Category: Session 2: Distributive Justice

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.

Participatory Mapping for Community Empowerment and Health Equity

Jason A. Douglas, Chapman University
Andrew M. Subica, University of California, Riverside
Laresha Franks, Community Coalition
Gilbert Johnson, Community Coalition
Carlos Leon, Community Coalition
Sandra Villanueva, Loyola Marymount University
Cheryl T. Grills, Loyola Marymount University

Participatory mapping is an empowering, yet underutilized method for investigating social determinants of health disparities. To elucidate the empowering approach of participatory mapping, this paper explicates the process and outcomes of a CDC Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health-funded community-academic partnership that leveraged participatory mapping to investigate access to public parks, and community organizing to advocate for environmental change and health promotion in South Los Angeles (SLA), CA. Thirty-five SLA residents partook in two participatory mapping sessions in March and April, 2015. Using 4’x5’ paper maps, residents drew mobility routes to their local park, ranking community assets and deficits along those routes. Process forms were used to document resident participation in ensuing community organizing events and activities to disseminate mapping results and advocate for policy change. Tobacco shops were identified as problematic spaces that attract subversive activity and crime including loitering, theft, and drug dealing. Subsequent geospatial analysis confirmed significant clustering of crime around SLA tobacco shops. Following, 81 SLA residents participated in community outreach events and activities from 2016-2018 to advocate for policies limiting the proliferation of tobacco shops. As a result of community organizing around resident interests grounded in empirical data, the Los Angeles County (LAC) Board of Supervisors voted to introduce legislation banning tobacco shops in residential areas of LAC. As illustrated by this community-academic partnership, we argue that participatory mapping is an empowering approach for (1) investigating social determinants of health disparities, and (2) redefining neighborhood spaces toward the implementation of health policies that reflect community interests.

Rights Based Data Practice: Data Justice in Virtual Spaces and on the Ground

Lauri Goldkind
Fordham University

The perils of digital exploitation, such as the consumption of individual’s identified data for corporate profiteering, digital surveillance, and cybersecurity breaches are many. Often these stories focus on the violation of individual’s digital and civil rights. Frequently these violations are most egregiously perpetrated on the most vulnerable citizens in society. However, there is a simultaneous awareness of the power of digital tools and strategies for policy advocacy and community empowerment. Digital tools offer unique opportunities for improving services and increasing access to resources for individuals who are live on the fringes of society, namely homeless people. The rapid advancement of digital technology tools including hardware ~ smart phone devices, digital personal assistants, smart watches and internet of things tools, as well as faster overall computing power, coupled with software in the forms of mobile applications (apps) which use location data to power algorithms for everything from health care decision making to retail choices and options, now presents itself as a constellation of tools which can be deployed for greater inclusion for a range of formerly voiceless populations. The some of these new strategies partner with the community or consumers/service users directly to create apps, new services and digitally enhanced programs, often called civic technologies or social good technology tools.