top of page

Tired of all the hyper-partisanship?
Let's do something about it!

Our National Conversation

Add paragraph text. Click “Edit Text” to update the font, size and more. To change and reuse text themes, go to Site Styles.

The Importance of Resilient Infrastructure in Low-Income Communities

Low-income communities tend to face greater devastation in the face of a disaster. Generally, people living in these communities reside in homes or buildings that are not safe or equipped to survive extreme weather, resulting in catastrophic damage and homelessness following a natural disaster. Often, these neighborhoods are located in places most vulnerable to natural disasters like unprotected coastal regions or high-density areas. Different infrastructure traits, like the compact design of an area or proximity to flood zones or storm surges, make those who live in these communities vulnerable. The socioeconomic status of these areas is an added hindrance as many do not have the means to weather the financial burdens of recovery, a process that can take years. Unfortunately, low-income communities are disproportionately affected and face the negative ramifications of natural disasters long after they happen as they don’t have the resources that high-income communities do to rebuild (Biniarz). Since these communities are highly susceptible to disasters, resilient infrastructure would be extremely beneficial in keeping families safe while combating natural disasters and the climate crisis. 


Low-income communities, while already at a disadvantage, are deeply intertwined with the most dire effects of climate change. These communities tend to exist in flood zones and within inner cities where heat radiates off brick and cement with little to no green space to provide shade, lower temperatures, mitigate storm surges and flooding, or improve disaster resilience within the community (Grinspan et al.). With the increase in the severity of natural disasters and weather events due to climate change, low-income communities will feel the biggest impact since they are the least prepared. Rather than allow these communities to face the harshest consequences, we should implement resilient infrastructure. Though this may be time-consuming, it is incredibly important to ensure that the people who live in these neighborhoods are protected and safe. 


Moreover, investing in resilient infrastructure is cost-effective and profitable. Rather than continuing to build unsound infrastructure, it makes much more sense to invest in infrastructure that is designed to handle the changing environment for the long term. This kind of resiliency in low-income communities would provide citizens with a more functional and secure home and a better quality of life. Not only is this an opportunity to provide much-needed help and resources to low-income communities, but it will also help to mitigate the unavoidable effects of climate change. Resilient infrastructure would minimize risks and vulnerability to disasters and offer preparedness and mitigation to those in these communities—qualities that they often lack.  


Grace Axlund is an undergraduate student at Miami University where she is working towards her Bachelor’s degree. She is majoring in Urban and Regional Planning, co-majoring in Sustainability and minoring in Photography. She is an Infrastructure intern at ONC and has been with the organization since May 2022.


Sources

Biniarz, L. “How Natural Disasters Disproportionately Affect Vulnerable Communities.” Environment 911, 31 March 2021, Accessed 25 June 2022.

Grinspan, Delfina, et al. “Urban Parks Can Increase Social Equity.” World Resources Institute, 29 September 2020, https://www.wri.org/insights/green-space-underestimated-tool-create-more-equal-cities. Accessed 11 October 2022.

“How Climate Change Affects Poverty.” Mercy Corps, 10 April 2018, https://www.mercycorps.org/blog/climate-change-poverty. Accessed 25 June 2022.

“Hurricanes hit the poor the hardest.” Brookings, 18 September 2017, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2017/09/18/hurricanes-hit-the-poor-the-hardest/. Accessed 25 June 2022.

McCarthy, Joe. “Why Climate Change and Poverty Are Inextricably Linked.” Global Citizen, 19 February 2020, https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/climate-change-is-connected-to-poverty/. Accessed 25 June 2022.

“$4.2 Trillion Can Be Saved by Investing in More Resilient Infrastructure, New World Bank Report Finds.” World Bank Group, 19 June 2019, https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2019/06/19/42-trillion-can-be-saved-by-investing-in-more-resilient-infrastructure-new-world-bank-report-finds. Accessed 25 June 2022.


Comments


bottom of page