Albert Lopez
Planning Director
Planning

Cooling Our Communities:
Heat Preparedness & Tree Planting in Ashland, Cherryland, and Hayward Acres

The Program

The Cooling Our Communities heat preparedness climate change adaptation program was initiated by the Alameda County Planning Department, Public Health Department, and General Services Agency Office of Sustainability. The program focused on the unincorporated Eden Area (the communities of Ashland, Cherryland, Hayward Acres, and San Lorenzo), running from Spring 2019 through to March 2022. The purposes of the program were to:

  • Educate Eden Area residents and support their ability to respond to health impacts associated with increased heat as a result of climate change;
  • Run a pilot program to make free shade trees and free tree planting services available to increase shade, reduce energy bills and associated greenhouse gas emissions, and help alleviate urban heat impacts; and
  • Build community capacity to adapt and develop resilience in response to heat impacts associated with climate change.

The Community Development team from Resources for Community Development (RCD) was engaged to prepare and implement a Community Engagement Strategy for the program. RCD has deep ties within the Eden Area communities, and utilized existing programs and relationships to ensure that the program was tailored to the communities' needs and delivered co-benefits, including supporting RCD's broader efforts to develop resident led civic engagement to improve health, economic, educational, and other social indicators in the community.

Heat impacts on the community

This program built upon strong partnership work between the CDA Planning Department, GSA Sustainability Office, and the Public Health Department to assess the adverse impacts of climate change on Alameda County residents today and in the future. An assessment by the Public Health Department in 2017 identified Ashland, Cherryland, and Hayward Acres as communities within the County which have a high vulnerability to the impact of increased heat.

Increased heat associated with climate change is anticipated to occur both in the number of extreme heat days that occur per year, which in Alameda County is any day over 92.6 degrees F, and in the average, minimum, and maximum daytime and overnight temperatures. Alameda County is expected to experience an increase in the number of annual extreme heat days from five in 2018 to as many as 15 days by 2050.

Information about the health impacts of heat and the opportunities for increased tree canopy cover to mitigate these impacts is available here: www.coolingourcommunities.com.

Activities

  1. Community Outreach
    RCD and the County engaged in community outreach efforts to inform residents in Ashland, Cherryland, and Hayward Acres about health impacts and vulnerabilities associated with rising temperatures and opportunities and recommendations for community members to respond to these risks.

  2. Tree Planting
    Community members were able to register online to receive free shade trees and free planting services.

Further information and details about the activities included in the program are available here: www.coolingourcommunities.com.

Outcomes

Cooling Our Communities resulted in the planting of 310 shade trees throughout the Eden Area, including at private homes and apartments, along streets, and at schools. Through community events, meetings, and door-to-door canvassing, over 1000 community members received outreach related to tree planting and the impacts of heat on health.

Staff Contact

Alison Abbors
Alameda County Planning Department
224 West Winton Avenue, Suite 111
Hayward, CA 94544
Phone: (510) 670-5400
Send an email

Funding and support

Cooling Our Communities was funded by the Coastal Conservancy Climate Ready Grant Program. This program supports natural resources and human communities along California's coast and the San Francisco Bay to adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as increases in extreme heat days in vulnerable populations and provides funding to assist disadvantaged communities in those efforts. Cooling Our Communities is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment particularly in disadvantaged communities.