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Green Infrastructure and Environmental Injustice in Syracuse, NY

Authors: Paul Triolo*, 1998
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Geography and Urban Health, Environment
Keywords: Green Infrastructure, GIS, Environmental Justice, Syracuse, Onondaga County, Equitable Planning, Stormwater Management
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Onondaga County is committed to using green infrastructure (GI) as an approach to reduce stormwater runoff and prevent combined sewer overflow (CSO) events through the County’s “Save the Rain” initiative. In addition to stormwater management, GI projects can foster many social benefits including positive impacts on the environment, reducing air and water pollution, mitigating the urban heat island effect, stimulating the local economy, improving public health and enhancing the overall quality of neighborhoods. Investing in GI, however, requires communities to account for urban greening as an environmental justice concern. Neighborhoods lacking proportionate access to GI miss out on the various social and environmental benefits that GI and green spaces promote. Inequitable distribution, often correlated with race or socioeconomic status, is a form of environmental injustice. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the goal of this research is two-fold. 1: To analyze the spatial distribution of GI projects, and the corresponding social benefits that come with them in the city of Syracuse. And 2: through the use of a GI equity index provide a comprehensive picture of where additional GI projects are needed in Syracuse and identify specific census block groups that will benefit the most from these projects. Taking into account the built environment and underlying social and economic conditions, this research can be used to assist Onondaga County’s Save the Rain Initiative by promoting a more equitable distribution of GI across the city.

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