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Redlining and Climate Change

By Mary Heskel

Macalester College

Redlining was a racist, legal practice and its impacts are measurable in terms of environmental variables in US cities today. This resource examines redlining, urban environments, and climate change.

Listed in Teaching Materials

Version 1.0 - published on 19 Jun 2020 doi:10.25334/XPSD-GK49 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms



Redlining and Climate Change is a resource that can be done completely remotely and was adapted in April 2020 for two classes taught post-COVID.

The introductory resources and readings focus on defining redlining and the impacts of urban tree canopy cover on mitigating temperatures. These can be assigned in addition to a short lecture on how urban ecological systems work and the drivers of urban heat island effect. 

The worksheet is based around a few resources, including Hoffman et al. 2020, a paper that shows trends in impervious surface cover, land surface temperature, and canopy cover in cities that were historically redlined in the US. It has students interpret findings, write a plain language abstract, and also explore redlining and inequity in highway building in the Twin Cities. 

Finally, there is an optional extension of the activity to include a more 'solutions-driven' perspective, where students work individually or in small teams to develop a 'bid' to create greenspace in a historically red-lined neighborhood to promote environmental justice and mitigate the impacts of climate change in the neighborhood. 


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