We Need to Talk About Planning and Designing for Climate Justice

APRIL 2022

An edited transcript of the "We Need to Talk About Planning and Designing for Climate Justice" symposium hosted by The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture on February 5, 2021.

The cumulative effects of agriculture, industrialization, and urbanization are unequivocally changing our climate and producing globally unprecedented challenges related to food production, building materials, and human and ecosystem health—and these challenges are disproportionately affecting low-income communities and communities of color. Our built environments create impacts on all of the above forces, and play a critical role in the creation—and potential dismantling—of inequitable conditions of living and human and ecosystem health.

How do we as designers of buildings and cities contribute to climate change and its deeply-rooted, systemic impacts, and what can we do now to make our impact positive? How do we recognize, through our planning and building processes, the links between human health in our communities—particularly in communities of color—and the health of the planet and its ecosystems? How do we design for climate justice, carbon neutrality, and equitable impact of positive change? And how do we reform our pedagogical approaches in our academies to ensure equitable climate considerations “go without saying”?

Building on the successful first dialogue in this series, “We Need to Talk About Moving Towards Gender Equity in Architecture,”  this dialogue brings together guests who represent city, landscape, environmental design, and environmental and climate justice to discuss where we are now in the design fields, where we need to be, and how to get there to ensure the health of our planet and its people. It provides practical tools that we can use now, in our current academic culture and practices, to begin to shift our building climate for the better of earth’s climate.

Presented by the Center for American Architecture and Design, the "We Need to Talk About..." series creates a platform for dialogue between students and leaders in the professional and surrounding community to address pressing issues that students may face in their everyday classroom and professional culture. These conversations are aimed toward helping students clarify and use their voices for the betterment of their experience in school, and of the profession that their voices will help shape.

ISBN: 978-0-934951-40-1


Current Efforts
Our Roles as Urban Planners and Designers
Professional Tensions
Organizing, Social Movements, and Education
Audience Questions


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