UA Udall Center for Public Policy
Wednesday, November 27,
The Arizona Senior Academy Building
How can our desert cities become cooler and safer from flooding by creating “oases” of vegetation even in some of the poorest areas, and at an affordable cost? Adriana Zuniga-Teran, an Assistant Research Scientist at UA’s Udall Center for Public Policy, will explain a collaborative effort of university students and south-side Tucson neighborhoods to improve safety and address environmental injustice at the same time, by developing “green infrastructure” (GI) for the neighborhoods.
Urban green infrastructure – developing vegetated areas in cities for stormwater takeup – is known to decrease flooding and heat, making neighborhoods more resilient and more livable. However, the geographic distribution of GI is frequently inequitable. Low-income communities are often deprived of this type of infrastructure, thus exacerbating existing social injustice. The Udall Center project explores an outreach model to enhance safety and address environmental injustice in Tucson, where neighborhoods on the south side show significantly less vegetation and experience more heat and flooding than more affluent areas. Lack of vegetation results in more energy used in buildings (and higher energy bills), as well as significant damage to the urban infrastructure of roads, drainage, communication, traffic patterns, etc.
A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Adriana Zuniga-Teran is an Assistant Research Scientist at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy in the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning at UA. Her undergraduate studies in architecture were at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. After working as an architectural designer in Mexico, she came to the University of Arizona for her masters in architecture and a doctorate in arid lands resource sciences, with a minor in global change. Her current research includes transboundary water security in the arid Americas (with the International Water Security Network: http://www.watersecuritynetwork.org/) and a project to measure the state of the health of the Cienega Watershed.
Written by Suzanne Ferguson, Academy Village Volunteer