Keynote Speaker

Maine Sustainability & Water Conference
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine

A recording of Linda Shi’s keynote address is available for viewing.

Linda ShiA Climate of Change – Transformative Planning for Equity, Justice, and Repair

With climate impacts intensifying around the country, many increasingly perceive the Northeast as a refuge, even as people in the region experience their own environmental stressors, housing shortages, economic inequality, and health impacts. Why is the region vulnerable to climate and other changes? How can the region respond to emerging changes in ways that redress, rather than exacerbate, existing inequities and vulnerabilities? This talk considers how historic development choices in the region have contributed to cycles of extraction and exclusion, and the implications of repeating these dynamics under climate change. It will focus on three ways in which climate initiatives can support more equitable adaptation: funding safe and affordable housing; changing land governance systems; and elevating Indigenous principles of consent, trust, accountability, and kinship. These examples aim to provoke conversation among attendees about the different layers and pathways towards transformative change.

Linda Shi is Assistant Professor at Cornell University’s Department of City and Regional Planning. Her research concerns how cities can adapt to climate change in ways that improve environmental sustainability and social justice. She studies how urban land governance shapes cities’ vulnerability to climate impacts and the equity of their adaptation responses. She comes at these issues having worked on watershed restoration, water and sanitation, and development planning all over the world for AECOM, the World Bank, the Institute for International Urban Development, and Rocky Mountain Institute. She has a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from MIT.