Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2023

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Jalel Sager


Urbanization has brought about many undesirable environmental changes, with extreme heat and urban heat island (UHI) effect being some of the most significant. In addition to the challenge of UHI effect and increase of extreme heat events, heat also disproportionately affects different types of urban populations with higher populations of minority and low-income residents, who are more exposed and have limited capacity to adapt to extreme. The increased vulnerability to heat faced by socially vulnerable communities can be linked to the inequalities in neighborhood level exposure to extreme heat events, underlying health conditions, workplace conditions, housing quality, and other lasting effects of structural racism. To address this challenge of decreasing the impacts of heat faced by urban dwellers and vulnerable communities, green infrastructure must be implemented within sustainable city planning to reduce UHI effects and build climate resilient communities. Green infrastructure has long been recognized as an effective tool to reduce UHI effect in cities and improve urban microclimates. This analysis outlined the cooling benefits of two green infrastructure types and identified communities that are most vulnerable to heat in order to determine whether the existing green infrastructure in Los Angeles is equitably distributed. This work also examines equity in sustainable planning through a policy review and equity analysis of the City of Los Angeles Sustainable City pLAn green infrastructure strategies. This analysis found that persons of color within the south-central portion of the City have less access to tree coverage, 66% less access to park space (per person), and experience hotter temperatures compared to other areas of the City. Further, after a thorough review of the City of Los Angeles Sustainable City pLAn, it is clear that the pLAn has not accurately responded to the pressures and needs of disadvantaged communities. Finally, this work includes recommendations for City planners to take in order to develop more equitable green infrastructure strategies within sustainable City planning.