Peer Learning

Climate and Economic Resilience

Boston, MA | March 23-25, 2015

Peer Learning Recap

The Sustainable Communities Leadership Academy: Climate and Economic Resilience was designed and delivered for sustainability practitioners across the country that have received grants from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The workshop brought together 10 grantee teams, in the final stages of completing their HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Plans or Community Challenges. This workshop focused specifically on helping grantee communities build greater climate and economic resilience into their communities.

Presenters, Advisors, and Staff:

Lisa Barajas, Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities
Brad Beaubien, City of Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development
Shamar Bibbins, Environment Program Officer, Kresge Foundation
Meredith Brady, Rhode Island Department of Transportation
Lois Bush, Florida Department of Transportation
Jamie Carter, National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationJoseph Curtatone, Mayor, City of Somerville, Massachusetts
Marc Draisen, Executive Director, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Christopher Forinash, Director of U.S. Programs, Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC)
Ann Fowler Wallace, Director of Programs, Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities
Kevin Geiger, Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission
Julia Gold, Rhode Island Department of Health
Jen Horton, National Association of Counties
Alex Jaccaci, Hypertherm, Inc., and Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup
Ben Jones, Community Investment Officer, Central Indiana Community Foundation
Ben Lilliston, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Sunaree Marshall, Senior Advisor, US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Economic Resilience
Megan McConville, Program Manager, National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation
Rob Moore, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)Jennifer Pereira, Grant Programs Officer, Rhode Island Foundation (invited)
Sascha Petersen, Senior Program Officer, Institute for Sustainable Communities; Managing Director, American Society of Adaptation Professionals
John Robert Smith, Chair, Transportation for America; former Mayor, Meridian, Mississippi
Ken Snyder, PlaceMatters
Carl Spector, Director of Climate and Environment Planning, City of Boston
Megan Susman, U.S. EPA Office of Sustainable CommunitiesBethany Remmers, Northwest (VT) Regional Planning Commission
Suzanne Shaw, Union of Concerned Scientists
Holly St. Clair, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Harriet Tregoning, Director, HUD Office of Economic Resilience
Sarita Turner, PolicyLink


An international nonprofit organization, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has 26 years of practical experience working with local leaders to accelerate climate change and sustainability solutions. ISC’s programs are designed to facilitate peer learning and engagement among local leaders charged with the work of making their communities more sustainable. ISC has led more than 110 projects in 30 countries, and currently works in Asia and the United States. Learn more at:


The event was an opportunity for these practitioners to connect in a private and productive environment with peers and with leading national practitioners, thinkers, investors and policy-makers.



An outline of participating teams.

This video featuring Sascha Petersen – Senior Program Officer at ISC and Managing Director of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals – explains how to use the Climate and Economic Vulnerability worksheet, also uploaded as a resource

This presentation was delivered by John Robert Smith, Co-Chair of Transportation for America and former Mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, at the 2015 Climate and Economic Development. It covers a range of topics, including importance of the social component of resilience, downtown revitalization, and Meridian's response to Hurricane Katrina.

Hon. John Robert Smith, Chair of Transportation for America and former Mayor of Meridian Mississippi speaks on how he as mayor fostered climate and economic resilience in his small town.

This presentation was delivered by Jamie Carter of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and Jen Horton of the National Association of Counties. It was delivered during a concurrent session at the 2015 Climate and Economic Resilience SCLA in Boston. The presentation covers a variety of tools available to communities to help plan for, measure, and mitigate the impacts of climate change on coastal economies.