Publication Date

Spring 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Costanza Rampini


California, Climate action plans, Climate change, Environmental justice, Homelessness, Local governments

Subject Areas

Environmental justice; Climate change; Urban planning


California continues to endure the detrimental effects of climate change, such as poor air quality, flooding, and heatwaves. Concurrently, the state has seen an increase in the number of unhoused communities due to various ramifications such as rapid urbanization, failed political leadership, and restricted housing policies. While unhoused communities fight to access basic services, they must also now adapt to the looming impacts of climate change. Unhoused populations are especially vulnerable to climate change as they have limited access to shelter, spend the majority of their time outdoors, and lack the economic ability to adapt. While cities and counties are developing climate action plans, it is important to understand to what extent they consider the most vulnerable communities such as the houseless. Through the analysis of 15 climate action plans, and 14 semi-structured interviews from 11 jurisdictions, research findings highlight: (1) the procedural injustice of unhoused communities' right to engage in decision-making spaces, and (2) the inequitable planning for a Just City by overlooking the experiences of unhoused populations. This work identifies best practices that city and county governments can adopt to produce more equitable climate action plans that consider the most vulnerable, such as the houseless.