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Chicago’s incentive strategy

Due to the risks of rainstorms, heat waves, and climate change, there is a growing interest in adopting green infrastructure in Chicago. To respond to the threat to urban flooding and the rising temperature and to adapt to future threats of climate change and sustain the urban and economic development, the city leadership analyzed both the environmental and the economic impacts of this change of the region’s climate and came up with a plan enforced by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning alongside with NGOs and supervised by a steering committee. The result was Chicago Climate Action Plan, which promotes green infrastructure as a solution to mitigate these climate related issues.

One of the innovative approaches via which The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) initiated this action plan is the involvement of the private sector. This involvement comes from an economic analysis of the financial risks caused by the chance in climate. One of the innovative thing about Chicago’s initiative for green infrastructure is that it gave the opportunity to the private sector to be involved in the process of implementing GI by using contract incentives and tax reductions if for instance the construction companies chose to include green roofs in their designs.

However, the fact that this type of incentive mostly comes from local government does not seem to me as a sustainable way to raise awareness and familiarity of the usage of green infrastructure in the long run.  Subsidizing is not only a clear way to raise awareness as it does not involve any educational counterpart that targets the local users. it is also not sustainable from a managerial way: Chicago is the third largest regional economy is the States, therefore, for GI to thrive as a sector, companies must see it as a beneficial market beyond the subsidy part, because: 1# their consumers demand it and 2# because they would sustain a loss if they do not adopt GI – (for example, by enforcing a penalty policy).



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