Infrastructure planning for community resilience requires comprehensive inventories of existing social, built, and natural capital assets. Identifying needs and vulnerabilities can be informed by resilience theory, but such inventories are currently lacking.
Led by IU professors Heather Reynolds and Jeff Wilson, the research team is applying social-ecological systems theory and an explicit resilience trait-based framework to guide the inventory and analysis of urban green infrastructure (UGI) towards optimizing community resilience.
Working with the Indiana Geological and Water Survey and municipal partners, the team is developing geographic information systems (GIS) layers for biophysical and social data associated with urban forests, food gardens, and other forms of UGI, as well as layers for heat and flood risk and socioeconomic vulnerability. These layers will help cities to prioritize the placement of UGI where climate change threats are greatest, both in terms of biophysical factors (e.g. heat stress, flooding) and social vulnerabilities (e.g. income, food security).
While the immediate focus is on Bloomington and Indianapolis, the broader goal is to advance urban social-ecological resilience theory and develop protocols to pioneer the inventory and analysis of multiple forms of UGI. Such a framework will assist municipalities across Indiana in strengthening their resilience to climate variability and change, and contribute to healthier, more livable communities.