Resilience in Ann Arbor, MI

Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor

While the city of Ann Arbor reaps many benefits from its location in the water-rich state of Michigan, it also faces numerous challenges, including a drastic increase in annual precipitation, more flooding events and subsequent economic disruptions and public health impacts. However, compared to other regions of the country that are projected to face devastating droughts, sea level rise, wildfires and other climate impacts, Michigan's cities will be relatively less affected by these hazards. As such, Ann Arbor is anticipating an increase in population as residents from other regions in the U.S. resettle in less impacted cities. The city is wisely preparing not only for the impacts that climate change will generate, but also for the potential influx of domestic climate migrants who may arrive. 

To ensure Ann Arbor is prepared for these climatic and demographic changes, the city will include these variables into its Capital Improvements Plan (CIP), particularly as it plans for upgrades in its water treatment plant and other critical infrastructure. The goal of this work is to fully institutionalize climate change adaptation and population projections into all future city projects.  

The Ann Arbor team will work with the National League of Cities to:

  1. Compile climate projections for any remaining variables such as data on heat waves, seasonal changes, extreme precipitation and extreme temperatures leading up to 2050, 2075 and 2100.
  2. Work with climate demographers to develop population projections that include growth due to climate migration.
  3. Train and engage all city staff on how to use the compiled data and projections in their CIP application process, and to understand which additional climate and weather variables the city should be aware of when designing capital projects.
  4. Educate and engage with community members on the potential impacts of a large population influx and gather input from the public as well as other stakeholders on the city’s plans. 

Ultimately, this project will enable Ann Arbor and NLC to create a blueprint for other similarly-sized cities interested in fully integrating both physical climate projections and climate-related demographic changes in their Capital Improvement Programs.