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Tell San José City Council To Invest In Equitable Urban Greening

With San José already experiencing the impacts of climate change, we need to take action now to protect our communities from flooding and excessive urban heat.


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Over the past few years, San José has experienced the impacts of climate change in the form of rising temperatures and scorching heatwaves. Flooding from extreme storms is another imminent threat. Urban green infrastructure can mitigate these impacts, all while keeping pollution out of the Bay and providing invaluable physical and mental health benefits to surrounding communities. The San José City Council must ensure a climate-resilient future for the city by prioritizing investment in equitable urban greening.

If you are a San José resident and want to see more green infrastructure in your city, let your city councilmembers know by signing the petition below. If you don’t live in San José, contact your local legislators about the benefits of urban greening for your city.

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Recipients: Mayor Sam Liccardo
San José City Councilmembers: Charles “Chappie” Jones, Sergio Jimenez, Raul Peralez, David Cohen, Magdalena Carrasco, Devora “Dev” Davis, Maya Esparza, Sylvia Arenas, Pam Foley, Matt Mahan

Subject: Prioritize Urban Greening for a Climate Resilient San José

Dear Mayor Sam Liccardo and San José City Councilmembers,

I am a San José resident writing to express my strong support for urban greening in our community. In recent years, climate impacts like higher temperatures and more extreme heatwaves have negatively impacted San José residents’ quality of life. Flooding from extreme storms is likely in the near future. The city needs to prioritize mitigation measures now to avoid disaster and build our city’s resilience to climate change.

One such mitigation measure that has numerous climate and community benefits is urban greening, or replacing impermeable “grey” infrastructure with permeable “green” alternatives. Urban greening can take many forms, all of which can provide unique benefits to our city. For example, rain gardens can help sequester stormwater and prevent flooding,1 and adding trees to our streets will reduce urban heat.2 Urban green spaces also promote active transit like walking and biking3 and provide important mental health benefits to surrounding communities.4 To maximize the ecosystem benefits of urban greening, native vegetation should be prioritized whenever possible. This will create habitat for butterflies, birds and pollinators, safeguarding biodiversity in the face of climate change.

To effectively mitigate climate impacts, urban greening must be implemented equitably. Due to historical inequities and under-investment in East San José, streets there lack green spaces compared to the rest of the city. This has left East San José vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which threaten the health and social fabric of the East San José community. Action is needed now.

The state recently allocated over $1 billion in new funding for climate resilience projects, including urban greening. San José should position itself to be competitive for that funding by committing to expand multi-benefit greening projects across the city. Urban greening should focus on communities like East San José, where it is needed the most. Equitable implementation of urban greening would be an important step in combating environmental racism in our city.

We call on you to invest in a climate-resilient San José by prioritizing urban greening in the upcoming priority setting and budget processes. Thank you for taking this important step to protect our communities and our environment.