About this Research Topic
Cities, especially those from fast-developing countries, will be economic and emission hotspots in the coming decades. Quick economic and emission growth will bring inter- and intra-city inequality, especially in terms of accessibility to resources and exposure to pollution. Evidence has shown that global climate change has increased socioeconomic inequality. The so-called “sustainable development” of some developed cities is likely at the cost of exacerbating emissions and pollution elsewhere, which increases the inter-city environmental inequality. In addition, the inequality within a city could be even more serious due to the unequal distribution of pollution exposure and space access among income groups. Addressing the inequality in cities’ development and the environment is essential to realizing UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on inequality reduction (SDG 10), climate mitigation (SDG 13), environmental burden relief (SDG 3, 6, 15), and making cities inclusive, resilient and sustainable (SDG 11).
This Research Topic aims to showcase the advances in exploring the status, mechanisms, and possible solutions of environmental inequality at the city level with a multidisciplinary approach. Environmental inequality is not a new concept, which has triggered intense debates about sharing responsibilities at the national level during the formulation of international conventions such as the Paris Agreement. However, the mechanism of environmental inequality is more complicated and inseparable from other forms of inequality. As cities are the core of multiple global strategies with high heterogeneity, the necessity of revealing the uneven distribution of socioeconomic development and environmental burden at the city level becomes imperative. The inequivalent economic development may end up with severe inequality in environmental pollution among cities. Within cities, subordinate social groups tend to bear a disproportionate exposure due to lack of mobility and ability to take part in local environmental governance. Exploring the development and environmental inequality of cities would also help us understand how global climate change would affect people’s lives . It is therefore important for policymakers to have comprehensive understanding on the evolution of city-level inequalities. In the long run, an equal society with a prosperous economy and livable environment is our common pursuit. In light of the complex interrelationship between development, environment and equality, designing synergetic policies is critically important for cities.
The topics of interest include but are not limited to the following:
• How does the environmental burden (e.g., emissions and air quality) distribute unevenly among cities or within cities?
• What is the role of environmental policies in shaping the inequality issues of city dwellers?
• How can we incorporate multi-environmental inequality in urban growth?
• Is there a synergy between the inequality reduction and environmental improvement?
Keywords: City, Inequity, SDG, Environment, Decoupling, environmental burden, environmental policies
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