Nature offers a lot of benefits to communities. Trees provide shade and help clean the air. Gardens absorb and filter water, which reduces flooding and runoff into nearby rivers. Healthy dunes and wetlands protect coastlines from storms. But nature can also transform the way people experience their neighborhood.
Connecticut’s cities team is reimagining how nature can be integrated into Bridgeport and partnering with the community to develop a neighborhood vision in which nature-based solutions can have the most impact to the health and well-being of local residents.
“People are at the core of our efforts to identify which neighborhoods are facing some daunting challenges in this formerly industrialized city,” said Drew Goldsman, Urban Resilience Planner. “We want to implement natural solutions in Bridgeport starting with the communities that need it most.”
The Eco-Urban Assessment looked at areas in Bridgeport that have poor air quality, high risk of flooding, and limited access to nearby green spaces and layered it with data on income level, impervious surfaces and asthma rates. The team was able to pinpoint neighborhoods where trees, green stormwater systems and open spaces will make the biggest difference for people and nature.
In collaboration with local partners, the Conservancy has embarked on a deep greening effort in Bridgeport’s East Side neighborhood that includes installing rain gardens, expanding city parks, planting trees and engaging volunteers in stewardship of these natural areas.
The Eco-Urban Assessment model is now being replicated in other cities in Connecticut and is available to urban communities that want a deeper understanding of where nature can bring solutions to some of the most pressing urban issues.