Marcella Bondie Keenan

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability, to me, is the promotion of equity, health and heritage through nature-based solutions, with an eye to the needs of present and future generations.

What has been your greatest experience working towards a more sustainable Chicago?

As part of CNT’s RainReady initiative, I have been privileged to help Chicagoans become more resilient to urban flooding. Urban flooding happens when rain overwhelms sewers, causing flooding in buildings and streets. RainReady offers urban flooding solutions, through community planning, educational workshops, and homeowner assistance programs.

Through my work on RainReady Home, I partner with local governments, like the City of Chicago, to design and deliver programs that reduce the chance of flooding at homes. RainReady Home offers home assessments, recommendations that combine smart landscaping solutions (like rain gardens) with other improvements, and construction support. Increasingly, local governments are realizing the potential to work with homeowners to reduce flooding. For example, yards with smart landscaping can let rain soak into the soil, instead of overwhelming the sewer – and this benefits the whole neighborhood.