Theses Master's

Geographies of Disadvantage: Assessing Multiscalar Urban Climate Risk Mapping Methods for Cumulative Impacts

Rizal, Kavyaa

Environmental justice mapping tools are becoming increasingly popular in the public sector to identify priority areas for climate change mitigation and adaptation programs and investments. Tools such as the Justice40 Community and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) and the NYSERDA New York State Disadvantaged Communities Map (DAC) are new, and are now used in the public sector at the Federal, State and local levels for, program design, site-identification, and allocation of resources. These tools identify cumulative disadvantage in communities at the census tract level through combinations of environmental and climate risk related indicators, along with various socio-economic indicators of disadvantage. However, a growing body of literature suggests that more granular levels of analysis for environmental risk and exposure mapping is necessary for hyper-heterogenous and densely populated urban environments such as New York City (NYC).  

This analysis explored the use of Cadastral-Based Dasymetric Mapping methodologies that calculate environmental risk and exposure at the residential tax lot level against models created based on the CEJST and DAC map methodologies in NYC. Findings suggest that when the same analysis is conducted at the residential tax lot level, a higher number and diversity of the total population is identified as disadvantaged. Further, there is more diversity in the geographic units and demographic groups identified as disadvantaged at the residential tax lot level. Conversely, findings suggest that analyses conducted at the census tract level could underestimate certain populations at risk, disproportionately undercounting minority population groups. This research suggests that in highly populated urban environments, Cadastral-Based Dasymetric Mapping or a similar level of granular approach in cumulative disadvantage mapping can be employed for more accurate and nuanced depictions of disadvantage.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Vanky, Anthony P.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 26, 2024