Recognition of potential heat and water tradeoffs in vegetation-based city-level climate adaptation policies in arid and semi-arid environments
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The primary objectives of this study are to understand if and how cities are adapting to heat and water stress and to characterize their understanding of the potential tradeoffs associated with vegetation-based strategies. I address these objectives using two approaches: a comparative analysis of climate adaptation and sustainability planning documents in cities vulnerable to heat and water stress and an in-depth case study of the response to heat and water threats in Los Angeles. The comparative analysis of city plans builds a broad understanding of how cities are planning to adapt to heat and water stress and the degree to which they articulate an understanding of, and mitigate the potential for, maladaptive measures. The Los Angeles case study provides the opportunity to more deeply trace how the process of adapting to heat and water stress has unfolded in a single city. To do so, I locate the city’s contemporary policies in an historical continuum with previous municipal environmental policy efforts, in local patterns of urban development and their entailing political and economic foundations, and in regional, state, national, and international environmental policy hierarchies.