"Environmental inequalities are often closely married to social inequalities. The everyday degradations in urban environment cause most ill-health and deaths, especially in poorer cities and neighborhoods. It has been well documented that low-income urban workers tend to suffer most from climate change when heat waves, drought, and heavy rains increase food prices. Given that environmental issues and poor people deprivation seem to be linked in urban settings, it is imperative to understand the ecological and social processes by which this mutual reinforcement operates. The reinforcing patterns tend to be related to housing conditions; limited awareness of risk; restrictive employment opportunities that often force urban poor residents into hazardous work environments; poor access to quality health care; crime and substance abuse; and limited infrastructure for basic services such as garbage disposal, clean water and sewage; and poor-quality air."
Francisco Fernandez is PhD student at the Planning, Policy, and Design Department at UCI. He has about 10 years of policy experience in the Mexican federal government and is currently doing research on urban poverty and sustainability in fast growing cities. His research focuses on policy intervention by addressing issues of governance, consensus building, and collaborative networks. Francisco’s work examines how the false dichotomy between top-down and bottom-up development approaches obscures the working of mediating institutions that organize poverty alleviation efforts and the way the urban poor face the effects of climate change on their poverty conditions.