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Strategy Implementation Updates

Norfolk’s resilience strategy contains actionable recommendations to face and respond to our current and future challenges and capitalize on our strengths and opportunities. The actions that support the strategy are diverse, but all of them are a commitment to a new way of doing business—collective and coordinated action to build resilience. Below, you can learn about the initiatives that are already underway.

Goal 1: Design the coastal community of the future. 

Elizabeth Riverfront & Harbor Park Brownfields – Preliminary Constructability Plan
The City of Norfolk commissioned this report using funds from a Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Fund Commonwealth Planning grant. The report provides a design development strategy for improving infrastructure and ecological restoration that reflects the City’s resilience lens of living with water, economic diversification and community connectivity. Read more...

Dutch Dialogues
The Royal Netherlands Embassy, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, and the cities of Norfolk, Newport News, and Hampton jointly hosted the Virginia Dutch Dialogues in June 2015 to generate innovative ideas for living with water. For Norfolk, these innovations included using water management as a way to protect and revitalize neighborhoods. 

Vision 2100
The City of Norfolk has begun a planning process called Vision 2100, a citizen-led discussion to identify what principles the city should use to guide future land use decisions. 

Retain Your Rain
Norfolk residents learn how they can be part of building a more resilient Norfolk through a citywide, systemic approach to water management. Read more...

In collaboration with the Norfolk Master Gardeners, Bayview Civic League, Bay View Elementary, and Norfolk Master Naturalists, the City of Norfolk hosted its second Retain Your Rain workshop at Bay View Elementary School in Spring 2017! The green infrastructure installed by volunteers will capture 600 gallons of rainwater. Read more. 

The City of Norfolk launched a Retain Your Rain Mini Grant Pilot last fall that offered up to $2,000 to a neighborhood organization to install green infrastructure. Northside Civic League's proposal for a 'rain retention food forest' was selected for the Pilot. In December, Northside Civic League planted the food forest at Mary Calcott Elementary School. The food forest will absorb over 3,000 gallons of stormwater in addition to providing fresh food and vegetables to the neighborhood. Read more. Watch a video.

City of Norfolk Zoning Ordinance Rewrite
The City of Norfolk is conducting a comprehensive rewrite of its Zoning Ordinance to position the city as the resilient coastal community of the future. In collaboration with 100 Resilient Cities, the Office of Resilience, Planning Department, and local stakeholders, participated in a collaborative workshop and interviewed other coastal cities to explore how resilience can best be infused into a new zoning ordinance for the city. To stay updated, click here.

Resilience Opportunity Framing Workshop helps City, Naval Station, and USA Army Corps
Last October, Norfolk's City Manager, The Commander of Naval Mid-Atlantic Facilities Engineering Command, and the Norfolk District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commander (USACE) and their senior staffs participated in a two-day workshop on resilience value realization. Read more...

Citywide Coastal Storm Risk Management Study 
The US Army Corps of Engineers, in collaboration with the City of Norfolk, is in the middle of a three-year long Coastal Storm Risk Management study to develop an array of structural and non-structural flood mitigation projects for the city. 

The full Draft Feasibility and Environmental Impact Statement for this study was released October 27th, 2017. This Draft Report outlines the engineering, costs, and impacts of the proposed series of measures to reduce the risk of damage from a coastal storm. Read the Draft Report here. 
NATO Interdependency in Resilience Conference
From May 2nd to 4th 2017, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and the Mayor of Norfolk hosted a conference examining 'Interdependency in Resilience', supported by leaders from 34 NATO and EU nations, and more than 30 private sector partners. The conference improved understanding and visibility of what resilience means across the civil, private, and military sectors; established knowledge transfer and developed actionable proposals to improve mutual collaboration to help build resilience. Read more... Watch a video on the conference.

Read the conference paper 'Building Resilience -- Collaborative Proposals to Help Nations and Partners' here.

National Disaster Resilience Competition Project
Planning is underway for implementation of the $112 million HUD grant awarded to the Commonwealth of Virginia for a transformational coastal improvement project in Norfolk. The Ohio Creek Watershed project will implement various landscape and hardscape options to reduce flooding and improve connectivity to the rest of the city and waterway. To stay updated, click here. 

Brownfield Redevelopment
One of our newest projects is addressing brownfield properties through a resilience lens. An older, industrial city, Norfolk once housed industries that employed hazardous substances, some of which may have leached into the land. Many of these industries, including steel production, creosote plants and rail yards, were located on Norfolk’s waterfront, including in the Harbor Park area of the city. Since 2015, Norfolk has been awarded $650,000 worth of brownfield assessment, planning, and consulting services for Harbor Park. Read more about our brownfield redevelopment efforts

Using Technology to Build Resilient Communities
The City of Norfolk is taking advantage of a changing environment to build resilience by designing the coastal community of the future, connecting communities, and strengthening neighborhoods. The use of application programs, more commonly known as apps, is playing a significant role in helping the city reach these resilience goals. Click here to read about these apps.

StormSense is a project that was developed for the Global Cities Team Challenge (GCTC), which originated from the White House Smart Cities Initiatives. The GCTC is a collaborative network of project teams working on groundbreaking applications of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies within the smart city/community environment.  Norfolk is a core team member of regional cities, in partnership with Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), that make up this project team. Newport News, representing StormSense, was recently awarded a $75,000 grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to install tide gauge sensors and expand VIMS flood modeling/forecasting capabilities. This project will provide an accurate regional map and forecast, enabling cities in the region to determine flood risk up to 36 hours in advance of storm events. It also will be able to provide real-time alerts and web mapping tools including, but not limited to, third party applications like Waze.

Water Level Monitoring System (WLMS) Pilot
The Water Level Monitoring System (WLMS) Pilot project is an innovative approach to gathering real-time water level data in frequently flooded intersections/streets around the Hague using tide gauge sensors. This data is then transmitted to a cloud -hosted database for analysis and storage using low-cost technology (LoRa-long range Wi-Fi) never attempted before in the State. While this pilot project is only a small-scale collection of water level data, it serves as the foundation of a “smart cities” system using innovative cost-effective technology which can be applied to other challenges facing Norfolk beyond flooding.

Goal 2: Create economic opportunity by advancing efforts to grow existing and new industry sectors.

RE.bound Bonds
Investing in resilience is complicated. The City of Norfolk organized a workshop to discuss how to capture potential insurance benefits generated by specific coastal protection projects. Read more...

Goal 3: Advance initiatives to connect communities, deconcentrate poverty, and strengthen neighborhoods.

We Feed 
The City of Norfolk, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore and the local IT firm Concursive, have partnered to fight food insecurity in the city. Read more...

Citywide Affordable Housing Study
In early 2017, the City of Norfolk concluded a Citywide Affordable Housing Study conducted by HR&A Advisors to provide a market analysis of Norfolk neighborhoods, assess the City’s housing needs, and offer realistic solutions to fulfill those needs. Based on the results of the study, two main goals were identified that form the basis of the City’s Affordable Housing Strategy: Strengthen neighborhoods and deconcentrate poverty. To achieve these goals, a comprehensive toolbox was created with various strategies and tools that will be geographically deployed in order to strengthen the housing market in targeted neighborhoods. These collaborative efforts are driving the implementation of our third resilience goal. Learn more. 

Strengthening Neighborhoods Pilot
The final phase of the Citywide Affordable Housing Study conducted in 2016-2017 included recommendations for strengthening neighborhoods. Beginning this year, the City will launch a pilot in targeted neighborhoods where the housing market is showing strength, but could tip toward weakness without proper investment. In these “tipping point neighborhoods” the city will deploy a series of tools designed to increase home ownership, promote small rental revitalization, and create new rental housing.  Existing city programs such as Renovate Norfolk, will be paired with new programs, such as Small Rental Rehabilitation, with the goal of moving the housing market in a positive direction.  

Bank On
Bank On Norfolk has been essential in advancing our resilience goals by building economic resilience throughout Norfolk, resident by resident. Bank On Norfolk was established in January 2016, when the City partnered with Bank On Hampton Roads to bring free financial education classes to Norfolk citizens, a collaboration that also aligns with the Norfolk Plan to Reduce Poverty. So far, we've held two graduations, and current classes will graduate July 2017. Learn more.

In July 2017, Bank On Hampton Roads held its first regional graduation with all three participating cities (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth). Norfolk had 12 participants graduate from the program. In addition, Bank On Norfolk received awards for the Greatest Average Credit Score Improvement and having the most graduates among the participating cities. Over the ten month period of the program, these 12 participants increased their savings by nearly $6,000. The successes of Bank On are building financial resilience in Norfolk one resident at a time. 

Neighbors Helping Neighbors
The City of Norfolk is building community-level resilience through a collaborative initiative, Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Under the program, Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA) Midrise apartment residents learn about disaster readiness, neighborhood safety, fire safety, and first aid. Click here to learn more. Watch a video on the initiative here

Contact Us

Office of Resilience 

501 Boush St. 
Norfolk, VA 23510

Ph: 757-441-2602

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.