How Can Honolulu Ease Its Cost of Living Pains and Other Resilience Challenges?

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

New Chief Resilience Officer Josh Stanbro’s résumé makes him well equipped to confront shocks and stresses like climate change, homelessness and natural disasters.

Residents of Hawaii born in the archipelago dipped below 50 percent of the population two years ago, a testament to the difficulties locals face making a living and raising a family on the islands that comprise the 50th State.

The high cost of living in Honolulu, located on the island of Oahu, is a long-term challenge Joshua Stanbro plans to address starting May 1, when he becomes City and County of Honolulu’s first chief resilience officer.

Having first worked as the The Trust for Public Land–Hawaii’s project manager, acquiring more than 25,000 acres for conservation, he understands the community’s connection to landscapes recreationally and as sacred spaces.  

“Knowing how important land is to culture, people, infrastructure and greenspace is hugely important,” Stanbro told Route Fifty in a phone interview.

More recently, Stanbro led the Fresh Water Initiative and Community Restoration Partnership for the Hawai’i Community Foundation as program director. He’s familiar with some of the impacts of climate change on Oahu, including rainfall shortages that threatens the water supply and coastal erosion.

Hawaii also has very low rates of voter participation, which can present challenges for community engagement.

“He’s conscious and engaged in social justice work and uniquely embodies the land for people ethos,” said Katya Sienkiewicz, 100 Resilient Cities director of city and practice management. “In Honolulu, so many issues are around community engagement.”

Honolulu is part of the resilience network’s third wave of member cities along with Louisville, Kentucky, which also recently appointed a CRO.

Last Election Day, a ballot measure passed by more than 16 percent of the vote in support of establishing Honolulu’s new five-person Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, which Stanbro will serve as executive director of—in addition to sitting on the mayor’s cabinet and developing and implementing a resilience strategy for Honolulu.

“One of the most important things we can do is be good neighbors and reach out to the people around us,” Stanbro said. “The biggest resilience tool we have is that long-term capital of communities working together and looking out for each other.”

The city did just that when an earthquake hit the islands in 2006 and again, five or six years ago, when a power grid went down causing a blackout that had people emptying their fridges.

Another, ever-present threat Honolulu faces is tsunamis.

“There is no tsunami season, so that is always a shock we have to prepare for,” said Andrew Pereira, spokesman for Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Long-term stresses for the city-county include a lack of affordable housing, the highest per-capita homeless rate in the nation—Stanbro is considering new transitional shelter areas around the island with partners—stormwater capture, and sea-level rise.

Many of the short-term shocks Honolulu faces can further displace residents, and scientists predict climate change could produce two to three times the number of hurricanes that could threaten the in Hawaiian islands. It took eight years for the GDP of Tahiti to recover after being hit by one, Stanbro said.

Honolulu and 100RC are reaching out to nongovernmental organizations dealing with the environment and homelessness plus foundations, academic experts, and state representatives to host a resilience workshop later this spring. The event will officially launch the city-county’s new office, though partners from the Sierra Club to Sea Grant University have already voiced their support.

“By partnering with folks that have those programs and missions already underway, we can leverage the networks already built, instead of reinventing or adding programs,” Stanbro said.

He knows most of the key players, having helped them craft 2030 sustainability benchmarks for everything from energy conservation to workforce development as part of the statewide Aloha+Challenge.

Isolated geographically, Honolulu is unique in its resilience struggles and, at the same time, shares some with other 100RC cities grappling with climate change, natural disasters of all kinds, and even juggling U.S. naval assets like Norfolk, Virginia.

“Honolulu is an incredible candidate to catalyze and share a lot of learning between cities in the network,” Sienkiewicz said.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

FEATURED CASE STUDIES
Powered By The Atlas
Orlando Protects Citizens During Heavy Rain Events by Optimizing Water Data Intelligence
Orlando, FL, USA
Green Infrastructure acts as a bridge for Indigenous reconciliation in Vancouver, BC
W 63rd Ave & Yukon St, Vancouver, BC V5X 2J2, Canada
Improved Water Quality and More Field Time Due to a 97% Reduction in Office Admin Work
Marin County, CA, USA

NEXT STORY: Taking City Sustainability to the Next Level

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.