Climate Justice and integrated flooding risk assessment and management: A framework and case studies in USA and Taiwan

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Climate justice reveals inequitable coping capacity to climate change impacts among socially vulnerable groups. As extreme events have become more frequent and intense under climate change, increased flooding risks have threatened communities around the world, and the hardest hits are the socially vulnerable populations. How can planners assess climate justice and manage integrated risks? What is the role of planners for addressing climate justice and enhancing resilience of vulnerable communities? Climate justice and risk assessment are aligned to integrate exposure to climate change associated hazards (ecological vulnerability), sensitivity (social vulnerability) and adaptability (technological vulnerability) assessment. The framework was applied to case studies in Michigan, USA, and Tainan, Taiwan. Employing Geographical Information Systems, climate justice hotspot in three cities were identified in the Huron River watershed, Michigan, USA. Interviews with planners gauging their institutional capacity towards climate change adaptation revealed that Ypsilanti is the most climate unjust because of a lack of resources to act on climate change. In the case for Rende District, Tainan, Taiwan, the community is identified as one of the most flood-prone districts in in addition to a growing aging population of 65 years old and older, which is considered a climate justice hotspot. A series of technical interventions were conducted with district leaders and residents and demonstrated a range of adaptive capacity among the seniors with various arrangement of dwelling unit. Additionally, the leadership to mobilize community-based risk management integrating smart technology and residents’ participation in risk management has enhanced their coping capacity to climate change-induced flooding. The two case studies implied that planners can bridge the gaps between calculated and perceived risks by applying both quantitative and qualitative assessment in order to identify and address climate justice in local communities. Finally, the community-engaged climate change adaptation with the strength of local leadership and stewardship can ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of the community.
climate justice, social vulnerability, integrated flooding assessment and management, aging population, Taiwan, USA