Economic Development Research Group Blog

Resilience and Social Equity

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Resilience has emerged as a significant consideration in developing long-term transportation plans in response to US DOT’s Climate Change and Resiliency initiatives.  The focus has been on hardening existing and planned infrastructure and assessing risks and recovery for key elements of the transportation system.  These efforts have focused on facility and human vulnerabilities, and on operational recovery.  However, as we have seen repeatedly, identifying “vulnerability” and assessing resilience and recovery for populations often ignores the unique needs, resource deficits and challenges faced by low-income and minority populations.    These issues are reminiscent of the debates about environmental equity of 25 years ago that led up to the issuance of Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. [1]   The disproportionate effects of lack of preparedness and recovery from natural and man-made disasters are just as profound (and potentially more-so) as those arising from deliberate investment decisions made by government agencies and sources of...
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