Short Paper , , , ,

Distributional Justice of NYC’s Urban Ecosystem Services: Analyzing the Mismatches in Supply and Demand

Pablo Herreros Cantis
Urban Systems Lab, The New School

Timon McPhearson
Urban Systems Lab, The New School
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University

Cities are increasingly relying on urban green infrastructure (UGI) to mitigate the impacts of climate change based on the fact that UGI can provide ecosystem services (ES). However, ES and UGI are spatially explicit, and tend to be unevenly distributed through the urban fabric. This uneven distribution tends to generate areas in which the supply and the demand of ES are highly mismatched, generating underserved areas. In addition, the uneven distribution of UGI and ES might have distributional (in)justice implications if highly served areas showed a higher income and a higher presence of white residents over other communities of color. In this study, we mapped the supply, demand and mismatch of ES in NYC based on the current ditribution of green land cover and other auxiliary indicators. The ES assessed are considered key for climate change adaptation, being “local temperature regulation, storm-water regulation and air purification”. Consequently, we clustered NYC’s census blocks according to their mismatch value for each ES, generating clusters with “Very high” to Very low” mismatch. Race and income was then compared per mismatch cluster, showing that clusters with lower mismatch (better served by ES in comparison to the local demand) tend to be populated by a white majority and by residents with a higher median income.