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Urban Green Space and Flood Risk Equity

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Monday, April 1, 2024, 3 pm

This is a past event.

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar

Jessica Alger, PhD Candidate, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, Michigan Tech


Urban populations face various environmental risks, including poor air quality, water contamination, heat stress, and flooding. Green space and green infrastructure can help to mitigate many of these risks by reducing air and water contaminants, providing cooling effects
from shade and increased evapotranspiration, and reducing stormwater runoff. However, it is widely recognized that the services provided by green space and green infrastructure are not equitably distributed, with more socioeconomically vulnerable populations typically being
underserved. This research uses a combination of geospatial data sets and analysis methods to identify urban green space inequities with respect to several specific types of green spaces, including community gardens, parks and recreational areas, urban trees, and green stormwater infrastructure. In a case study of Detroit, MI, we show that urban green space inequities align with social and environmental justice indicators, and addressing these inequities requires consideration of the type, location, and accessibility of green space and the unique physical and social characteristics of urban areas. Highlighting areas with urban green space inequities can help planners understand where resources and urban green space investments can most efficiently be allocated to address current disparities and prioritize green space development in historically underserved areas. This seminar will also provide an overview of a related ongoing
study focusing on inequitable flood risks in Southeast Michigan.


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