City of Durham
At a Glance
Climate Justice/Energy Equity, Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy
Maggie Armstrong developed a pilot project proposal for resilience hubs to serve historically low-investment neighborhoods in Durham in better preparing for, withstanding, and recovering from the impacts of climate change.
The City of Durham is considering enhancing community centers in low-income neighborhoods to serve as resilience hubs by incorporating climate resilience programming and infrastructure, including rooftop solar and battery storage.
Maggie Armstrong was tasked with exploring the potential of these hubs in Durham and developing a resource toolkit for future development, including project goals, site selection criteria, technology options, and financing mechanisms.
In collaboration with Durham’s Sustainability and Energy Management Team, Maggie:
- Researched active resilience hubs and community center microgrids in other cities. This revealed potential resilience hub models, considerations for site selection, and key components for solar + storage infrastructure.
- Conducted a listening tour with over 30 local stakeholders. This included staff from City, County, and School District offices, as well as relevant private and non-profit institutions. These discussions explored local community facilities, the role of neighborhood-scale spaces in community engagement, ongoing resilience work and the potential for a network to connect resilience efforts and community members.
- Proposed a pilot project of 1-3 local government-owned and operated resilience hubs. This included two parallel courses of work, one focusing on site development, and the other establishing an advisory committee to co-develop the resilience network and programming.
Establishing resilience hubs in existing and trusted neighborhood spaces will enable historically low-investment communities in Durham to better prepare for, withstand, and recover from the impacts of climate change. The use of on-site renewables and battery storage will allow these community centers to offer uninterrupted services even in the wake of disruptive events and power outages.
Additionally, a network of resilience hubs will provide a platform for local organizations and government offices to engage directly with residents in building resilience.