Using geospatial technologies and data to promote an alternative ethics of policymaking and policy analysis: Mitigation of urban warming in a Latin American city

Recent research has demonstrated that unfettered urbanization is closely associated with urban warming in residential areas of cities throughout Latin America. As part of the EthicalGEO initiative, I would like to collaborate with residents, local stakeholders and community organizations in the comisarías of Molas and Cholul, two contrasting peri-urban areas of Mérida, Mexico under imminent threat of largely unregulated residential and urban development, to devise grass-roots policy proposals for conservation and sustainable land use, which ultimately would minimize the effects of urbanization on urban warming and the local heat island effect. This intervention builds on my recent research and addresses an increasingly relevant social and environmental issue; it would make use of GIS, GPS, satellite imagery and spatial analysis and take context, complexity, coherence and local knowledge into account.

I plan to collaborate on this initiative with one or two undergraduate students at The City College of New York via the Colin Powell School’s recently launched Climate Policy Fellows Initiative. In addition, the project has support from stakeholders in Mérida, including the city’s Office for Sustainable Development, and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at CCNY.