Nashville Joins Bloomberg’s Sustainability Initiative for Equitable Growth

Nashville selected for Bloomberg's program to boost sustainable and equitable community development.

Nashville has been announced as one of 25 cities to participate in the Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities (BASC) initiative, a move that promises to transform the city into a model of sustainability and equitable economic growth. Announced by Mayor Freddie O’Connell, the involvement in BASC marks a significant step for Nashville towards leveraging federal funding to foster local solutions aimed at building resilient, sustainable, and economically thriving communities.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ initiative is set to address the dual crises of climate change and racial wealth inequity by incubating projects that not only mitigate environmental impacts but also promote racial and economic equity. Nashville will benefit from the expertise of a three-member innovation team provided by Bloomberg for three years, specializing in data analysis, systems thinking, and project management, among other areas. This team’s mission will be to drive Nashville’s progress on climate action and equitable outcomes by working alongside community-based organizations to enhance their capacity and attract investments from various sectors.

Mayor O’Connell emphasized the initiative’s role in engaging underfunded communities to shape a future that is affordable, healthy, and sustainable. By tapping into over $400 billion in federal funding made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, BASC aims to equip cities like Nashville with the necessary tools and resources to undertake significant local climate projects, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

A key component of Nashville’s participation in the BASC initiative is the development of a residential clean energy program designed to benefit the city’s Black communities by providing job training and business ownership opportunities within the clean energy sector. This initiative seeks to reduce the energy burden on renters and homeowners in North Nashville, Bordeaux, and Southeast Nashville by deploying a workforce skilled in clean energy solutions.

The initiative also aligns with Nashville’s broader environmental and sustainability goals, as noted by Dr. Isaac Addae, the Small and Minority Business Liaison in the Mayor’s Office, and Kendra Abkowitz, the Director of Sustainability and Resiliency. Both highlighted the importance of this effort in advancing long-term sustainable economic growth for historically marginalized communities and addressing the disproportionate impact of climate change on these populations.

As Nashville embarks on this transformative journey with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the city stands at the cusp of becoming a leading example of how urban areas can confront and overcome the challenges posed by climate change and social inequities through innovation, collaboration, and targeted investment.

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