The Chicago Climate Action Plan, officially launched in October, 2008, provides a specific blueprint to reduce the City’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80% below by 2050. To accomplish this goal, the City (led by Department of Environment), is calling for wide-spread participation across all sectors—businesses, civic institutions, and neighborhood residents. It has marshaled significant resources to assist residents and institutions, but faces a major challenge in both communicating and implementing the plan; and there are unique challenges in reaching Chicago’s low income communities.
Within the CCAP project, SONIC investigates the communication networks in diverse Chicago communities. We determine the communication, information-dissemination, and mobilization networks in the community and how can they be enabled to create greater awareness of and engagement in the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Research has demonstrated that tapping into existing networks and strengthening communications flows is a powerful strategy for disseminating new information and mobilizing action. People are more likely to use information from trusted sources, and act on that information or share it with others in their social networks. Understanding how local networks function and then engaging key actors in these networks to “get the word out” about climate change and act on those words will be a powerful way to gain adoption for the City’s plan.
The CCAP project is funded by the Global Philanthropy Partnership (GPP) and is in collaboration with the City of Chicago Department of Environment and the Division of Environment, Culture, and Conservation (ECCo) at The Field Museum.
Young, L. & Contractor, N. (2011). Mapping community-based information networks to enable the chicago climate action plan: A case study of the South Chicago Community. Chicago, IL: Northwestern University.
Young, L., Pieterson, W., Hsieh, Y.P., Wang, H., & Contractor, N. (2010). Mapping community-based information networks to enable the chicago climate action plan: A case study of the North Kenwood/Oakland community. Chicago, IL: Northwestern University. CCAP_NorthKenwoodOakland Analysis Report