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Flood risk and environmental justice in New York City : an examination of policy plans and initiatives at different indices of social vulnerability

Jourdain, Ella Celeste (2019) Flood risk and environmental justice in New York City : an examination of policy plans and initiatives at different indices of social vulnerability.

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Abstract:The following study examines and assesses the different policy plans and projects in place to protect and assist individuals in flood-prone areas of New York City, who are of different levels of social vulnerability. Historically in the United States, low-income communities and communities of color have faced a twofold environmental problem compared to their wealthy and/or White neighbors: not only were these communities more likely to be located near toxic sites such as incinerators or landfills, but the US government was also slower to respond to toxic events. Using freely available Geographic Information System data from governmental organizations, this thesis visualizes New York City neighborhoods that are at risk of flooding in the near future, by their level of social vulnerability. The study examines and evaluates local New York City policy plans, reports, and initiatives to determine if there are differential protections in place for different social classes. Findings from the analysis of governmental reports and laws, an assessment using the Environmental Justice Framework, and contextualization within the existing literature show that while New York City does not offer more or less protection to high-income communities, inherent socioeconomic differences can cause one law to result in differential applications and outcomes between communities. Ultimately, although New York City governmental bodies and officials demonstrate an increasing awareness of the relationship between environmental justice, equity issues, and flooding, this thesis argues that because New York City policies do not properly address critical socioeconomic inequities, the current system of governance in New York City is in fact insufficient to protect socially vulnerable populations.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:43 environmental science, 70 social sciences in general, 74 (human) geography, cartography, town and country planning, demography
Programme:Environmental and Energy Management MSc (69319)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/79482
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