Host Partner: City of Albany
Partner Location: Albany, CA
Openings: 1 of 1
Project Focus: Climate Mitigation and/or Adaptation, Urban Greening
Desired Skills: Project Management, Environmental Justice, Communication
Known as the “Urban Village by the Bay,” the City of Albany is a small city with big sustainability goals. The City aims for 70% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 and net zero emissions by 2045. Despite its size and density, Albany is home to a diverse natural environment, which includes 5,000 publicly owned trees, 5 creeks, 9 acres of research farmland, a sandy beach and wetlands, as well as 112 acres of parkland, including Albany Hill and the Bulb. The Sustainability Division strives to protect this critical habitat from the effects of climate change, while also ensuring social equity, a resilient community, and a thriving local economy.
In December of 2019, the Albany City Council unanimously adopted a new Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) that focuses on innovative policies and programs to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets, while also prioritizing actions that provide other benefits to the community, such as opportunities to enhance public health, environmental conservation, and social equity.
With Albany’s limited staff capacity and varied projects, the work of a CivicSpark Fellow is crucial to move climate action and community resilience efforts forward, so that the City can meet its goals. The Fellow will be responsible for implementing measures from the recently updated CAAP and engaging with the public on matters related to the CAAP. The Fellow will leverage the Climate Action Committee, various Albany community groups, as well as the Carbon-Free Albany online social engagement platform, to engage the community in greenhouse gas reduction and climate adaptation efforts. Ultimately, the City of Albany cannot achieve its ambitious climate action goals without the support and active participation of the community. The CivicSpark Fellow will be an essential liaison between the City, the community, and the natural environment.
The Albany CivicSpark Fellow will do a combination of research, analysis, planning, and community engagement to help the City of Albany’s Sustainability Division implement actions from CAAP. The Fellow’s work will span both mitigation and adaptation, in both the public and private sectors. Although there are defined goals for projects, there is quite a bit of flexibility for project development and implementation, and the Fellow will have opportunities to take ownership of projects and develop strategies for implementation based on personal strengths and interests.
Mitigation: The CivicSpark Fellow will work closely with City staff, regional partners, and the community to address key barriers to adopting low-carbon or no-carbon transportation options, and energy efficiency and electrification retrofits for existing buildings. In particular, the City would like to prioritize energy efficiency retrofits and decarbonization of existing multi-family housing, to ensure that efforts to decarbonize are done in a manner that is equitable. This may include organizing and leading workshops and webinars, developing and distributing targeted outreach materials, and compiling accessible resources to help the community overcome any cost barriers or misconceptions about all-electric or energy efficient technology. The Fellow will also have opportunities to get involved with projects related to the circular economy, and composting and recycling outreach.
Adaptation: The Climate Action Committee and Albany community members have expressed interest in policies and programs aimed at increasing climate adaptive landscaping and green infrastructure, particularly on private property. The CivicSpark Fellow would be the community engagement lead for these projects, tasked with researching best practices, organizing green infrastructure and climate-adaptive planting workshops, and developing guides and resources.
SERVICE PLANS AND NEEDS
The City of Albany will offer non-monetary resources to the 2021-2022 CivicSpark Fellow, including networking opportunities, opportunities to attend conferences, and non-CivicSpark professional development opportunities. For example, the City of Albany Sustainability Division staff attends monthly regional meetings that provide opportunities for networking with neighboring city staff as well as with other Bay Area region CivicSpark (and Climate Corps) Fellows. Hosted by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (StopWaste), Fellows may attend monthly Technical Advisory Committee meetings that focus on waste and recycling programming, and monthly Technical Advisory Group meetings that focus on energy efficiency and climate action. Attendance at both monthly meetings will allow the Fellow to network, learn new skills in two different sectors, and get involved in regional projects as appropriate.
PARTNER INFO AND FELLOW EXPERIENCE
Albany, California is a small city of about 20,000 residents, located within the greater San Francisco Bay area. Albany today combines a small-town ambience with its central location in a major metropolitan region. Our city is beautifully located on the eastern shoreline of the San Francisco Bay, directly east of the Golden Gate Bridge. Surrounded by the San Francisco Bay to the west, the Berkeley Hills to the East, and the communities of Berkeley, El Cerrito, Kensington, and Richmond, Albany’s 1.7 square miles offer a fascinating diversity within a small-town community. Community events, the arts, and a vibrant commercial district cater to the needs of the community. Albany is a walkable and bike-able City that is also served by AC Transit, and located between the El Cerrito Plaza and North Berkeley BART stations.
The City of Albany staff are all welcoming and willing to help. The City has hosted CivicSpark Fellows in the past, and City staff are familiar with and appreciative of the CivicSpark Fellows’ work. Previous CivicSpark Fellows have been able to work with nearly all City Departments, including Community Development, Public Works, Fire, Finance, and Administration. There are ample opportunities for CivicSpark Fellows to work with other City Departments as well as Albany’s active community groups.