Transitioning From Urban Climate Action to Climate Equity | Global Resilience Institute

About: In this publication, GRI Faculty Affiliate Joan Fitzgerald examines the climate action planning process for five U.S. cities that have recently updated their climate action plans to focus on equity: Austin (TX), Baltimore (MD), Cleveland (OH), Portland (OR), and Providence (RI). The goal of this publication was to identify how planners and policymakers are making the climate action planning process more inclusive of marginalized groups and incorporating equity into the plan’s goals.  The experiences of these five cities revealed that three actions essential to achieving authentic participation.


Joan Fitzgerald is a Professor of Urban and Public Policy at Northeastern University. She focuses on urban climate action and strategies for linking it to equity, economic development, and innovation. In her fourth book, Greenovation: Urban Leadership on Climate Change (Oxford Univ. Press, 2020), she argues that the climate strategies of most cities represent random acts of greenness rather than integrated and aggressive action. She points to leading cities in North America and Europe and offers strategies for cities to accelerate their action. She is leading a team at the Dukakis Center that is conducting an assessment for the Boston Foundation’s Boston Climate Progress Report. The report will assess Boston’s progress on its climate action and resiliency plans with particular focus on equity. She is co-authoring a new book, Cities and the Struggle for Climate Justice. Fitzgerald blogs on urban climate action on Planetizen. She teaches The 21st Century City, Cities, Sustainability & Climate Change, and Intro Environmental Science & Policy.