The increasingly aggressive flood seasons have been a true testament to the strength and resilience of the people that call the shores their home. Many cities and communities that thrive along the coastal regions of the United States are estimated to be almost completely underwater at the turn of the 22nd century. Even inland cities, like Atlanta, face floods that result in school closures, contaminate water, and cause sewage overflow into residents’ homes.

Despite the effects of climate change and the damage storms cause in communities, the Federal Government is taking steps backwards on making our infrastructure more resilient. Fortunately for its residents, the City of Atlanta plans to stand up and face the impacts of a changing environment by taking infrastructure resilience into its own hands through public municipal bonds.

In the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., a new flame for justice burns brightly. Atlanta has struck a match for environmental justice and plans on keeping it alive through resilience and green infrastructure. The positive effects of green infrastructure range from lowering energy demands through reducing urban heat island effects, to solving water management issues, like the rampant flooding in coastal states. The City of Atlanta, a member of The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities, is part of the green infrastructure movement and forward thinking that is sweeping the nation because of the environmental benefits and money that can be saved from flood damages each year.

Atlanta has a longstanding commitment to sustainability and conservation in the large and growing city. This year will mark the 17th annual Parks and Greenspace Conference which takes place in Atlanta and is the largest parks conference in the southeast. Community leaders, engineers, and urban planners all gather to share ideas on how best to provide successful resilience in their communities. This conference is especially important as Mayor Keisha Bottoms announces Atlanta’s selection as the first winner of the Environmental Impact Bond Challenge (EIB).

By winning the Environmental Impact Bond Challenge, Atlanta can use publically funded municipal bonds to implement green infrastructure projects. The EIB will provide Atlanta with resources from Neighborly, Quantified Ventures, and The Rockefeller Foundation to build green infrastructure projects, most of which are focused on the Proctor Creek Watershed and the surrounding neighborhoods. This will provide Atlanta the funds to restore the Proctor Creek Watershed and do the much needed work in English Avenue, Vine City, Mozley Park, Grove Park, and Bankhead/Hollowell neighborhoods.

The Proctor Creek Watershed flows through the City’s west side, which bears the burden of severe water damage from tropical storms and hurricanes in the late summer months. Atlanta’s hands-on approach to resilience is represented in the City’s efforts to use municipal bonds to fund infrastructure to mitigate these effects. Soon, these revitalized neighborhoods will be able to face these flood seasons and the ongoing effects of climate change with a stronger form of resilience.

Atlanta will be the first-ever municipality to issue a publicly offered EIB which will be hosted on Neighborly’s online brokerage platform. Neighborly’s platform is modernizing the municipal bond market, long dominated by institutional lenders, by making it easily accessible to the public and private investors to participate. In the cities currently using the Neighborly platform, these bonds provide an opportunity for public and private investors to impact the outcome of projects. Without this platform, the only way to invest in a municipal bond is often to go through an arduous process with a broker. Other cities have to scope with longer lifecycles for completing infrastructure projects due to a lack of funds. Neighborly is helping cities borrow what they need, when they need it, so we can collectively invest in a more resilient future.

The humble municipal bond is an incredibly useful tool for cities across the country to use to fund resiliency projects in the wake of uncertain federal funding. With the help from environmentally concerned investors, Atlanta will be able to provide for their residents and underrepresented communities in an effort to combat the flooding that so frequently upsets the City’s progressive nature. By rejuvenating the Proctor Creek Watershed and improving the quality of water, the City of Atlanta sets an example for how communities may be energized. As residents and city leaders, we should address infrastructure funding in new ways, so we can establish the environmental justice that our cities need.

Learn more about how Neighborly can help your City finance resilience projects, including green infrastructure. If you’re an investor interested in helping finance future resilience projects explore open and upcoming offerings here.

Securities are offered through Neighborly’s affiliated broker dealer, Neighborly Securities, Inc. Investing in Environmental Impact Bonds contains risk. Please consult with your financial advisor before investing. Neighborly Securities, Inc. is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), SIPC, and is registered as a municipal securities dealer with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB). Neighborly Securities, Inc. is not a municipal advisor under the SEC’s Regulation MA.

Lindsey Brannon

Lindsey Brannon

Lindsey Brannon is Head of Public Finance at Neighborly. If you’re an investor interested in helping finance future resilience projects explore open and upcoming offerings here.