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About the Initiative

The challenges to water security globally are ramping up as climate change effects intensify in severity and frequency. While these challenges do not discriminate geographically, their effects do. Risk and resilience to natural disasters often fall along axes of historical oppression and marginalization, which are deeply rooted in modern geographies. However, equity measures in this field often treat the notions of people, history, and ethnography as separate from those of access, space, and place. The intersections here illustrate opportunities for advancing place-based, geospatial, and participatory research methods with engineering and policy advancements for mitigating and recovering from water security challenges such as flooding, drought, and drinking water contamination. Inequity in water security and resilience resonate globally, but our research often focuses on Black Americans and the history of slavery in the U.S. as an acute lens into the interwoven elements, such as housing, infrastructure, mobility, and health.

Using mixed-methods approaches across disciplines that advance novel methods and highlight information or process gaps, we work to join the social and physical landscapes of water, towards equitable and reparative solutions to water security. This humanistic, interdisciplinary research approach enables community-directed value setting and validation via qualitative methods, representation, and co-authorship. We employ these methods within place-based models that consider history, sociology, theory, and policy under a single geographic umbrella. Ultimately we seek to re-join the social and physical geographies of people and place as they pertain to natural disasters and water security, towards equitable and actionable solutions.