Urban Climate Action Network

The Urban Climate Action Network is a national climate change youth corps created in partnership by the National Aquarium, National Religious Partnership for the Environment, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, and APA.

Project Overview

Youth from disadvantaged urban communities vulnerable to climate change impacts have few ways to contribute positively on a wide range of social and environmental issues and often have limited exposure to STEM learning. Educational organizations with specialized expertise and resources often struggle to reach these audiences.

The Urban Climate Action Network (UCAN) will empower high-school aged teens to address climate change in their communities by providing leadership training, technical assistance from scientists and experts, and the resources of a national network. Youth teams will travel to Baltimore for a week of experiential learning and interaction with leading climate scientists and communications experts. They will return to their communities to implement their action plans with support by project staff.

The National Aquarium will host workshops July 9–13, 2018, July 2019, and July 2020. The final project report and evaluation will be completed in September 2020.

APA Resources

APA Ambassadors

The APA Ambassador Program is a volunteer activity led by members of the American Planning Association with the goal of increasing awareness and understanding of the power and value that the planning profession brings to communities. Particular emphasis is placed on reaching audiences of diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds.

APA Policy Guide on Climate Change

The 2010 APA Climate Change Policy Guide Update supports an energy and climate initiative with state-of-the-art climate science and provides;a robust and comprehensive list of actions for planners to take in communicating, mitigating and adapting to current and future climate conditions, changes and consequent impacts.

Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future

APA worked with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute on a three-year research project on the integration of energy and climate issues into planning practice. Work products included a PAS Report, podcast, and surveys on the current state of planners' capacity, knowledge, and educational needs concerning the integration of climate change and energy issues into community planning. 2010.

Planners and Water

This PAS Report addresses the challenges of scarcity of water supplies, flooding, and water pollution and contamination and the two factors — climate change and population change — that are exacerbating existing water management challenges and creating new ones. 2017.

Planning and Drought

This PAS Report connects the dots between drought and land-use planning, water management, public health, and the local economy. 2013.

Green Infrastructure: A Landscape Approach

This PAS Report includes green infrastructure strategies that rely upon (or mimic) natural processes for managing stormwater. It shows how green infrastructure cleans the air and water, replenishes aquifers, reduces flooding, and moderates the climate. 2013.

Assessing Sustainability: A guide for Local Governments>

This PAS Report tackles two of the biggest questions facing planners today: What is sustainable development, and how do we know when it's working? Does it benefit the environment? Build community equity? Boost the economy? It goes beyond rhetoric to show how local communities can benchmark sustainability and make it a measurable goal. 2011.

Getting Ready for the Rain: Urban Flooding and Planning for Community Resilience

This PAS Memo explains why and how urban flooding occurs, details its impacts on communities, and provides an introduction to community resilience planning to address this issue. It closes with a list of broader tips for planners on how to best address this issue in their communities. 2015.

Integrated Urban Water Management for Planners

This PAS Memo explores the challenges and opportunities of Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) and presents the need for cooperation and leadership among urban planners and water service personnel using IUWM to move toward more water-resilient and sustainable communities. 2014.

Valuing Ecosystem Services to Inform Conservation and Development Decisions

This PAS Memo outlines an ecosystem services planning and implementation process to help municipalities identify ways to maximize the value received from their natural resources. 2013.

The Effectiveness of Green Infrastructure for Urban Stormwater Management

This PAS Memo explores the effectiveness and some of the economic implications of many common green infrastructure practices that are used to manage the water quality and flood risks associated with urban stormwater runoff. 2012.

Climate Action Plans: Lessons Learned from Irvine, California

This PAS Memo describes the City of Irvine, California's climate action planning effort and some of the lessons learned from the process. 2010.

Water Conservation Strategies

This edition of PAS QuickNotes highlights a number of strategies communities can use to curb wasteful water consumption. 2016.

Floodplain Management

This edition of PAS QuickNotes describes the approach a community can take to move beyond the minimum development standards of the National Flood Insurance Program and enact a truly comprehensive floodplain management strategy. 2013.

Integrating Sustainability into the Comprehensive Plan

This edition of PAS QuickNotes provides a primer on how communities can address sustainability goals in their local comprehensive plans. 2011.

Integrating Hazard Mitigation into the Comprehensive Plan

This edition of PAS QuickNotes provides a primer on the importance of including hazard mitigation goals and policies in the local comprehensive plan. 2011.

How Cities Use Parks for Climate Change Management

This briefing paper from the City Parks Forum discusses the ways in which urban parks combat the urban heat island effect and its mostly negative consequences of modified temperature, wind, precipitation, and air quality patterns. 2007.

Helping Communities Plan for Climate Extremes

This sponsored research project includes an annotated bibliography with dozens of reports, planning documents, and other resources on planning for climate extremes by using available climate data.


This project is made possible by a grant by the Institute of Library and Museum Sciences to the National Aquarium. The National Aquarium is partnering with APA, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE), and the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) to help recruit prospective teams and technical advisors, develop the workshop curriculum, provide technical advice and support for the action projects, and assist in the program evaluation.