(Mis-)belonging to the climate-resilient city: Making place in multi-risk communities of racialized urban America

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Through climate adaptation planning cities are transforming places and relations, most recently via green climate resilient infrastructure (GRI). Yet, GRI’s incorporation into existing, racialized infrastructure systems of urban development, regeneration and finance has raised questions about the socio-cultural impacts and justice dimensions of recent directions in climate adaptation planning and urbanism. While critical scholars highlight the exclusion of historically marginalized residents, this paper’s analysis of the impacts of GRI-driven planning for sense of belonging reveals a complex and multi-faceted experience of gentrification and displacement in the racialized, settler colonial city. Drawing on insights from civic actors about their lived experience of green and climate resilient projects in Boston, Massachusetts, we develop a novel understanding of belonging, which entails degrees of (mis)belonging. Our analysis uncovers three pathways by which climate urbanism shapes belonging into various alienated, subordinated, assimilated and emancipated forms, and reveals the kinds of political subjects and socio-cultural relations that emerge from the lived experience of climate adaptation projects. More broadly, this study sheds light on how less visible placemaking practices and alternative modes of addressing socio-climate vulnerability contribute to climate justice and injustice dynamics.

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Journal of Urban Affairs



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