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Community engagement and equity in climate adaptation planning: experience of small and mid-size cities in the United States and in France.

Authors: Elena Lioubimtseva*, Grand Valley State University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography
Keywords: climate adaptation, vulnerability, justice, equity, small cities, mid-size cities
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

As a growing number of cities is developing climate adaptation plans, little attention is paid to the social and economic equity aspects of human vulnerability to climate change. Very limited information is available on how local adaptation plans address equity and justice in their proposed strategies. Our study is focusing on the experience of small and mid-size cities in France and the United State developed during the past ten years. Our pilot study sample comprises 28 climate adaptation plans of municipalities with a population less than 300,000 people (14 in the U.S. and 14 in France). Using a system of quantitative indicators, derived from bilingual literature and national climate adaptation planning guidelines, we evaluate the role of community engagement, inclusivity, and diversity of stakeholders in climate adaptation planning. Our goal is to understand how these factors influence assessment of human vulnerability and considerations of equity and justice in climate adaptation planning. Vulnerability to climate impacts appears to be shifting spatially, disproportionally affecting underprivileged neighborhoods and populations. Lessons learned from several case studies in French and American cities offer valuable insights on the importance of participatory planning and understanding of climate justice in industrialized nations.

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