The City of Jacksonville, FL, is experiencing the devastating effects of climate change and urban heat island (UHI), leading to more frequent and intense heat waves. These heat waves significantly threaten public health and infrastructure stability, especially in historically disinvested communities that face intersecting vulnerabilities. Jacksonville is partnering with FUSE to address these challenges by implementing nature-based solutions and increasing urban forestry in vulnerable communities. FUSE Executive Fellow Valerie Feinberg will conduct research, engage stakeholders, and develop strategic recommendations, including an updated Tree Mitigation Ordinance framework and an Urban Tree Master Plan. The goal is to mitigate UHI effects, protect vulnerable populations, and create a more resilient and livable city.
Valerie’s work will begin with a comprehensive landscape analysis and stakeholder engagement to understand the impact of tree cover and existing City practices on UHI effects. She will prioritize historically disinvested neighborhoods, such as Downtown Jacksonville, and research national models for UHI mitigation using urban forestry. Based on her findings, Valerie will develop the updated ordinance framework and the Urban TreeMaster Plan. She will also explore funding opportunities, facilitate community engagement, and ensure the program’s long-term sustainability. Additionally, Valerie will work on an urban heat reduction plan for Downtown, including incentives for cool and green roofs, an improved heat warning system, and potential programs for outdoor employers.