In 2020, the City of Houston and regional stakeholders cemented a resilience strategy and a climate action plan and adapted these initiatives to account for COVID-19’s impact on urban life. Learn more about the progress made in the first year of these two transformative efforts to both mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and other physical, social, and economic urban adversities and challenges.

Resilient Houston 1-Year Report

The City of Houston has published a report commemorating the one-year anniversary of Resilient Houston. Download the report here.

The Kinder Institute is creating a Resilience and Recovery Tracker in 2021 with lead support from Chevron. This page is a pre-launch publication of that tracker set to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the City of Houston’s Resilient Houston Strategy in February 2021. It shows progress made in the first year implementing the strategy and the city’s Climate Action Plan, also published in 2020. This page will be incorporated into the full tracker site upon launch, with more in-depth data behind these initial numbers. The City of Houston has also published a report commemorating the one-year anniversary of Resilient Houston, which can be accessed here.

Target Status Legend:

Resilient Houston Icon Pause Not Yet Reporting  Resilient Houston Icon Play Ongoing  Resilient Houston Icon Complete Completed  Resilient Houston Icon Covid Impact Impacted by COVID-19

Resilient Houston

Resilient Houston, the City of Houston’s resilience strategy, links existing efforts with new ones that will collectively work to protect Houston against future disasters—from hurricanes to extreme heat waves—and chronic stresses such as aging infrastructure, poor air quality, and flooding.

Resilient Houston sets 18 high-level targets across 5 scales. The following section shows the city's progress as of February 2021 on each of the targets.

Resilient Houston report cover

Released in February 2020, the Resilient Houston strategy frames five key Visions for Houston’s future along with 18 goals and 62 actions describing the path forward, timeframe, partners, implementation opportunities, and corresponding U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Download the report here.

CHAPTER 1: PREPARED & THRIVING HOUSTONIANS

Making Houston more resilient begins with supporting Houstonians with tools and resources to be resilient as individuals. Our collective resilience improves when all Houstonians have the capacity to prepare for and adapt to an increasingly uncertain future, have access to employment and wealth-building opportunities, and enjoy a safe and healthy quality of life.

Target 1. Provide at least 500,000 Houstonians with preparedness training by 2025.

Resilient Houston Icon PlayResilient Houston Icon Covid Impact Status: Ongoing (Impacted by COVID-19)

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020

5,750 Houstonians trained

98,850 Houstonians to be trained per year in 2021-2025 to reach the 2025 goal

 

Target 2. Offer 20,000 Hire Houston Youth Summer Jobs in 2020.

Resilient Houston Icon PlayResilient Houston Icon Covid Impact Status: Ongoing (Impacted by COVID-19)

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020

1,881 jobs provided through Hire Houston Youth out of 5,921 applicants

20,000 jobs to be provided in 2021

 

Target 3. Ensure zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Houston streets by 2030.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020

260 Fatalities

1,216 Serious Injuries

Reduce fatalities by 26 and serious injuries by 122 each year in 2021-2030 to reach the 2030 goal

 

CHAPTER 2: SAFE & EQUITABLE NEIGHBORHOODS

Each of Houston’s 88 super neighborhoods has different resilience priorities, including flooding, air quality, displacement, and mobility. These challenges are best addressed by developing and implementing place-based solutions at the neighborhood scale.

Target 4. Develop 50 neighborhood plans by 2030.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
10 neighborhood plans developed (20% of goal)* Complete 4 neighborhood plans per year to reach 2030 goal

*See Houston’s Complete Communities for more details.

Target 5. Invest $5 million in local artists to create resilience awareness projects across the city by 2025.

Resilient Houston Icon PlayResilient Houston Icon Covid Impact Status: Ongoing (Impacted by COVID-19)

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
  • $10,000 for project-funding
  • $5 million in emergency COVID-19 relief efforts for local artists*
  • 2 new cultural arts districts designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts (Fifth Ward and Third Ward)
$998,000 to be invested each year in 2021-2025 to reach the 2025 goal, though the impact of COVID-19 on recovery and resilience efforts should be accounted for

*$165 million in losses reported by arts and culture organizations due to COVID-19. See City of Houston Mayor’s Press Release for more information.

Target 6. Plant 4.6 million new native trees by 2030.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing 

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020

712,717 trees planted*

  • 377,100 tree plantings projected in 2021
  • 500,100 tree plantings projected in 2022
  • 389,000 tree plantings per year needed to reach the goal by 2030

*2019 and 2020 combined. Data provided by Houston Wilderness’ Tree Strategy Implementation Group

Target 7. Build at least 375,000 new homes across every income level by 2050 to welcome new residents to the City of Houston.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

2020 Progress Beyond 2020
19,467 residential units built* 12,500 residential units per year needed over the next 30 years to reach 2050 goal

*Houston Public Works

CHAPTER 3: HEALTHY & CONNECTED BAYOUS

Living safely with water and embracing the role of bayous as Houston’s front yard are essential to improving physical, environmental, and economic resilience.

Target 8. Remove all habitable structures from the floodway by 2030.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
The City identified 5,595 habitable structures in the floodway* Remove 560 structures per year in the floodway to reach the 2030 target

*The estimated total number of structures in the floodway is based on the City of Houston’s estimate from the 2020 appraisal district data and using the latest FEMA definition of the floodway.

 

Target 9. Construct at least 500 miles of trails and bike lanes by 2025.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020

13 miles of high-comfort bikeways built in 2020

  • Overall, 344 miles of high-comfort bikeways in existence (69% of the goal)
  • Existing Bikeways:
    • 25 miles of dedicated on-street high-comfort bikeways
    • 32 miles of shared on-street high-comfort bikeways
    • 287 miles of off-street bikeways
  • 18 miles of high-comfort bikeways planned in 2021
  • 34.5 miles of high-comfort bikeways needed per year from 2022-2025 to reach 2025 goal.

 

CHAPTER 4: ACCESSIBLE & ADAPTIVE CITY

The City of Houston will lead by example to further embed climate readiness, equity, inclusion and resilience into all City policies and practices.

Target 10. Achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
33,414,134 Total GHGs (Metric Tonnes CO2e) in 2019* 1,077,875 Metric Tonnes CO2e to cut yearly in 2020-2050

*Total greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the City of Houston’s community-wide emissions inventory; carbon neutrality refers to reaching net zero carbon dioxide emissions

Target 11. Complete 100 new green stormwater infrastructure projects by 2025.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
30 green stormwater infrastructure projects (30% of the goal) 14 green stormwater infrastructure projects needed per year to reach 2025 goal

 

Target 12. Eliminate geographic disparities in life expectancy by 2050.

Resilient Houston Icon PlayResilient Houston Icon Covid Impact Status: Ongoing (Impacted by COVID-19)

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
24 year disparity in life expectancy between the census tracts with the highest and lowest estimated life expectancy*
  • Lowest = 65.7 years of age in Settegast
  • Highest = 89.1 years of age in Clear Lake
Reduce life expectancy disparity by 8 years each decade between 2020-2050


*Source: National Center for Health Statistics. U.S. Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project (USALEEP): Life Expectancy Estimates File for {Jurisdiction}, 2010-2015]. National Center for Health Statistics. 2018. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/usaleep/usaleep.htm

Target 13. Appoint Department Resilience Officers in every City of Houston Department in 2020.

Resilient Houston Icon Complete Status: Completed

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020

24 Departmental Resilience Officers appointed

Coordinate resilience efforts across city departments and track progress into the future

 

CHAPTER 5: INNOVATIVE & INTEGRATED REGION

By taking a regional approach to building resilience, we can extend the benefits of resilience planning to more communities while including additional partners who increase our capacity to meet these goals.

Target 14. Attract or incubate 50 Energy 2.0 companies in Greater Houston by 2025.

Resilient Houston Icon PlayResilient Houston Icon Covid Impact Status: Ongoing (Impacted by COVID-19)

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020

28 Energy 2.0 companies either relocated or started-up in Houston in 2020, hitting more than half of the 5-year goal

Attract or incubate about 5 companies every year in 2021-2025 to reach 2025 goal

 

Target 15. Provide 100% of Houstonians access to high-frequency public transportation choices within a half-mile by 2050.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020

54% of Houstonians live within a half-mile of high-frequency public transportation

Expand high-frequency public transportation to 16% more Houstonians (~700,000) each decade to reach 2050 goal

 

Target 16. Conserve 24% of undeveloped regional lands as natural spaces by 2040.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
14.7% of undeveloped regional lands preserved 2.3%, or about 116,000 acres of regional lands, to be conserved every five years to reach the 2040 goal

 

Target 17. Ensure that 100% of Houstonians and visitors have access to accurate, real-time emergency alerting by 2030.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
7% of  Houstonians (161,619) are registered in Alert Houston 260,000 more Houstonians need to be updated with real-time emergency alerting per year from 2021-2030 to reach the 2030 goal

 

Target 18. Invest $50 billion in major recovery, mitigation, and modernization projects that increase resilience by 2040.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020

$7,600,000 (15% of the goal)*

Invest $10.6 Billion every five years in major recovery, mitigation, and modernization projects to reach the 2040

*includes 2016 projects and on-ward

 

Climate Action Plan

 

A Climate Action Plan provides evidenced-based measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preventative measures to address the negative outcomes of climate change. Houston's Climate Action Plan will demonstrate how the City will adapt and improve its resilience to climate hazards that impact the city today as well as risks that may increase in the coming years. The CAP was developed as a companion document to Resilient Houston.

On April 22, 2020 – the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – the City launched the science-based, community-driven Houston Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, meet the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and lead the global energy transition. Download the report here.

The plan is organized into four focus areas: TransportationEnergy TransitionBuilding Optimization, and Materials Management. The following section shows the city's progress as of February 2021 on each of the targets within these focus areas.

TRANSPORTATION


Target 1. Convert non-emergency, light-duty municipal fleet to 100% EV by 2030.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
13% of the city's municipal fleet are electric vehicles (EVs) The City must convert 320 vehicles to EVs each year to hit the remaining 87% by 2030

 

Target 2. Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) per capita 20% by 2050.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
Annual VMT increased 9% from 14,754 miles per capita in 2014 to 16,114 in 2019*

Reduce VMT by 3,225 miles per capita by 2050 to reach the 20% goal

*Baseline data from 2014 predates Houston's Climate Action Plan; 2020 data is not available

 

Target 3. Ensure zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Houston streets by 2030.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
260 Fatalities
1,216 Serious Injuries
Reduce fatalities by 26 and serious injuries by 122 each year in 2021-2030 to reach the 2030 goal

 

ENERGY TRANSITION


Target 4. 5 million MWh local solar per year by 2050.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
64,250 MWh of local solar produced in 2019 (1% of the goal)* 5,000,000 MWh of local solar power to be produced per year to reach the 2050 goal

*2020 data not yet available

Target 5. Attract or incubate 50 Energy 2.0 companies in Greater Houston by 2025.

Resilient Houston Icon PlayResilient Houston Icon Covid Impact Status: Ongoing (Impacted by Covid-19)

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020

28 Energy 2.0 companies either relocated or started-up in Houston in 2020, hitting more than half of the 5-year goal.

Attract or incubate about 5 companies every year in 2021-2025 to reach the 2025 goal

 

Target 6. Plant 4.6 million new native trees by 2030.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
712,717 trees planted*
  • 377,100 trees projected in 2021
  • 500,100 trees projected in 2022
  • 389,000 trees per year needed to reach the goal by 2030

*2019 and 2020 combined. Data provided by Houston Wilderness' Tree Strategy Implementation Group.

 

BUILDING OPTIMIZATION


Target 7. Adopt the 2021 ICC model building code by 2025.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
The City pursued and is continuing to adopt the 2015 ICC model building code and aims to adopt the 2021 model code by 2025. Adopt 2021 ICC model building code by 2025

 

Target 8. Double the current number of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) projects by 2025

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
8 PACE Projects Target achieved in 2020. Accessing future goals.

 

Target 9. 70% of non-residential buildings operated by trained building operator by 2030.

Resilient Houston Icon PauseResilient Houston Icon Covid Impact Status: Not yet reporting (Impacted by COVID-19)

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
Did not pursue trainings due to COVID-19 Commence training program in 2021

 

MATERIALS MANAGEMENT


Target 10. Reduce residential waste 50% by 2040.

 Resilient Houston Icon PlayResilient Houston Icon Covid Impact Status:Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
Residential waste increased 16% from 2018 to 2019, from 707,302 to 718,506 tons* Reduce residential waste by 90,000 tons every 5 years to reach the 50% reduction target by 2040

*2020 data not yet available

Target 11. Convert municipal solid waste fleet to low-emission vehicles by 2030.

Resilient Houston Icon Play Status: Ongoing

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
19 out of 563 solid waste fleet vehicles were converted to low-emission vehicles (3%) Convert 55 solid waste vehicles into low-emission vehices per year to reach 2030 target

 

Target 12. Adopt a long range solid waste plan in 2020.

 Resilient Houston Icon Complete Status: Completed

Activity in 2020 Beyond 2020
The City conducted a 20-year master plan in 2020 Implement the goals of Houston's Long Range Solid Waste Plan
 

Note (disclaimers):

  1. 2-year lag on various Climate Action Pan Targets due to data collection and reporting efforts
  2. Unless noted here, information on targets were provided by departments within the City of Houston. 

We thank the countless partners providing support.

Implementation and Data Partners:

  • AARP
  • Accenture
  • Asakura Robinson
  • Atmos Research
  • Bloomberg Associates
  • C40
  • CenterPoint Energy
  • Cities Connecting Children to Nature
  • Cities for a Resilient Recovery
  • Conservation Flood Mitigation Working Group
  • COVID-19 Health Equity Response Task Force
  • Denmark
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Evolve Houston
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Government Alliance for Racial Equity
  • Greater Houston Partnership
  • H3AT Partners and Volunteers
  • HARC
  • Harris County Flood Control District
  • Harris County Health Department
  • Houston Parks Board
  • Houston Wilderness
  • HR&A
  • January Advisors
  • Katy Prairie Conservancy
  • METRO
  • Microsoft
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • National League of Cities
  • New Hope Housing
  • Port of Houston
  • Resilient Cities Catalyst
  • Resilient Cities Network
  • The Ion
  • The Kinder Institute for Urban Research
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Netherlands
  • Trees for Houston
  • ULI Houston
  • UNICEF
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Water Institute of the Gulf
  • Vision Zero Partners

The Kinder Institute is grateful for our partners at Chevron whose support has enabled us to undertake the Resilience and Recovery Tracker project.