Environmental justice implications of siting criteria in urban green infrastructure planning

Summary

Green infrastructure (GI) has become a panacea for cities working to enhance sustainability and resilience. While the rationale for GI primarily focuses on its multifunctionality (e.g. delivering multiple ecosystem services to local communities), uncertainties remain around how, for whom, and to what extent GI delivers these services. Additionally, many scholars increasingly recognize potential disservices of GI, including gentrification associated with new GI developments.

Building on a novel dataset of 119 planning documents from 19 U.S. cities, we utilize insights from literature on justice in urban planning to examine the justice implications of criteria used in the siting of GI projects. We analyze the GI siting criteria described in city plans and how they explicitly or implicitly engage environmental justice.

We find that justice is rarely explicitly discussed, yet the dominant technical siting criteria that focus on stormwater and economic considerations have justice implications. We conclude with recommendations for centering justice in GI spatial planning.

Information

Link to centre authors: McPhearson, Timon
Publication info: Fushcia-Ann Hoover, Sara Meerow, Zbigniew J. Grabowski & Timon McPhearson (2021) Environmental justice implications of siting criteria in urban green infrastructure planning, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2021.1945916

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