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“Strategies for Achieving Equity and Justice Goals in Climate Action Planning”


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Municipal climate action plans often specify fairness and justice as goals, but dealing with these concepts is mostly rhetorical. A new study from the University of Waterloo shows how planners can bridge the gap and challenge the current state of climate change and social injustice.

The study confirms that developing participatory approaches to public consultation and community participation that actively and intentionally include vulnerable population groups most affected by climate change is critical. Expanding the field of knowledge that we consider when talking about climate change reshapes the questions that are being asked and the possible solutions and alternatives that are being discussed.

“The urban management community is not as vocal as it should be about the need to prioritize vulnerable populations during climate change decision-making processes,” said Kylie Swanson, Ph.D. Candidate at Waterloo School of Planning. “Thus, the voices of people suffering various forms of oppression are largely excluded from the so-called participatory planning processes for climate action.”

In pursuing participatory approaches, the study advises practitioners to keep four actions in mind: constantly adjusting strategies, designing collaborative spaces that recognize different ways of knowing, addressing the gap between what is said and what is done, and paying attention to the underlying social processes that drive vulnerability to climate change.

“Challenging the status quo is no easy task, but the evidence shows that climate action is most effective if it is designed and implemented with the participation of local actors,” said Dr. Mark Seasons, Professor at the Waterloo School of Planning. “Urban governance actors can influence conditions that determine whether individuals can participate effectively and help frame important issues considered by decision-makers.”

Building inclusive planning processes is a major challenge for urban governance actors, but these processes are essential to achieving equitable distributional outcomes. Exclusion runs the risk of creating a triple injustice in which those who contribute to climate change are least likely to suffer the most from its effects and are disproportionately affected by climate action policies that exacerbate the social, economic and environmental challenges groups already face.

The study, “The Center for Equity in Participatory Planning for Climate Action: Guidance for Urban Governance Actors” is published in the journal. Planning theory and practice.

more information:
Kylie Swanson, Center for Equity and Justice in Participatory Planning for Climate Action: Guidance for Urban Governance Actors, Available here. Planning theory and practice (2023). doi: 10.1080/14649357.2023.2189288

Provided by the University of Waterloo

the quote: Four Ways to Advance Equity and Equity Goals in Climate Action Planning (2023, May 31) Retrieved May 31, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-ways-advance-equity-justice-goals.html

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