City of Austin
At a Glance
Climate Justice/Energy Equity
Maggie Armstrong devised a framework of quantifiable metrics to measure the equitable implementation and impact of the Austin Climate Equity Plan, with a focus on low-income communities and communities of color.
In 2021, the City of Austin adopted the Austin Climate Equity Plan, which centered the needs of low-income communities and communities of color in the City’s path toward climate neutrality and sustainability. In adopting this ambitious and collaborative plan, the City committed to using climate action and a just transition to address the unjust impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on these communities. The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability enlisted Maggie Armstrong to develop equity-based metrics for tracking the community and departmental outcomes of the Climate Equity Plan.
In collaboration with the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability, Maggie proposed:
A framework that categorized metrics into “Action Indicators” and “Community Impact Indicators”;
A variety of approaches to center low-income communities and communities of color in climate action metrics. This includes gathering racially disaggregated engagement data for City programs, monitoring racially disaggregated community surveys, and distinguishing between progress in “city-wide,” “priority,” and “high-priority” equity areas when tracking geographically referenced indicators;
A spatial approach to defining priority equity areas within the city based on thresholds of socio-economic vulnerability, calculated using census data;
Detailed metrics for each of the Climate Equity Plan’s 17 goals and 74 strategies based on the proposed framework and methods.
Maggie’s work will enable the City of Austin to systematically collect and communicate data that measures progress at the intersection of climate and equity action. In addition to addressing movement towards emissions reduction and sustainable land use, this data will quantify the degree to which the City’s initiatives center and serve marginalized groups. This type of data is critical both to celebrate the work of the City and its community partners and to identify further opportunities to act on the equity-focused strategies of the Austin Climate Equity Plan.