check out Box City. A collaborative class project, Box City can tell cities a lot about what their future citizens want. 

It also got me thinking about the importance of two things we talk about with KLA clients often: youth engagement and regenerative thinking. 

The Kids are Alright

As these photos suggest, our kids are big thinkers. Here are some of the ways their ideas struck me forward-thinking: 

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Topics: community engagement, planning, youth outreach

What We Heard at APA's NPC 2018

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Apr 25, 2018 10:18:49 PM

The KLA team just returned from the American Planning Association’s National Planning Conference in New Orleans -- both exhausted and reinvigorated. From the Women in Planning steamboat cruise to adventures in the French Quarter to watching our colleagues (and some of our work) on the Green Streets Lawrence Health Impact Assessment (which we did a podcast on last year) recognized with an Achievement Award, it was certainly a celebratory trip.

But you could find us most of the time at our booth in the Exhibit Hall’s Tech Zone where we were busy chatting with planners, students, researchers, and other consultants from the US and around the world.

The “Podcast for Planners” sign caught their eye, and dozens of people snapped photos so they could log on to iTunes or Sound Cloud post-conference and get our SAS Talk with Kim (Sustainability Action Series) podcast in their que. Our most recent topics include open data, climate adaptation planning and participatory budgeting. Sounds like a bunch of you listen to podcasts on your commutes!

Our Storytelling Guidebook was another popular request. If you didn’t get a copy, download it for free here. We were thrilled when more than 40 people packed the Tech Zone presentation area for our “How to Turn Your Data Into a Story” interactive session. What resonated with people was all the data we have access to, but that we either keep it buried in internal documents or put confusing, out-of-context bar graphs and pie charts up on a website and expect people to “get it.” It can make a huge difference if we tease a story out of the data.

KLA Community Dashboard: Keep the Conversation Going from Kim Lundgren on Vimeo.

And our new video about our Community Dashboard 2.0 grabbed their attention. You can watch it here. After they watched it we walked them through a few of our current Dashboards --- from Nashua , Encinitas and Cambridge – and showed them some of what we’re working on and that you’ll see soon in San Antonio and Indianapolis, among others. (If you missed it, you can learn more about the Dashboard here. )

Engaging Planners with Community Engagement

Heads were nodding and sighs were audible as we talked about this all-too-common scenario: You spend so much time and resources on the planning process, whether it’s a comp plan, sustainability plan, transportation plan, etc. You do a pretty impressive job of engaging the community through meetings and events and online tools like social media and surveys. You get them jazzed. You build a fancy website. Your plan is passed. And then what? Does the plan sit on the shelf? Is your community left wondering what’s happening, if the plan is working and what they can do?

That’s where a platform like a Dashboard can keep the conversation and the engagement going beyond the planning process. The theme of community engagement was ever present for KLA at the conference, both in what we were discussing at our booth but also in the sessions we attended -- where we heard about Austin's efforts to think outside the box (we liked their engagement of business owners to reach employees); the "On the Table" approach from Lexington, KY, that lets people connect over food in the forum with which they are most comfortable; and the online engagement strategies employed by MetroQuest

We came away from NPC18 with new ideas for how we can refine our tools and services to address current needs, new insight into the challenges that planners face especially in the sustainability sphere, new friends (plus lots of time to hang out with old friends, like Doug Melnick of San Antonio, at right) and new partners.

P.S. FEMA's Virtual Reality experience IMMERSED could be a game-changer for communities where flooding and natural disasters are a concern -- which pretty much covers us all. It's a truly powerful exercise that lets you experience and flood crisis and see the benefits of hazard mitigation first-hand. We were blown away by it and could see this being particularly useful for elected officials and other decision makers. 


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Topics: sustainability, cities, planning