Theses Master's

Interactive Web Mapping as a Tool for Planning Advocacy: Modeling 21st Century Climate Migration in West Africa

Piacentini, James

The effects of human-induced climate change are already being felt across the world today, particularly by poorer nations and peoples. One of the most critical challenges of our time is understanding how climate change-related hazards will fundamentally affect where and how we can live on this planet, ultimately leading to global shifts in migration as climate migrants and refugees move within and across political and geographic borders. It is necessary to understand how shifts in our planet’s climate will affect the hospitability of major areas of inhabited lands if we as a species are to truly engage the effects of climate change and protect those populations most vulnerable to harm. One of the major challenges to this understanding is the necessary complexity of climate and migration data, and the often-burdensome data-driven conclusions and analyses that provide barriers to those seeking to learn. Critical to enhancing the public’s understanding of these complex systems, and the planner’s ability to advocate for proper policy responses, is the transmission of rigorous climate and migration data into intuitive, visually engaging formats that encourage comprehension and interaction. This capstone project entails the development and deployment of an interactive web-based map platform that innovatively and intuitively showcases climate migration data for the West Africa region previously generated by researchers at Columbia University Earth Institute’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) and The World Bank. This digital web-based project interactively visualizes the spatial relationships between critical climate shifts and the regional populations affected using geoJSON data files organized on the online mapping platform Mapbox, with robust functionality implemented with custom HTML, JavaScript, and CSS code.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 11, 2020