Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
This project sought to promote a just transition to building electrification in the city of Riverside, CA through a community engagement process that prioritized equity. Policy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions in a way that corrects environmental injustice rather than contributing to it further is crucial as the disastrous impacts of climate change continue to increase in intensity and frequency. In Riverside, challenges in creating opportunities for meaningful engagement included the Covid-19 pandemic, an absence of trust between community organizations and the local government, and the limited timeline and budget of the project. However, by cultivating relationships with local organizations, and planning an ambitious community engagement strategy, Riverside has taken steps to involve communities in a building electrification policy that will contribute to the public health, environmental justice, and housing affordability of the city as a whole. The project avoids a technocratic form of climate policy and instead opts for one that centers frontline communities and promotes a just transition. The challenges that this method faces are described, including managing competing objectives and building trust with communities long ignored by traditional policy-making processes. Substantive community outreach can transform building electrification from technocratic environmental legislation to a policy that corrects past environmental injustice and builds a more resilient future for all.
Barker, Emma, "Building a Just Transition: Creating a Community Engagement Strategy for Building Electrification Policy in the City of Riverside" (2021). Pitzer Senior Theses. 125.