Equitable Green Infrastructure as Climate Change Adaptation: Distributional and Procedural Justice in the City of Toronto

Authors: Kristen Regier*, University of Toronto
Topics: Environment, Urban Geography, Planning Geography
Keywords: Green Infrastructure, Equity, Environmental Justice
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 38
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Green infrastructure (GI) has recently emerged as an essential tool for urban climate change adaptation. Green space, parks, trees and shrubs, and green roofs are considered green infrastructure. While presence of GI in cities is an important tool for climate change adaptation, the existing distribution of GI is often inequitable. This is a major problem as the impact of climate change in cities will be felt most heavily by vulnerable populations, highlighting the need for justice-centered GI planning. One approach to GI planning is the use of an equity index to determine priority neighbourhoods, as originally developed by Heckert & Rosan (2016). This equity index takes into account both socioeconomic and environmental variables by neighbourhood to determine communities that would benefit most from green space interventions.

This presentation will examine equitable GI planning through the development of a GI equity index and interviews with community members of priority neighbourhoods in the City of Toronto. Results suggest that neighbourhoods with high levels of low-income and low-education should be prioritized to improve distributional justice. Details on community member’s participation and sense of procedural justice within the planning process will also be discussed. The presentation will conclude with remarks on adjusting the equity index to the local context.

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