New Peer-Review Journal Article: Equity, inclusion, and justice as criteria for decision-making on climate adaptation in cities


  • Some large U.S. cities are including equity and justice criteria in adaptation planning.
  • Criteria are commonly considered along four stages of local decision-making.
  • The need for participatory decision-making is broadly recognized.
  • Applications of social and economic justice are comparatively nascent.
  • Urban decision-making must tackle underlying drivers of climate injustice.  

Abstract: This paper explores how socially just climate change adaptation and resilience-building criteria are articulated and embedded within urban planning and decision-making. We assess recent evidence from the ten largest cities in the United States through a narrative review of key planning documents. Our results show that cities are variably operationalizing equity, inclusion, and justice criteria across four key decision-making stages: designing institutional arrangements, participatory practices, policy integration, and strategic implementation processes. Although cities are beginning to address differential vulnerability and adaptive capacity, more work is required to tackle unequal socioeconomic structures and their contributions to underlying drivers of climate injustice.  

  • Chu, Eric & Clare E. B. Cannon. 2021.“Equity, inclusion, and justice as criteria for decision-making on climate adaptation in cities.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 51, 85-94.

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