Climate vulnerabilities are distributed unevenly across races, ethnicities, classes, ages, incomes and genders. Health burdens are disproportionately located in urban heat islands with low tree canopy density. However, climate adaptation discussions generally involve a narrow group of stakeholders who represent higher education, municipal agencies and environmental NGOs. This project is driven by two profound shifts that Saint Paul residents will experience in the next thirty years: climate change and demographic transition. The Twin Cities are expected to experience growing racial diversity and population growth.
The objective of this project is to make climate adaptation “personal” for those who tend to remain outside of climate change planning discourses. The focus will be the emotional, social, and cultural values and practices that impact public understandings of and responses to climate change. The project will devise and test a neighborhood consensus conference model in Saint Paul, MN that converts the best available climate data into tangible, place-based scenarios in order to assess vulnerabilities and prioritize public investments. The project will also aim to foster the creation of self-sustaining social networks within Saint Paul.