COUNCIL INITIATIVE TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE & AFFORDABLE HOUSING RECEIVES HARVARD RECOGNITION

In Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, News by PHL Council

Philadelphia, June 14, 2018 – The Philadelphia Energy Campaign, an initiative proposed by Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) and administered by the Philadelphia Energy Authority, is the subject of an award-winning research paper published at Harvard University.

The paper, titled “A Pathway to Preservation? Planning Processes at the Intersection of Climate Change and Affordable Housing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,“ by Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Caroline Lauer, was awarded the 2018 Best Paper on Housing Prize by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

“Cities across the United States have been actively planning for climate change for twenty years, but equity considerations, such as climate investment’s impact on disadvantaged communities, have often been overlooked or ignored in the broader climate planning process,” Lauer writes in the paper.

“The Philadelphia Energy Authority’s (PEA) Philadelphia Energy Campaign (PEC) is an unlikely success story of a municipal climate initiative prioritizing the needs of its low-income and minority residents, transcending the disconnect between equity and environment by addressing affordable, safe housing through energy policy.”

In 2016, Council President Clarke announced the $1 billion Philadelphia Energy Campaign, a sustainable energy initiative to reduce energy costs in municipal and School District of Philadelphia buildings as well as small businesses, and create 10,000 energy sector jobs over 10 years. The campaign is administered by the Philadelphia Energy Authority, the energy policy office authorized by City Council in 2010.

 “We are so proud to be featured in this report as policy entrepreneurs, with a model that could be replicated in other cities,” PEA Executive Director Emily Schapira said. “Energy can be a vehicle for tackling some of Philadelphia’s toughest challenges, and we will continue to scale our programs with a focus on equity.”

“This recognition of City Council’s and the PEA’s efforts to secure a sustainable energy future for all residents is incredibly meaningful to me, because I have always believed that environmental policy must be centered around the most vulnerable individuals among us,” Council President Clarke said. “Sound environmental policy isn’t just about trees and bees and water, it’s also about safe, healthy, and dignified living for everyone, regardless of income or background. I am incredibly grateful to Ms. Lauer and to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard for this spotlight on how Philadelphia, despite being ‘situated in a state that lacks robust climate mitigation and affordable housing strategies,’ is taking the lead on key policies.”

The paper can be found on City Council’s website: PEA 5.29.18_CLauer Thesis

 Photo: Philadelphia Energy Authority

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