Social Equity and Climate Change

Social Equity and Climate Change is a “discussion paper about community resilience” from the Washington State Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA). This Brief describes social equity issues specifically related to the impacts of climate change, and includes a broader examination of issues of social equity in planning and public policy at the community level.The paper consists of “Strategies to Promote Social Equity in Adapting to Climate Change Effects” which focus on five issues of particular importance for vulnerable populations: 

Learn about communities and find a reading list that will help you think through resilient affordable housing strategies. 

1. Food Access

2. Mobility and accessibility

3. Environmental hazards

4. Affordable, adaptable and energy efficient housing

5. Climate-related migration

APA briefly outlines the necessary steps to achieve social equity within these five areas. Examples of local successful implementation of some of the strategies are provided along with additional resources for each topic.   

For example, within the action area of  “Mobility and Accessibility,” the report recommends addressing areas of inequity in delivery of key services. Through outreach, public participation and community indicators, decision makers can identify areas of inequality in availability or use of transportation and delivery of services. They can then identify potential partnerships and resources to expand services.

A related "project example" on delivery of key services is provided, describing Tacoma’s Community Based Services Program which illustrates one way that cities are customizing services for neighborhoods of higher need.




Publication Date: November 2015

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Resource Types:

  • Best practice


  • Socioeconomic

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