The climate + community project (ccp) works to connect the demands of the climate justice movement to the policy development process. We aim to do this by developing new, investment-forward public policy proposals under the framework of the Decade of the Green New Deal that target the intersection of climate justice and the built environment. We support efforts to address the climate emergency at the scale, scope, and pace needed to confront our overlapping crises.
Centering the Demands of the
Climate Justice Movement
Focusing on Investments in
People and Place
This work responds to the historic and ongoing violences Black/African-descendant, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian communities have experienced within the environmental racism of the built environment, including the climate crisis and its disproportionate impact on these communities. This is true both in the US (where ccp is situated) and across the globe where colonization and industrialization have subjected particular groups to the more extreme impacts of the climate crisis.
This work will be done in alignment, and when possible in partnership, with groups who are organizing around the built environment and climate justice. Specifically, this group will prioritize those working with Frontline Communities—those who will experience the first and worst impacts of climate change; predominantly Black, African-descendant, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and low-income communities.
Targeting Legislative Champions
This work distinguishes itself from other left and progressive-led policy projects in that it is explicitly focused on issues of public investment, government regulation, public and cooperative ownership, community, and the built environment. Instead of sweeping federal recommendations that ignore the ways in which communities understand their built environment, these briefs will make recommendations that center the specific needs of these communities, expand democracy at all scales of governance, and facilitate flexible implementation by communities.
This group considers the built environment expansively to include traditional, big infrastructure like energy systems and railways; landscapes shaped by human activity like small parks, giant farm-fields, and sprawling wetlands; and the neighborhoods, buildings, and streetscapes where people congregate.
This group is indebted to the movements, policy, and theory advancing organizing and debate on racial, economic, social, and climate justice that have come before and that will come after. We take seriously the responsibility of continuing this work.
This work is predicated on a theory of change that the greatest leverage point in translating climate justice demands into material investments and action for the foreseeable future will be legislative bodies at multiple scales, backed by movement organizing and policy expertise. Rather than competing for resources or attention doing broad progressive policy work, executive branch-focused policy work, or sweeping climate policy work without resolution, this group will target bold Members of Congress and their counterparts in states and cities to push an investment-forward climate agenda that aligns with the demands of the climate justice movement at the federal, state, and local levels of governance. And we will connect community groups’ priorities to the policy process in legislative offices.
The University’s Resources
This work is being performed at the McHarg Center and the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2, at the University of Pennsylvania, an institution profiting off fossil fuel, gentrification, and scientific racism. Elite universities like Penn have contributed to the climate crisis and are responsible for addressing their impacts; while they cannot lead they must turn their resources towards climate justice in solidarity with those organizing beyond the institution. This group will mobilize critical social sciences in service of this goal.
Co-Director, ccp; Wilks Family Director, McHarg Center, University of Pennsylvania
Daniel Aldana Cohen
Co-Director, ccp, Director, Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative (SC)2, and Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania
Co-Manager, Climate & Energy Program, Democracy Collaborative
Assistant Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy, Occidental College
Assistant Professor, Political Science, Providence College
Akira Drake Rodriguez
Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania
Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò
Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Georgetown University
Assistant Professor, Economics, New College of Florida
Coordinator, New York Energy Democracy Alliance
Energy and Climate Fellow, Jain Family Institute
Professor, Law, Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University
(on leave of absence)
Creative Director, Fastest Path to Zero Initiative, University of Michigan
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Concordia University
Senior Research Associate, Metropolitan Housing and Communities, Urban Institute
University of Pennsylvania
President, National Family Farm Coalition
Penn Population Studies Center and the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative
Assistant Professor, Geography, Durham University
Dean's Assistant Professor, Environment and Society and Anthropology, Brown University
Fellow, US Architects Declare
Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
project coordinator, ccp
Senior Fellow, Data for Progress
Professor, Environmental Studies, San José State University
Research Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas, Austin
Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University