The Inequity of Climate Impacts and Access to Nature-based Solutions in New York City

March 31, 2022 - 11:30am

Dr. Timon McPhearson, The New School

Professor of Urban Ecology & Director of the Urban Systems Lab

Dr. Timon McPhearson is Professor of Urban Ecology, Director of the Urban Systems Lab, and research faculty at the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School. He is a Senior Research Fellow at The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University and a Research Affiliate of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences. He is a Lead Author for the IPCC and member of the World Economic Forum Global Commission on BiodiversCities.  He studies the ecology in, of, and for cities to advance resilience, sustainability, and justice. His books Urban Planet and Resilient Urban Futures are widely read and his new book Nature-based Solutions for Cities will be out in 2022.  In 2019 he was awarded the Sustainability Science Award and the Innovation in Sustainability Science Award by the Ecological Society of America. In 2020 he was named an NYC Climate Hero by the NYC Department of Transportation and Human Impacts Institute and appointed by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC).

NYC is exposed to multiple climate hazards which disproportionately impact low income and minority residents. Climate change is expected to intensify these impacts especially for socially vulnerable groups due to urban development, uneven investment in critical infrastructure, and historical policies. Nature-based solutions such as green infrastructure has emerged as a key tool for climate resilience given capacity to mitigate heat and stormwater. However, equitable access to nature-based solutions depends on where they are locally supplied. Revealing unequal exposure to climate hazards and access to resilience solutions is critical to advancing more equitable and just climate adaptation policy and planning.