As resilience strategies have become a prominent orthodoxy in city planning, green infrastructure (GI) is much heralded as a win-win solution for enhanced social-ecological protection from climate risks and impacts. In this paper, we aim to understand whether “green” and “resilient” interventions protect and secure social groups traditionally most at risk of climate impacts and/or least able to adapt to them – or, if they result in maladaptive and inequitable outcomes (i.e, displacement or climate gentrification). Neighborhoods with a higher proportion of lower-income and minority residents have already shown trends of gentrification when benefiting from new green amenities – a process known as green gentrification – but much remains to be understood about the role of resilience, or climate adapted GI, in climate gentrification. Philadelphia, USA, a forerunner and model city in the implementation of green stormwater infrastructure, is used as a case study to examine resilience in relation to urban systems of neighborhood change and historic conditions of uneven development through processes of dis-/re-investment, suburbanization and re-urbanization. Our study uses a quantitative and spatial analytical approach to identify sites of omission and sites of commission in GI plans and interventions, assessing overlapping landscapes of GI, social and ecological vulnerability. Next, we empirically test possible pathways involved in climate gentrification, and further assess differential levels of vulnerability to gentrification. Our findings point to an association between change in poverty levels and racial composition of census tracts in relation to areas of higher concentrations of climate-adapted GI. The paper contributes to reframing resilience research and practices to integrate a deeper understanding of social-ecological insecurities and inequities than currently considered in urban climate adaptation planning. The blog references additional cases where green and resilient infrastructure in the US, Canada and Europe may generate similar outcomes.
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Uneven (green) landscapes of resilience and protection: Climate gentrification in urban climate adaptation
Published: 17 December 2018 by MDPI in IFoU 2018: Reframing Urban Resilience Implementation: Aligning Sustainability and Resilience session Urban Design and Management: Infrastructures and Services
Keywords: urban resilience; climate gentrification; vulnerability; green inequities