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In recognizing the unique challenges posed by climate change and economic globalization, assessing the local susceptibility to these threats becomes paramount in planning efforts. Beckett & Raeder, Inc. performed a vulnerability assessment of land, structures and population in Trenton, Michigan to assess the potential local threats from these forces.


The planning team first mapped the distribution of population with greater vulnerability to climate change-related hazards including drought, heat, and flooding. Demographic characteristics such as poverty rates, low levels of educational attainment, single person households, and elderly and very young residents were mapped throughout the community. These variables were then overlaid to create an overall index of vulnerable populations in Trenton. The resulting map indicates that the southern and eastern portions of the City had higher concentrations of vulnerable populations.


Similarly, the planning team compiled and mapped data related to the age and value of structures within the community and found that buildings vulnerable to climate-change related threats were grouped in the southern and most prominently, in the eastern extent of the City. The team also mapped the distribution of floodplains, wetlands, and poorly-drained soils within the community and the resultant map indicated that vulnerable lands corresponding with these variables were clustered in the southern and central extent of the community. 


These three vulnerability maps were then overlaid in a total vulnerability assessment, which indicated that overall vulnerability related to climate change-related threats was greatest in the southern and eastern extent of the city. This assessment should serve as an important guide as the community considers future land use and infrastructure decisions, and is actively helping the City rewrite their zoning ordinance to implement recommendations from the findings.

Trenton Vulnerability Assessment
Trenton, Michigan

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