Newly released evaluation reports by researchers from the University of California Los Angeles Luskin Center for Innovation, the University of San Francisco School of Management, and Sacramento State University Institute for Social Research highlight how the Transformative Climate Communities Program (TCC) is improving the lives of Californians through community-led, catalytic investments that improve environmental, economic, and health outcomes in California neighborhoods impacted by longstanding pollution and poverty.
The new evaluation reports from the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation document the progress of TCC-supported action in five communities across California: Fresno, Ontario, Stockton, and the Watts and Northeast San Fernando Valley neighborhoods of Los Angeles. These annual reports are part of the ongoing evaluation that UCLA conducts in collaboration with TCC grantees. In the coming weeks, Sacramento State University and the University of San Francisco will release reports on TCC projects in Sacramento and Oakland, respectively. The University of California, Riverside and Riverside Community Health Foundation will release in 2023 an evaluation report on the first year of progress on a TCC Implementation Grant in Riverside.
“The Transformative Climate Communities Program model prioritizes residents’ knowledge and empowerment to address climate change and neighborhood challenges through the operationalization of values such as community governance, collaboration, and capacity building,” said Lynn von Koch-Liebert Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council. “These series of reports continue to reaffirm that this is the model and approach we must take to empower communities affected by systemic poverty and pollution to implement their visions for healthier, more equitable, and prosperous places to live.”
The California Legislature established TCC in 2016 to enable Disadvantaged Communities (as defined by CalEnviroscreen) to reduce pollution, strengthen local economies, and improve public health by envisioning, planning, and implementing community-driven suites of projects and plans. TCC awards also help communities build capacity and social infrastructure, and pilot new models for community oversight of planning and community development. In their reports, the Luskin research team writes that they “are not aware of such a comprehensive, community-driven, and place-based climate action program anywhere else in the world."
The research teams closely study TCC to identify best practices and lessons learned. The evaluation reports provide a wealth of quantitative and qualitative information that enables SGC to improve the program’s effectiveness on an ongoing basis.
“Learning from these pilots is important,” said Jason Karman, Project Director at the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation. “As one of the most comprehensive community-scale climate programs in the world, lessons from TCC can support equitable climate action elsewhere.”
In a companion article to the reports, Luskin highlights how the TCC program provides a “one-stop shop to address community priorities around housing, transportation, urban greening, jobs, and education, which so often have interconnected implications for the health of people locally and the planet globally.”
Read five of the full evaluation reports on the Transformative Climate Communities page of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation website. In the coming weeks, Sacramento State University’s Institute for Social Research and the University of San Francisco School of Management will release evaluation reports on TCC sites in Sacramento and Oakland respectively.
Read a few key highlights from the reports, which cover the period from April 2019 to June 2021, below:
- Transform Fresno ($66.5M Round 1 TCC Investment, 2018) made significant improvement on key infrastructure projects: continued construction of The Monarch @ Chinatown affordable housing near the High-Speed Rail station; continued programming at the Yosemite Village Permaculture Garden and Urban Farm Incubator in Southwest Fresno; released draft displacement avoidance plan; and continued widespread community engagement opportunities. Latest Transform Fresno report.
- Watts Rising ($33.25M Round 1 TCC Investment, 2018) launched the Watts Rising Air Quality Monitoring Network; connected residents to solar job training and jobs; started construction on affordable housing; conducted bicycle education and safety trainings for community members; distributed over 240,000 pounds of food to residents; and received the first electric bus for the first-ever electric bus line of the LA Department of Transportation. Latest Watts Rising report.
- Ontario Together ($33.25M Round 1 TCC Investment, 2018) completed the all-electric Vista Verde Apartments moved residents into 101 deeply affordable units; connected 53 residents to jobs and 45 to job training opportunities; and continued to provide solar installations in family homes in the TCC-project area. Latest Ontario Together report.
- Green Together Northeast San Fernando Valley ($23M Round 2 TCC Investment, 2018) ramped up rollout of greenhouse gas reduction projects; deepened community engagement efforts; connected residents with training and employment opportunities; coordinated efforts to mitigate displacement of residents and businesses; and completed green infrastructure projects. Latest Green Together report.
- Stockton Rising ($10.8M Round 3 TCC Investment, 2020) established partnerships and a governance structure to ensure meaningful community engagement and accountability; connected residents to healthy food options; broke ground on Miner Avenue infrastructure improvements; kicked-off solar installations in low-income settings; conducted energy efficiency upgrade outreach; launched job training for electric bus mechanics; and conducted climate action community engagement efforts. Latest Stockton Rising report.
- Sacramento Integrated Multi-Modal Place-Based Living Project (SIMPL) ($23M Round 2 TCC Investment, 2018) began construction on the Mirasol Village housing development and community garden; completed the design of the new Dos Rios Light Rail Station; kicked off the NeighborWoods community tree-planting program; and began to form and convene the Leadership Council.
- Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors in East Oakland ($28.2M Round 3 TCC Investment, 2020) broke ground on a 55-unit affordable housing development; kicked off an after-school enrichment program with the Scraper Bike Team; began development on an aquaponics farm which will provide food and job opportunities to residents; and began implementing their community engagement, displacement avoidance, and workforce development plans.