Los Angeles County Vulnerability Assessment

Los Angeles, CA

With the County of Los Angeles Vulnerability Assessment, Buro Happold is leading a team to proactively identify the people, places, and systems most vulnerable to escalating climate change impacts.

This comprehensive study is valuable for the County and its 88 cities, looking at not only the populations that are vulnerable due to factors such as age, income level, or pre-existing health conditions, for example, but also hazards to the physical infrastructure and ways to engage a wide array of stakeholders in taking needed action.

Challenge

The climate vulnerability assessment stems from the county’s successful sustainability plan, also led by Buro Happold. “This is an important first step in implementing the OurCounty Sustainability Plan, and it is a foundation for the County and cities preparing for climate change and creating plans that will help protect the most vulnerable people, places, and systems,” says Gary Gero, Chief Sustainability Officer for the County of Los Angeles.

Solution

The OurCounty Sustainability Plan set a vision for regional climate leadership and collaboration rooted in equity and resilience. The new countywide climate vulnerability assessment (CVA) will deliver actionable insights for physical and social vulnerabilities that will benefit not only unincorporated county areas but also for its 88 cities. The analysis will serve as the foundation for adaptation planning efforts and help communities prepare for the increasing impacts of climate change.

Value

With extensive knowledge on climate change impacts and resilience efforts, the County of Los Angeles CVA team includes leader Buro Happold, also charged with developing the social vulnerability assessment, as well as the firm ICF heading assessments for climate hazard and physical infrastructure vulnerability. Also on the team is Climate Resolve, which leads the stakeholder engagement process, and several advisors including oceanographer Juliette Finzi Hart, energy and infrastructure specialist Mikhail Chester, and the sustainability and equity expert Natalie Zappella with Enterprise Community Partners.

In this way, our study will comprehensively identify risks to the utility grid, roads and transport, water supplies and more, as well as the challenges posed by climate hazards such as temperature, precipitation drought, wildfire, sea level rise and flooding.

Sabrina Bornstein
Head of climate resilience at Buro Happold
Former deputy chief resilience officer in the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s office

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