Radical Decarbonization: A Guidebook for Centering Equity and Climate Justice in the Built Environment

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Urban centers are the intersection between climate and humanity. Home to an ever-growing portion of the world’s population, cities are at the forefront of climate change, contributing about a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Urban populations face poor air quality, increased and prolonged heat waves, and infrastructural threats from rising sea levels and flooding from extreme storms. However, these impacts are not often felt equally among urban populations; inequities are embedded into the very design and structure of our built environments. While discourse often centers solutions for climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions, solutions addressing inequities in the built environment and how they are fundamental to climate solutions remain relatively unexplored.

This research examines New York City as an example of an urban environment with strong policies for climate mitigation through a critical lens, analyzing the climate justice potential for the city’s goals. It aims to support practitioners in NYC’s built environment to center climate justice principles in their work, using decarbonization as an opportunity to address the embedded barriers to equity in the built environment. It incorporates qualitative data analysis through semi-structured interviews to identify the key practitioners in this work and determine the resources they require to center climate justice in decarbonization work. The result of this study is a guidebook to aid in this effort.





Sarveswaran, Sunitha (2023). Radical Decarbonization: A Guidebook for Centering Equity and Climate Justice in the Built Environment. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27160.

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.