Amanda believes that issues of parks and open space, trees, recreation, a healthy environment, and planning for a greener Malden are deeply intertwined, and call for bold, forward-thinking policies to ensure Malden is resilient in the face of a changing climate. Good energy and environment policies affect public health and livability for future generations as well as the people who live and play here now, making them critical issues to consider when building and envisioning a healthy, prosperous community.
Building a future where our children can thrive means tackling climate change at the most local levels, and Amanda has a strategic vision to help Malden become a regional leader in reaching the goal of net zero emissions by 2040. Working together as a community, in our neighborhoods and in our homes, Maldonians can and will be climate-ready within our lifetime. Strong steps are required to ensure we shift completely to renewable energy by 2050, and Malden CAN do it — if we start now, and go together.
How will we achieve net zero?
- Ensuring Malden completes its MVP plan for climate resilience, and that the City Council and Mayor work to fund a municipal energy planner (either full or part time) to oversee its implementation;
- Developing a municipal aggregation program in Malden, a process in which the city would purchase electricity in bulk from a competitive supplier offering ambitious amounts of renewable power to all customers, who would be free to opt in or out;
- Rolling out a robust public outreach agenda to educate renters AND owners on energy efficiency upgrades they can make in their homes, including residential solar, appliance updates, renter-friendly community choice utilities, sustainable renovation advice, weatherization, even help choosing electric vehicle charging options. Compiling this information into a digital toolkit helps residents adopt green initiatives and sends a strong message about our community’s environmental priorities to potential homebuyers and renters.
- Create an integrated sustainability plan for the city that will bring together our transportation, housing, open space, DPW and community planning teams – alongside volunteer committees on Complete Streets, Community Preservation, Walkability, and Energy Efficiency – to reach the goal of Net Zero by 2040.
Malden has enacted a series of policies in recent years that inadvertently discourage sustainable development practices, at a time when the urgency to plan for resilience is dire. With the measure outlined above, captured in a cohesive sustainability plan, all city agencies and departments can row in the same direction, sharing a common goal of climate-readiness. This should mean updating our zoning code to allow more housing types by right, like multifamily, cohousing, duplexes/fourplexes and ADUs; instituting solar and EV charging on all civic buildings; incentivizing biking, walking, and transit use; and reducing parking minimums or eliminating them entirely in TOD locations. Read more of Amanda’s housing and transportation priorities.
Zero Waste Malden
Amanda believes Malden also must reduce the amount of garbage we produce, both for cost per tonnage reasons, and also for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction reasons. Compostable and recyclable materials in our trash stream contribute to global warming and cost the city money, as we pay for the trash we put curbside. By scrutinizing our waste stream and proposing solutions to help residents throw away less and recycle more, we can both save the city money and improve our environment. Amanda applauds the steps the city has taken this summer to negotiate with our trash provider, JRM Hauling and Recycling, to bring single-stream curbside recycling to Malden and to replace the Pay-As-You-Throw bags with city-issued 65-gallon covered trash barrels.
She believes there are even more steps Malden can take to reduce our waste and lead the region in sustainability practices, including:
- Rolling out a community composting program, possibly with a subscription service model;
- continue to offer yard waste, for a longer stretch of the year;
- Expand the linen recycling program already available via donation bin at each public school, so residents can dispose of stuffed animals, shoes, clothes, sheets, pillows, and towels into a recycling system instead of throwing them away in the trash;
- Take a page from the corporate world, and launch an education campaign to show the community which items cannot go in the recycling, such as plastic straws, plastic bags, plastic drink lids, styrofoam, plastic hangers, unwashed food containers, and so on.
Parks & Open Space
Malden has a comparatively low proportion of public parks and open space for a city our size and population, so we must enhance the places we do have and seek ways to add more green space and reduce the amount of paved impervious surfaces we build moving forward. Amanda is in favor of allowing more non-profits to adopt parks, like FOOGI has done with Patchell Park; adding more splash pads, spray decks and water features into existing parks, to ensure equitable access to free areas for cooling off as our climate warms; and taking care to apply for grants that can bring park improvements to ward 3, such as those available through the Malden Redevelopment Authority and Community Preservation Act.
Amanda’s goals include:
- Using our Open Space and Recreation Plan as a guiding document, Malden can create beautiful, well-managed parks, and should explore ways of financing additional positions in DPW or City Hall to oversee its implementation;
- Ensure residents can use natural resources such as the Malden River, including updating zoning to guarantee this, and working with private developers to protect public access;
- Improve public transportation to make sure our parks and open spaces are accessible to all;
- Work with advocates already in the community to create a more robust tree canopy protection plan; and
- Drafting a citywide plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040 by maintaining our existing green spaces so they continue to trap heat, improving zoning requirements so we do not impose new paved surfaces on incoming developments, and adding capacity in our planning department to oversee this work.
Contact Amanda at 617-388-1556 or firstname.lastname@example.org to share your vision for a greener Malden.