The Bartlett


Climate change adaptation and social justice: what is the role of the built environment?

26 October 2021, 5:00 pm–6:30 pm

A flooded city - Photo by Nastya Dulhiier on Unsplash

The Bartlett and Places Journal bring together their expertise to discuss: what is the role of the built environment in climate change adaptation and social justice?

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Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the world needs to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. However, even if we successfully limit warming, we will still experience significant impacts of climate change across the world. We are already seeing such impacts, with wildfires and extreme weather events becoming increasingly common. To rise to the climate challenge, adaptation is of critical importance. 

The impacts of climate change constitute a threat to justice; but are there also risks that measures taken to adapt to climate change could reinforce or exacerbate social injustices? What role can architecture and built environment interventions play in enabling a resilient and socially just adaptation process, that also works as far as possible in line with, rather than against, nature? 

Chaired by Professor Christoph Lindner - Dean of Bartlett Faculty of the Built Envrionment, our panel bring together built environment experts from The Bartlett and Places Journal, including:

  • Lizzie Yarina - Doctoral candidate at MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and Research Fellow at MIT Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism
  • Kiel Moe - Cass Gilbert Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota
  • Brett Milligan - Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design, UC Davis
  • Danielle Zoe Rivera - Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture + Environmental Planning, University of California, Berkeley
  • Marcella Ucci - Associate Professor - UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, Bartlett
  • Dusty Gedge - UCL Green Infrastructure Industry Expert-in-Residence, President of the European Federation of Green Roof and Wall Associations, Director, Green Infrastructure Consultancy Ltd, Founding Director, Livingroofs.org
  • Scott Allan Orr - Lecturer in Heritage Data Science - UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, Bartlett

About the Speakers

Lizzie Yarina

Doctoral Candidate and Research Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Lizzie Yarina is a doctoral candidate in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and a Research Fellow at the MIT Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism, where her dissertation investigates the spatial politics of climate change adaptation in delta regions. She is presently co-editing a volume on the relationship between climate models and the built environment with a multi-disciplinary team of editors and contributors. Previously she was Research Scientist at the MIT Urban Risk Lab, where she was part of a team examining alternatives to FEMA’s post-disaster housing systems and conducted research on disaster preparedness in Japan. 

In 2017, Yarina was a Fulbright New Zealand research fellow, where she examined the spatial implications of climate change migration. She has worked as a designer at PLY Architecture, William Rawn Associates, and Dada Architecture (Beijing), and has taught at the Singapore University of Technology and Design and the Victoria University of Wellington. Her research on the relationships among design thinking, territorial politics, and climate risk has been published in JAEArchitecture and CulturePlacesThe Plan Journal, and Arch+. Yarina holds a joint Masters in Architecture and Masters of City Planning from MIT, and a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Michigan.

More about Lizzie Yarina

Kiel Moe

Cass Gilbert Visiting Professor at University of Minnesota

Kiel Moe is a practicing architect and is presently the Cass Gilbert Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota. In recognition of his design and research endeavors, he was awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Helsinki; the Gorham P. Stevens Rome Prize in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome, the Architecture League of New York Prize, and the American Institute of Architects National Young Architect Award. He has published several books on architecture including Empire, State & Building; Wood Urbanism: From the Molecular to the Territorial; Insulating Modernism: Isolated and Non-Isolated Thermodynamics in Architecture; Convergence: An Architectural Agenda for Energy.

Brett Milligan

Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design at University of California, Davis

Brett Milligan is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design at the University of California, Davis. He is a founding member of the Dredge Research Collaborative, a non-profit pursuing regenerative approaches to design and management of dredging and sedimentary processes at watershed scales. At UC Davis, he is the director of the Metamorphic Landscapes Lab, prototyping infrastructural adaptation to accelerated climatic and environmental change within floodplains, estuaries, urbanized deltas, and the dynamic interface between land and water.

Geographically, much of Brett’s research is focused on California’s Bay-Delta. He was the lead organizer for DredgeFest California (2016); core member of the 2017-2018 Resilient by Design International Competition’s Public Sediment team; and has served as a consultant to state, federal and private agencies in the region. In the CA Delta, he has worked extensively on ecological restoration initiatives that seek to integrate cultural, economic and place-based values within these landscape transformations.

Danielle Zoe Rivera

Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture + Environmental Planning at University of California, Berkeley

Danielle Zoe Rivera is Assistant Professor in the department of Landscape Architecture + Environmental Planning at the University of California Berkeley. She is part of a university-wide initiative at Berkeley focusing on Climate Equity and Environmental Justice.

Rivera's work examines environmental planning, urban design, and community development. Within these spaces, she focuses on issues of environmental justice and climate equity affecting low-income communities. Her current work leverages community-based research and design methods to identify and address environmental injustices affecting low-income communities throughout South Texas, the Bay Area, and Puerto Rico. She has conducted past research in Southeast Michigan, the Philadelphia region, and the Denver region. Rivera conducts this work through her Just Environments Lab, which seeks to center concerns of social justice and equity in discussions of the future of our environment. She holds a PhD in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan, a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining the University of California Berkeley, Rivera served as faculty in the Program of Environmental Design at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Department of Architecture at The Pennsylvania State University.

More about Danielle Zoe Rivera

Scott Allan Orr

Lecturer in Heritage Data Science at UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage in the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources

Scott Allan Orr is a Lecturer in Heritage Data Science at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage. An engineer with broad interests, his research within heritage science primarily uses data-driven approaches to assess environmental impacts on the historic built environment, the use of non-destructive tools in building surveys, and incorporating value and perception into scientific evaluations. His research emphasises a holistic approach to considering the historic built environment in its context. He is the Deputy Programme Director of the MSc Data Science for Cultural Heritage, on which he teaches modules about heritage data visualisation and heritage science.

More about Scott Allan Orr

Marcella Ucci

Associate Professor at UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering in the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources

Marcella Ucci’s research focuses on the interactions and tensions between sustainable building design/operation and occupant comfort, health and wellbeing. Her expertise includes building performance monitoring and modelling, evaluation of indoor air quality (especially biological such as dust mites), active design, and operational aspect of buildings - especially occupant behaviour.

More about Marcella Ucci

Dusty Gedge

Green Infrastructure Industry Expert-in-Residence at UCL

Dusty is a green infrastructure consultant working in London, UK and Europe. He is UCL’s Green Infrastructure expert-in-resident based at the Bartlett, the current President of the European Federation of Green Roof Associations (EFB) and founder of www.Livingroofs.org

Though he has a particular interest in biodiversity and urban nature, his work in the built environment is focused on climate resilience and the promotion of greener cities through multi-functional green infrastructure. 

A recognised designer, technical and policy advisor on green roofs and urban green infrastructure., has worked on GI Projects in the UK for the last 20 years.  Some of these are recognised as seminal projects, especially in London through his consultancy www.GreenInfrastructureConsultancy.com (GIC).

Dusty is a published author and has been instrumental in writing strategic reports on green roofs and green infrastructure. Dusty co-wrote London’s green roofs and walls policy 2008 for the first London Plan, the 10-year update report in 2019 assessing the impact of the policy, as well as advising on the Urban Greening Factor Policy UG5in the New London Plan 2020.

Dusty works with local authorities in London, UK and internationally. He has recently been an external advisor to the Greening Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 2030 project. He is currently working on a number of projects to deliver wetland green roofs, biosolar roofs and is part of the team working on Blue Roof Guidance for CIRIA.

Dusty also co-wrote the online small-scale green roof guide, with John Little www.greenrooftraining.com Dusty has been a TV presenter and is a recognised speaker at conferences and events around the world.