Building a better Baton Rouge begins with addressing climate risks 

Camille Manning-Broome, President and CEO of the Center for Planning Excellence, is internationally recognized for her expertise in resilience and adaptive planning. (Collin Richie)

For the 40th anniversary edition of The Business Report, we asked nine community leaders and young professionals how Baton Rouge can fulfill its potential as an economically prosperous mid-sized city. Below is an excerpt from Camille Manning-Broome, President and CEO of the Center for Planning Excellence essay:

As an urban planner, Baton Rouge native, and parent, I spend a lot of time thinking about the future of this place I love. I am concerned about building a safe, healthy community where all residents can thrive and where newcomers find many opportunities. I want to leave behind a strong and resilient city where my children and grandchildren can enjoy vibrant, productive lives. Baton Rouge, if we are to achieve all of this, we must first understand our history, our current challenges, and our future opportunities.

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In the last 40 years, Baton Rouge’s population has grown by 200%, our infrastructure has expanded throughout the community, and new developments have continued to spread to the periphery. We have evolved into a bustling, culturally rich, mid-sized city on the Gulf Coast—and our challenges of flood risk, poverty, congestion, water resources, and infrastructure maintenance have also grown. As we look forward to the next 40 years, I feel a deep responsibility that my two children inherit a city better than the one I grew up in – but the planning and development patterns we have established will not get us there bring. To provide bright futures for all of our children, we must understand our past, keep our challenges clearly in view, and work together to create a climate-resilient, economically equitable place for the next generation to thrive.

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We have unique opportunities within our reach to shape the future that so many of us have envisioned for Baton Rouge: a city that is resilient, safe, inclusive and economically prosperous; with walkable, bikeable neighborhoods characterized by a distinct sense of place and a variety of opportunities that attract (and retain) top talent. Achieving that vision also requires doing something difficult, bold, and necessary: ​​addressing the risks we face as a city on the front lines of climate change.

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Read Manning-Broomes Complete essay from the latest edition of annual report. Send comments to [email protected].

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