The strategy uses governance and adaptation to design 35 actions reinforcing the resilience of the metropolis

86  Download (0)

Full text


Environmental justice and urban development:

The Paris Resilience Strategy Sasha Neuville

Student number: 13286277 Word count: 23022 words

Supervised by Karen Paiva Henrique Second reader: Dennis Arnold

Master of International Development Studies

Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies University of Amsterdam

Submitted on the 17th of June 2022, in Amsterdam



Climate change is increasingly threatening the health and wellbeing of human societies.

In a world where 4,2 billion people live in cities, this is a central problematic for urban development. The city of Paris, through its Resilience Strategy, attempts to address this problem. The strategy uses governance and adaptation to design 35 actions reinforcing the resilience of the metropolis. Yet, the impacts of climate change are unevenly affecting individuals depending on their vulnerabilities, thus creating injustices. Consequently, this research aims to understand how the Paris Resilience Strategy addresses environmental justice concerns in its efforts to adapt the city and build resilience to climate change. To do so, the thesis was developed using directed qualitative content analysis of the policy document and other qualitative data such as semi-structured interviews and visual representations through maps. The analysis revealed that the strategy lacked crucial considerations to qualify its actions as truly environmentally just. The benefits of policy implementation are unevenly distributed among the population, and the decision-making process insufficiently includes the different parties affected, reflecting a lack of both distributive and procedural justice. Overall, the strategy fails in strengthening environmental justice yet remains a first step towards reinforcing the city's resilience, succeeding in the development of adaptative actions. Through the lenses of environmental justice, the research studies the weaknesses and strengths of the strategy, which could inspire further urban development policies for climate change adaptation, both in Paris and in other metropolises.

Key words: Paris Resilience Strategy, environmental justice, resilience, adaptation, governance



I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have helped me along the lonely process of writing a desk-research master thesis. First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to my supervisor, Karen Paiva Henrique, who accompanied me throughout the writing and always gave extensive, thorough feedbacks. This research could not be presented as it is now without her guidance, that allowed me to articulate a well- established research project.

Thanks should also go to Courtney Vegelin for her amazing advices and counselling, as well as her supportive energy that helped me to keep positive thinking and motivation along the way.

Lastly, I would like to recognize the psychological and emotional support provided by my roommate and my best friend. They believed in me even in my most self-doubting moments.


Table of content









Fair Adaptation & distributive justice ...17

Just Governance & procedural justice...18





Ontology and epistemology ...23

Data Collection...24

Data Analysis...26


Quality of the research and limitations ...30

Trustworthiness ...31

Authenticity ...32

Ethical considerations and positionality ...33





Distributive justice in the adaptation to heat waves: schoolyards as cooling islands ...52

Distributive justice in the adaptation to air pollution: the transformation of the ring road ...56

Responsibilities ...60


Actor Mapping and analysis ...62

Inclusion and Participation ...64

Legitimacy ...69

Zooming out ...70





List of acronyms

PRS Paris Resilience Strategy 100RC 100 Resilient Cities PJ Procedural Justice DJ Distributive Justice

WHO World Health Organisation GHGs Greenhouse Gases


List of tables and figures

Figure 1 Conceptual Scheme

Figure 2 Coding methodology example Figure 3 ATLAS.ti code network Figure 4 Greater Paris metropolis map

Figure 5 Greater Paris social deprivation map Figure 6 Type of territories of Paris map

Figure 7 Map of the distribution of the "oases schoolyards"

Figure 8 Procedural Justice codes in PRS co-occurrence graph Figure 9 Actor mapping

Figure 10 Reinventing Paris winning projects distribution map

Figure 11 Procedural Justice and Distributive Justice codes in PRS co-occurrence graph Figure 12 'Parisculteurs' projects distribution map

Table 1 Code definitions

Table 2 List of actions and related challenges

Table 3 Statistical demographic of the neighborhoods with oases


CHAPTER 1: Introduction






Problem statement

Climate change is the biggest threat of our time, and we are now starting to see the direct consequences of it. Some studies express worries that climate change could be at the origin of an even bigger financial crisis that the one of the subprimes in 20081. Aside of threats to the financial system, it also presents worldwide threats to health and wellbeing of both humans and ecosystems. Furthermore, the uneven distribution of climate change impacts all over the world is reproducing systemic inequalities. The ones that are often the most impacted by climate change are the most vulnerable2, with the least possibilities to cope with it notably because they are already vulnerable. Ironically, they are also the ones often contributing the least, or having a neglectable contribution to climate change and environmental issues in comparison to the 'big climate change actors' such as developed countries or important – unsustainable – companies.

There is thus a notion of justice that enter the equation, including the rights and responsibilities of the different stakeholder that take part in, or are concerned by, environmental issues. This is the reason why environmental justice is one of my main concepts used in the theoretical framework and research design to position myself and adopt particular lenses when looking at the Paris Resilience Strategy (PRS) and its outcomes.

Having this context of climate change threats and uncertainty in mind, leaders and worldwide organizations are trying to act and find ways to proactively make our societies more resilient to current and future impacts of climate change. This research will focus more precisely on the building of urban resilience, looked at through the lenses of environmental justice. The research focuses on adaptation to climate change over mitigation. We are now aware of the fact that mitigation is not sufficient enough to compensate for the negative impacts of climate change, and that human societies need to bring adaptative strategies and policies. Indeed, already in the late nineties (notably after the Kyoto protocol), scientists were alarming that:

"Given the long history of past emissions from industrialized countries and the inertia of the climate system, we will experience a substantial amount of further climate change even if we make huge cuts."3 The greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions did not lower since that time. This results in, nowadays, having very tangible impacts worldwide: "In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the

1 Robin M. Leichenko, Karen L. O’Brien & William D. Solecki (2010) Climate Change and the Global Financial Crisis: A Case of Double Exposure

2 Hardoy, J., & Pandiella, G. (2009). Urban poverty and vulnerability to climate change in Latin America.

Environment and Urbanization

3 Parry, M., Arnell, N., Hulme, M., Nicholls, R., & Livermore, M. (1998). Adapting to the inevitable. Nature


oceans."4. Moreover, adaptation presents strong environmental justice implications as previously stated: "The longstanding unease in the policy community with regard to adaptation originates from fears that the acknowledgement of a possibility of adaptation could distract international efforts to mitigate climate change. These fears do injustice to those who have no other option but to adapt to climate changes to which they have not contributed"5.

Besides, the urban focus of this research is justified by the fact, in 2022, almost 60% of the population is living in cities and this number is increasing6. In the scope of the 100 resilient cities program, created by the Rockefeller Foundation in 2013, a new innovative urban development strategy was created. It would include 100 cities all over the world, eligible to receive funding to shape strategies influencing the future of urban development and environmental justice7. Yet, the 100 Resilient Cities Program does not clearly include environmental justice in the definitions of its goals, while it does include resilience to climate change. Building urban resilience implies building environmental justice as it includes both social and environmental resilience, necessary to withstand shocks8. Paris, the capital of France, is one of the cities that have been selected to be part of the broader plan, and with the Paris Resilience Strategy (PRS), will be the subject of this research. It is also a city that have been, during the past decade, at the center of climate negotiations, notably with the creation of the Paris Agreement in 2016. Interestingly, even though the PRS does not explicitly speak about environmental justice, it aims to face different challenges among which can be found "climate change" along with "social, economic and spatial inequalities, and social cohesion". I argue that environmental justice is necessary to bring those two challenges together. In short, the aim of this research will be to understand if the strategy is just socially and environmentally, and for whom.

4 IPCC, 2014: Summary for policymakers. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.

5 Paavola, J., & Adger, W. N. (2006). Fair adaptation to climate change. Ecological Economics

6 Urbanisation du monde. (2021). Espace-Mondial-Atlas. Retrieved 2022

7 Rockefeller Foundation: 100 Resilient Cities. (2013). Rockefeller Foundation

8 Revi, A., D.E. Satterthwaite, F. Arag n-Durand, J. Corfee-Morlot, R.B.R. Kiunsi, M. Pelling, D.C. Roberts, and W. Solecki, 2014: Urban areas. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.


Relevance and importance of the research

This research theme presents relevance in International Development Studies for multiple reasons. First of all, it is important to understand the multidimensional impacts of climate change to be able to find and provide solutions adapted to the issues, but it is also primordial to understand how those environmental impacts can be reproduced or created by the very solution and alternatives that are brought forward. Understanding how multiple social groups are impacted by climate change and the strategies related is indispensable to rethink and reshape our societies in a way that would prevent negative impacts of climate change, and the way they disproportionally affect different groups9. It is important to adopt an interdisciplinary gaze to those issues as it touches different fields of study such as social justice, environmental protection, and political governance. Finally, I wish to adopt a holistic approach to understand the importance of acting upon the situation of some groups at different levels in order to have a larger, more universal impact, as we shall see further. Indeed, struggles of some communities can hinder the development of bigger entities, or of the developing world in general.10 Though the global South is not the contextual subject of this research, this is also applicable to the context of the cities as a city is an interconnected networks of individuals and groups, with different yet impacting roles.

Furthermore, as previously mentioned, our era, commonly called the Anthropocene but that I would rather call, inspired by some researchers, the Capitalocene11 is marked by globalization and urbanization trends. Imagining the future of the world would imply imaging the future of cities, expanding to become more than just cities, but an intertwined network, the metropolis at the core of interdependent relationships. This is reinforced by the fact that our societies that are increasingly urban12. This urbanization of the world is not without impact:

"The ongoing shift towards urbanization has a profound effect on the spatial distribution of cities, their resource consumption, their environmental impact and their liveability."13, and as

9 de Coninck, H., A. Revi, M. Babiker, P. Bertoldi, M. Buckeridge, A. Cartwright, W. Dong, J. Ford, S. Fuss, J.- C. Hourcade, D. Ley, R. Mechler, P. Newman, A. Revokatova, S. Schultz, L. Steg, and T. Sugiyama, 2018:

Strengthening and Implementing the Global Response. In: Global Warming of 1.5 C.

10 Thomas, D. S., & Twyman, C. (2005). Equity and justice in climate change adaptation amongst natural- resource-dependent societies. Global Environmental Change

11Baer, H. Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Two Political Ecological Perspectives. Hum Ecol

12 Urbanisation du monde. (2021). Espace-Mondial-Atlas. Retrieved 2022

13 Urban Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience. (2020). Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies


the IPCC report emphasize, "Action in urban centers is essential to successful global climate change adaptation"14.

Knowledge gaps

If environmental justice has gained importance as an academic filed and framework since more than 40 years in the United States and other countries of the Global North, it emerged only recently as important concept for ecology and environment studies in France. As a matter of fact, the first time 'ecological inequalities' were mentioned in French political discourse and academia was in 200315. In France, environmental issues and their conceptualization were for long considered apolitical and only slightly addressed in politics and administration. Moreover, environmental justice as a term is never mentioned in the Paris Resilience Strategy document while it is a central concept when efficiently building urban resilience and adaptation to climate change. Consequently, I believe bringing environmental justice lenses to the analysis of the PRS and more broadly to France's political and environmental considerations would fill a significant knowledge gap.

Research questions

How does the Paris Resilience Strategy addresses environmental justice concerns in its efforts to adapt the city and build resilience to climate change?

Sub questions:

- what are the specific actions the strategy proposes to address the city's environmental issues (assessment of the actions through environmental justice lenses), and what are the socioenvironmental implications of these actions?

- Which stakeholder are taken into consideration in the development and the outcomes of the PRS?

- How does the decision-making process designed in the PRS allows for a more just governance? (inclusion, participation and legitimacy)

- In which ways the PRS allows for more distributive justice? (rights and responsibilities).

14 Revi, A., D.E. Satterthwaite, F. Arag n-Durand, J. Corfee-Morlot, R.B.R. Kiunsi, M. Pelling, D.C. Roberts, and W. Solecki, 2014: Urban areas. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

15 Laurent, L. (2017). Reconnaître, en France, l’inégalité et la justice environnementales. Actuel Marx


CHAPTER 2: Theoretical Framework







Resilience and vulnerability

Along with environment justice, resilience is a concept that is central to this research.

In its broad sense, "resilience refers to the ability to withstand shocks and stresses and to adjust to changing conditions (such as climate/environmental change)"16. That being said, resilience has gained more and more importance on the global political scene for the past two decades.

Resilience can be found in a multitude of international comities and treaties, such as the Paris agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals17 (especially goal 11), and of course, the 100 Resilient Cities of the Rockefeller foundation. Resilience is the ability to resist and withstand shocks in a narrow sense, but resilience in my own – philosophical – understanding, and how I wish to intend it in this paper, also means learning from crisis and shocks, emerging from them with more knowledge, more power, and more resilience itself. Urban resilience is based on the same definitions than resilience but placed in cities and urban milieu. The particularity of cities is that they are often densely populated and individuals at different levels are interconnected.

A resilient city is thus a city that is strong enough to face adversity without being shattered, but also a city that is flexible towards that adversity and the challenges that it might face, as it is able to adapt accordingly, learn and even use the challenges to its advantage. According to the Rockefeller Foundation, "urban resilience is the capacity of a city’s systems, businesses, institutions, communities, and individuals to survive, adapt, and grow, no matter what chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience"18. Building urban resilience hence means building a creative and interconnected governance model, that would work as a whole, as well has creating effective adaptation. Finally, urban resilience, and especially in the context of environmental justice, "looks at the relationships between natural and built environments"19 and how to create an evolving reality of cities that remain in conversation with their environment(s) in all senses of the term. In the specific case of Paris, and as its mayor Anne Hidalgo emphasize, it is far from being new. Indeed, the moto of the city have been since 1853 "Fluctuat nec mergitur", that translates from Latin into "Beaten by the waves but not sunk"20. However, its roots come from centuries before, inspired by the Seine, the river that crosses the city and that brought multiple challenges to Paris throughout the centuries. Moreover, Paris has the particularity of

16Croese, S., Green, C., & Morgan, G. (2020). Localizing the Sustainable Development Goals Through the Lens of Urban Resilience: Lessons and Learnings from 100 Resilient Cities and Cape Town. Sustainability

17 THE 17 GOALS | Sustainable Development. (2015).

18 Resilient Cities Network. (2021, August 2). What is urban resilience?

19 Urban Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience. (2020). Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

20 Paris Resilience Strategy. (2017). Municipality of Paris.


being a powerful metropolis that is a key to France's development, but also at the center of climate global negotiations (see chapter 4).

Resilience is conceptually opposed to vulnerability. As a matter of fact, it has been proved and globally acknowledged that climate change in urban context has negative outcomes that disproportionately affect certain groups, that are: "urban dwellers that face higher risks (illness, injury, mortality, damage to or loss of homes and assets, disruption to incomes)"21. Those groups are also called vulnerable groups. Vulnerabilities can be diverse, and one can accumulate multiple of them. They are defined as "an inability to cope with external changes including avoiding harm when exposed to a hazard. This includes people’s inability to avoid the hazard (exposure), anticipate it, and take measures to avoid it or limit its impact; cope with it; and recover from it"22. This quote from the IPCC report of 2014 on urban areas shows the similarities of vocabulary with resilience definitions. It is possible to state that building the resilience of a certain group means increasing their adaptative capacities and limit the impact of climate hazards, which by definition reduces their vulnerabilities. The same report also acknowledges that dialogue between the two concepts and substantiate their relationship and differences more clearly: "In relation to disasters, resilience is usually considered to be the opposite of vulnerability, but vulnerability is often discussed in relation to particular population groups while resilience is more often discussed in relation to the systemic capacity to protect them and reduce the impact of particular hazards through infrastructure or climate-risk sensitive land use management."23 It is primordial to understand those two concepts, vulnerability and resilience, to be able to fight against climate change outcomes efficiently. In that regard, resilience is also, as Walker and Cooper emphasize, touching upon multi-level governance and politics24

This part on resilience might seems hopeful and inspiring, yet resilience as a concept brings quite some controversies, of which I will give a brief overview. Resilience is a concept that addresses the future and the means to improve what is already settled. In other words, it can be a convenient framework to not address the challenges at their sources but only to solve and cope with the issues that are brought once they appear: treat the symptoms but not the cause.

It is often used an apolitical position that does not questions the system in place. Thus, it has

21 Revi, A., D.E. Satterthwaite, F. Arag n-Durand, J. Corfee-Morlot, R.B.R. Kiunsi, M. Pelling, D.C. Roberts, and W. Solecki, 2014: Urban areas. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.

22 ibid

23 ibid

24 MacKinnon, D., & Derickson, K. D. (2012). From resilience to resourcefulness. Progress in Human Geography


the aim to make the structures in place able to withstand risks and challenges without contesting those very structures. As MacKinnon and Derickso highlight that "promoting resilience in the face of the urgent crises of climate change and global recession actually serves to naturalize the ecologically dominant system of global capitalism."25 Some may argue that to be able to build efficient strategies of adaptation and mitigation to climate change, a deconstruction of the system is necessary. In that regard, one might wonder if resilience is the best way to approach urban development and climate adaptation. In response to those controversies, other concepts such as resourcefulness have been brought up on the academic scene. Acknowledging those considerations is interesting to understand the limitations of resilience as a concept, yet in this research, the conceptualization and operationalization of the concept will be remained based on its classical sense, as it is used in the PRS.

As explained above, climate change has different impacts, and resilience building is a process that allows to cope with those impacts and to withstand adversity and uncertainty. To do so, humans and policy makers have to adapt societies, especially since we are now aware that mitigation can never be sufficient to deal with climate change. Here I argue that resilience to climate change cannot be done successfully without environmental justice considerations.

Indeed, the concept implies to better face current and future challenges, yet without environmental justice considerations, there is a risk of reinforcement and/or reproduction of inequalities, which in turns threatens ecosystem and prevent resilient urban development. That vicious circle can be avoided by acknowledging different vulnerabilities when building resilience. Advancing urban resilience creates “a significant challenge, because it requires coordinating the efforts of numerous government departments, adopting flexible, and adaptive processes to accommodate changing circumstances, and allocating resources to preventive measures in anticipation of uncertain future threats”26. In this quote there is both elements of adaptation and of governance. If adaptation is a key component of resilience in the sense that, if one can adapt without being resilient, one cannot build resilience to climate change without adaptation, governance is the component that allows adaptation to be developed and implemented. As we shall see in the next section, environmental justice can only be successfully achieved if the adaptation is fair and the governance, just.

25 MacKinnon, D., & Derickson, K. D. (2012). From resilience to resourcefulness. Progress in Human Geography

26 Croese, S., Green, C., & Morgan, G. (2020). Localizing the Sustainable Development Goals Through the Lens of Urban Resilience: Lessons and Learnings from 100 Resilient Cities and Cape Town. Sustainability


Environmental justice

This research is articulated through environmental justice lenses, based on the meaning given by David Schlosberg and Robert Bullard, and broaden by many experts of the field. It is consequently important to come back on the origins of the movement, its definitions, and its transformations to understand better the meaning of placing myself, as a researcher, in an environmental justice perspective while looking at the Paris Resilience Strategy, and more broadly, urban development. Environmental justice's movement first started in the early eighties when issues of class and race in environmental planning were addressed, and where the unequal distribution of risk was highlighted as racial minorities were facing more ecological risks than others27. Progressively, environmental justice became a broader movement, researching and giving an understanding of "unequal impacts of environmental pollution on different social classes and racial/ethnic groups"28.

Later on, as Schlosberg explains when theorizing environmental justice, that focus on environmental racism was broaden to inequity and unequal distribution of environmental goods and bads and related protections.29 Another academic, Robert Bullard, also known as the father of environmental justice, built a framework based on those first considerations of environmental racism. He defines environmental justice as "the principle that 'all people and communities are entitled to equal protection of environmental and public health laws and regulations'"30. In this framework, environment is understood as the world we live in the broad sense, including nature and culture. Bullard emphasizes the justice dimension in environmental justice as a 'right for all'31 to, in one hand, have an equal protection against environmental negative outcomes (against the threats that have not occurred yet); and on the other hand, an equal distribution of impacts that have occurred or that are occurring. This brings to the surface the ethical and political questions of "who gets what, why, and how much."32 Consequently, in this framework environment and social justice are brought together to give an understanding of the potential impacts of environmental outcomes and the factors behind the injustices that may be brought by those impacts. Thus, it is here important to get a broad understanding of the different concepts of justice included in this framework. As already mentioned above, environmental

27 Mohai, P., Pellow, D., & Roberts, J. T. (2009). Environmental Justice. Annual Review of Environment and Resources

28 Ibid.

29Schlosberg, D. (2013). Theorising environmental justice: the expanding sphere of a discourse. Environmental Politics

30 Ibid.

31 R.B. (2013). Envrionmental justice in the 21st century. Environmental Justice Center.



justice necessitates, in urban development, the fair and just decision-making processes and implementation of adaptive strategies. This is done respectively through procedural justice and distributive justice

Fair Adaptation & distributive justice

Paavola and Adger, in their article Justice and Adaptation to Climate Change, support that idea that justice is necessary to build adaptation efficiently: "It is essential to understand these [impacts and distribution] and other justice implications of adaptive strategies for both moral and instrumental reasons. Unjust adaptive strategies are less likely to be adopted and ineffective if they are adopted"33. They argue that both distributive and procedural justice are essential in adaption. In this section, I will dive into the concept of distributive and, in the following one, detail procedural justice in relation to governance.

Distributive justice is a concept focused on rights and responsibilities as entitlements that go with one another, as two sides of the same coin34. It is defined by Paavola and Adger as

"the incidence of benefits and costs, broadly conceived so as to encompass non-pecuniary advantages and burdens as well as the consideration of non-humans"35. It is looking at who has the right to benefit from environmental adaptation, and "who should take responsibility for climate change impacts and their amelioration"36. To give a simple, common example, this could be applied to the North/South debate on carbon emissions: the North would be responsible to take action as it is emitting more carbon and has more capacity of action (this is debatable but simplified for the sake of the example), and the South would be more targeted by adaptative climate policies, since it is less contributing to emissions and suffering more from their negative impacts (again, simplified for the sake of the example). Simply put, in the case of the Paris Resilience Strategy, distributive justice is about understanding in one hand, who needs to take action for the resilience building and adaptation of the city depending on the different contributions to climate change. On the other hand, it is about who has the right to benefit from adaptative actions and how much, and this is determined by vulnerabilities and disproportionate impacts certain groups may experience.

33 Jouni Paavola And W. Neil Adger, J. P. W. N. A. (2002, October). Justice and adaptation to climate change.

Justice and Adaptation to Climate Change

34 Bulkeley, H., Carmin, J., Castán Broto, V., Edwards, G. A., & Fuller, S. (2013). Climate justice and global cities: Mapping the emerging discourses

35 Paavola, J., & Adger, W. N. (2006). Fair adaptation to climate change. Ecological Economics,

36 Ibid.


Nevertheless, distributive justice only concerns the fairness of the implementations of adaption and their outcomes. An environmentally just adaption would also need to be just in its governance and decision-making processes, which can be done through procedural justice.

Just Governance & procedural justice

As stated above, justice should not solely happen in the outcomes of adaptation, but also in the processes used to produce those outcomes. Paavola and Adger define procedural justice as "the way in which parties are positioned I processes of planning and decision-making, encompassing issues such as recognition, participation and distribution of power"37. In other words, it concerns the way in which decisions are made, with whom and why. Bulkeley et al.

put it as such: procedural justice is about "who should take decision over what and by what means and, on whose behalf."38. Procedural justice in governance is important as it can give a voice to the different stakeholders and more specifically the ones concerned, which gives a sense of representation. Moreover, it allows to acknowledge the potential vulnerabilities of access of different groups to such governance processes. In turn, a successful articulation of procedural justice in decision-making also improves the perceived justice of the decision.

Different components are needed to build procedural justice. In this research, they are summed up in three dimensions: inclusion, participation, and legitimacy. Those dimensions would "help address underlying inequalities by identifying vulnerable populations, particular intersecting inequalities, and concrete actions for strengthening resilience."39 Participation can be defined as "inviting many people to participate, making the process broadly accessible to and representative of the public at large, and collecting community input and using it to influence policy decisions"40. Yet, that participation might not be inclusive enough, and thus unfair. This is the case, for example, if a participatory process selectively includes a certain group and exclude another that would have as much validity to participate as the first. In other words, everyone should have the right to participate. This is foregrounded by the United Nations: "Successful adaptation not only depends on governments but also on the active and sustained engagement of stakeholders including national, regional, multilateral and

37 Paavola, J., & Adger, W. N. (2006). Fair adaptation to climate change. Ecological Economics,

38Bulkeley, H., Carmin, J., Castán Broto, V., Edwards, G. A., & Fuller, S. (2013). Climate justice and global cities: Mapping the emerging discourses

39United Nations Publications. (2016). World Economic and Social Survey: 2016: Climate Change Resilience - An Opportunity for Reducing Inequalities

40 Quick, K. S., & Feldman, M. S. (2011). Distinguishing Participation and Inclusion. Journal of Planning Education and Research


international organizations, the public and private sectors, civil society and other relevant stakeholders, as well as effective management of knowledge"41. In environmental justice lenses and regarding the Paris Resilience Strategy (PRS), this means the recognition and the participation of all affected parties42. A procedural injustice would occur if and when a particular individual or a particular group of individuals is unjustly left out of the decision- making process in comparison to others. That is what Bulkeley et al foreground in their article on climate justice when speaking about "‘‘equal participation for all’’ as a principle for fair adaptation to climate change"43. This would of course depend on the decision at stake, as participation of the whole population is not relevant to every decision, but the possibility of it is. Representative participation of the people concerned by an action, the ones presenting related vulnerabilities for example, is primordial if an action or policy is to be considered as just.

Finally, legitimacy of the decisions is also important to build just governance.

Legitimacy is the process by which a policy or a whole institution is identified as acceptable and rightful to make the decision that it makes. "It is a judgment by an individual about the rightfulness of a hierarchy between rule or ruler and its subject and about the subordinate’s obligations toward the rule or ruler" 44. This can be done notably by constructing a decision- making process that is transparent and clear to the public, but also by inviting experts to participate in the discussions, thus justify the reasons of a certain action.

To conclude, I wish to finish this part on environmental justice by giving a final definition of this framework, that bring together both dimensions previously explained and on which I will base myself throughout the research: Environmental justice is defined by the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency as “The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.". The strength of this definition, in the context of the analysis of the PRS, is in my opinion the last part. Yet, I wish to slightly modify the first by saying "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of any grounds for discrimination (minorities, vulnerabilities, stigmas…)" instead of what was originally written.

41 United Nation Climate Change (2020). What do adaptation to climate change and climate resilience mean?


42 Ibid

43 Bulkeley, H., Carmin, J., Castán Broto, V., Edwards, G. A., & Fuller, S. (2013). Climate justice and global cities: Mapping the emerging discourses

44 Legitimacy. (2022). The Princeton Encyclopedia of Self-Determination.


Conceptual scheme

The concepts presented and explained above are here visually articulated in Figure 1.

Figure 1:

Overall, this theoretical framework has been mainly based on the work of Jouni Paavola and W. Neil Adger around justice and adaptation to climate change.

The operationalization of the key concepts can be found in the operationalization table presented in appendix. This table has not been included in the body of the thesis as it was developed for the purpose of the research proposal and used as a blueprint in the beginning of the data collection process (it has not been updated since).











Units of analysis

This research is focusing on the Paris Resilience Strategy and the people it affects.

Therefore, the unit of analysis is first and foremost the adaptation and resilience plans of the metropolis of the Greater Paris, and their impacts on Parisians and more specifically the most vulnerable among the population. This is consequently both an individual level unit of analysis and a policy related unit of analysis45. Indeed, while the data mainly come for a policy document, the Paris Resilience Strategy, it intrinsically has implications for the citizens of Paris as it plans to adapt and transform their living environment. The unit of observation used in this research is the Paris Resilience Strategy, as well as other data that substantiate the understanding of the outcomes of the strategy, such as other policy documents, maps or demographic statistics (list of data in the next section).

The unit of analysis, since it includes both policy and individuals, is quite dual. It is necessary to come back to the research question to understand this; namely: How does the Paris Resilience Strategy addresses environmental justice concerns in its efforts to adapt the city and build resilience to climate change? Individuals are not explicitly included in this research question. Yet, this question implies studying environmental justice through the data that the strategy constitutes. If individuals are directly concerned by this concept, it is because environmental justice and injustices are related to the way in which certain individuals or groups of individuals are treated in the face of climate change and environmental issues, as explained previously (see chapter 2). Consequently, individuals are part of the unit of analysis as a result of environmental justice being a central concept in the research question.

To conclude here, it is important to remember that the context of this research and thus the context of unit of analysis is the metropolis of the Greater Paris, i.e., Paris and its suburb (see chapter 4).

45 Silverman, S., & Solmon, M. (1998). The Unit of Analysis in Field Research: Issues and Approaches to Design and Data Analysis. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education


Research Design

Ontology and epistemology

As a researcher, I am placing myself in a constructivist ontological and epistemological perspective. This means that I see the reality as a construction that each individual accesses through their own subjectivity in order to give meaning and interpret that reality. In other words, I am rejecting the – positivist – assumption that one can access a single, true reality. Indeed, a constructivist ontology imply understanding the world as shaped by social constructions and beliefs. Bryman explains it as such: "constructionism is an ontological position asserting that social phenomenon and their meaning are continually being accomplished by social actors, and that they are in constant construction and revision"46. Consequently, accessing a reality is necessarily influenced by the social positioning, conscious or not, of the person accessing that one reality. In epistemology, it translates into being aware that knowledge is subjectively understood. This means that, in a research, results and interpretations are not a generalized truth but related to the socially constructed reality of both the research and the object of study, the participants. This is the reason why researchers must acknowledge preconceptions and biases.47

Furthermore, in the scope of this research, I am placing myself in the relative viewpoint of environmental justice in urban development. This research is designed in a qualitative way, using the methodology of directed qualitative content analysis with the aim of understanding the multiple dimensions of the strategy and its outcomes. This is thus an exploratory research48 adopting the lenses of environmental justice, as defined in the theoretical framework (see chapter 2), to look at the city of Paris and its development. Since the data are collected and analyzed thanks to the theoretical framework, conceptual scheme and key concepts, this research can be qualified as deductive, although inductive results are not completely excluded, as we shall see in the following sections. Furthermore, the research was conducted mainly remotely, for multiple reasons including first and foremost the Covid pandemic reducing the capacity of movement and the safety of doing a fieldwork research.

46 Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods, 4th Edition (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.

47 T.M. (2014). Applicability of Constructivist Theory in Qualitative Educational Research. University of South Africa

48 Stebbins, R. (2001). Exploratory Research in the Social Sciences


Data Collection

The first round of data collection is based on a primary type of data, namely, the Paris Resilience Strategy (PRS) itself. The PRS is a document of 132 pages long, issued by the municipality of Paris in June 201749. It was planned since the beginning of the research design to undertake two separate rounds of data collection, the second depending on the first. Indeed, the idea was to first study and analyze the PRS and, after having the results and first interpretations of that analysis in mind, interview an heterogenous body of actors related to the strategy. Those interviews would have targeted different type of stakeholders engaged in climate change adaptation in the city. The interviews of government officials and more specifically officials of the municipality of Paris, were significantly important for the analysis.

Unfortunately, the solicitation of participants falling in that category was not successful. This is mainly related to the fact that the French presidential election took place in April 2022 and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, was applying, hence the busyness of the municipality and its representants in that period. Consequently, I had to adapt the second round of data collection and include other documents and sources to be able to understand the real-life implications of the strategy. Indeed, the PRS being a policy document, it is not representative of the reality.

To gather the additional data, I came back to my conceptual scheme (see chapter 2) and key concepts and dove into the first round of analysis. As explained in Chapter 2, the research uses distributive justice and procedural justice as lenses to understand the fairness of the strategy, especially towards different vulnerabilities. I realized that I thus needed to collect data informing on the spatial distribution of those vulnerabilities within the city. Moreover, I tried to find recent, updated information on the strategy, with the aim of understanding its progress throughout the years, and to see what concrete actions or dynamics have been carried out.

Unfortunately, I ended up realizing that the documentation on the strategy itself was quasi- inexistant after 2018 – which was a finding in itself – so I had to find alternative data. To do so, it was necessary to look at the actions more specifically. Since the PRS is divided in 35 actions, I selected the ones presenting strong environmental justice implications (see chapter 5), thus relevant for this research and the analysis. Then, I searched for the progress of those actions in recent years, looking at different internet sources such as the website of the municipality or newspaper articles. This is when I realized that most actions lacked follow-up

49 The Paris Resilience Strategy. Municipality of Paris. (2017, June)


information. This narrowed down my selection of action and related data to the ones having enough information to carry out an in-depth analysis.

In that regard, ten documents of different origins were added to the document analysis, among which three maps were used. Finally, one 45 minutes interview was done: I was able to interview Ancelin Moulherat, a Parisian and environmental activist since his young age (first engaged when he was 15 years old) and working for different climate associations, and product owner of the group NOÉ, an association for the defense of the environment. The interview was done in French, on the 5th of April 2022, through the platform google meet. The interview was designed in a semi-structured way and was recorded. The participant gave his explicit, written consent by email to use the data un-anonymously only for the purpose of this research. The prepared questions can be found in appendix.

Below is detailed the list of data used in this research with their description:

- the Paris Resilience Strategy (PRS)50

- Interview of Sebastien Maire, chief officer of the strategy, by the press (YouTube video and its transcription)51: collected to get a better understanding of the implications of the strategy itself.

- The interview of Ancelin Moulherat that I designed and undertook (45 minutes)52 - “Paris and the 100RC”: English press article written by Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of

Paris: selected because it replaces being able to interview her, and the wording and discourse she uses is quite interesting, as the analysis shall explain.53

- "Call for proposal for the Reinventing Paris competition": PDF document detailing the rules for a competition introduced by one of the actions of the PRS54

- Website of the municipality of Paris: collected as it gives further information on the implementation of certain action, and also showed the lack of information in some cases.55

- INSEE (national statical institute) demographic statistics of Paris per neighborhood.56

50 The Paris Resilience Strategy. Municipality of Paris. (2017, June)

51 Qu’est-ce qu’une ville résiliente ? La stratégie de résilience de Paris - S. MAIRE.

52 interview of Ancelin Moulherat

53 Cities, R. (2018, May 16). Paris and 100RC: The City of Light Embraces Resilience. Medium.

54 Appel à projets urbains innovants. (2018). Mairie de Paris

55, site officiel de la Ville de Paris. (2022).

56 Insee, RP 2011, Revenus fiscaux localisés, CNAF. Calcul : Céreq-ESO CNRS, Caen.


- Map of the ten first "oases" implemented in the city: selected because shows the spatial distribution of a specific action of the PRS57

- INSEE map of the socio-professional categories of the different neighborhoods58 - Map of the social deprivation of the Greater Paris59

Now that the reader is aware of the process employed to collect the data that were used in this research, I will detail how the analysis of those data was carried out.

Data Analysis

The data analysis of this research falls under the scope of the directed qualitative content analysis methodology. As Bryman describes, "content analysis is an approach to the analysis of documents and texts (which may be printed or visual) that seeks to quantify content in terms of predetermined categories and in a systematic and replicable manner."60 Content analysis is normally used to interpret textual data. Since almost all of the data used in this research, apart from the maps, are texts and documents, and that the theoretical framework gave a defined and precise reading grid for analysis, directed content analysis seemed to be the most suitable approach. The predetermined categories here are the codes, that are deducted from the theory and conceptual scheme. Indeed, when looking at the PRS through the lenses of environmental justice, some key concepts were identified. Those key concepts can be used as a framework and a conceptualization to give meaning to the content of the data, to categorize this content.

Furthermore, the fact that this categorization is theory-related is the reason why I am speaking of directed content analysis, the analysis is directed by the theory.

This categorization is done, during the analysis, by applying codes. Codes, according to Miles and Huberman "are tags or labels for assigning units of meaning"61. In other words, when coding, the researcher attributes a name, a title (that can be a category, a theme), to a quote (that can be a word, a sentence, a paragraph, an image…). There are different ways of applying content analysis but in the end, it is always a way of 'sorting out' the data and consequently providing a general overview of the occurrence of categories in the data. As for the coding strategy, I am personally following the one suggested by Hsieh and Shannon, which "consists

57 Les cours Oasis. (2019). Ville de Paris

58 Une mosaïque sociale propre à Paris - Insee Analyses Ile-de-France - 53. (2017). INSEE

59 Antolinos-Basso, D., Blanc, N., Chiche, J., & Paddeu, F. (2020). S’engager pour l’environnement dans le Grand Paris : territoires, politiques et inégalités

60 Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods, 4th Edition

61 Miles, M. B., Huberman, M. A., & Saldana, J. (2019). Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook


of reading textual data and highlighting those parts of the text that, on first impression, appeared to be related to the predetermined codes dictated by a theory or prior research findings"62. Directed content analysis presents multiple relevant advantages here. It is a method that is accessible, transparent, and flexible. It is transparent because the researcher needs to apply a systematic coding methodology; flexible because the analysis can be deductive, inductive, or both, and the categorization can be manifest or latent. "Manifest content is evidence that is directly seen such as the words in an interview. Latent content refers to the underlying meaning of content such as the interpretation of an interview"63. More broadly, it allows the possibility to organize a significant amount of text or information into concepts.

In order to be objective and systematic, it is important to define the codes used in the analysis beforehand. Consequently, table 1 presents a list of codes used and their definitions:

Table 1:

Code Name Code definition Type of

identification Adaptation when the quotes addresses change in the

structures and/or behaviors to cope with climate change


Distributive Justice when both codes rights and responsibilities can be applied to the same quote

Deductive DJ- Responsibilities code related to distributive justice, when people

or groups of people are made accountable.

Deductive DJ- Rights code related to distributive justice, when the

rights of people or groups of people are identified


Governance when the quote addresses decision-making processes

Deductive Procedural Justice when the three codes starting by "PJ" can be

applied to the same quote

Deductive PJ- Inclusion code related to procedural justice, when a wide

range of people of groups of people are included and addressed in governance processes


PJ- Participation code related to procedural justice, when different people or group of people are invited to take part in the processes


PJ- Legitimacy code related to procedural justice, when the statement or action is validated by external, reliable information


62 Assarroudi, A., Heshmati Nabavi, F., Armat, M. R., Ebadi, A., & Vaismoradi, M. (2018). Directed qualitative content analysis: the description and elaboration of its underpinning methods and data analysis process

63 Darrin. (2017, July 22). Content Analysis In Qualitative Research. Educational Research Techniques


Resilience when the quote addresses resilience explicitly or implicitly, i.e., when it addresses the capacity to withstand chocs.


Environmental Justice explicit name, when quotes are talking about environmental justice, explicitly or implicitly

Deductive EJ- Solutions when the quotes addressed what can be done or

have been done to create more environmental justice


EJ- Winners when the quotes identified, implicitly or explicitly, people or groups of people that undertook positive externalities


EJ- Losers when the quotes identified, implicitly or explicitly, people or groups of people that undertook negative externalities


Social dimension when the quote addresses social dimension, cohesion and inequalities (outside of DJ)

Inductive Vulnerabilities when the quote identifies vulnerabilities to

climate change (both of individuals and the city

Deductive Criticism when the quote addresses criticism of the PRS

and more broadly environmental injustices


Since almost systematically, the category, the theme in which a certain quotation would fit would often not be explicit, not manifest, the content can be broadly defined as latent. This means that interpretation is necessary to attribute code(s) to a quote. Most of the codes were identified before starting the analysis, but some appeared inductively as their necessity became more obvious throughout the analysis. For example, Codes like "Criticisms" or "EJ- Solutions"

inductively appeared later in the analysis, after adding the second round of data collection.

The coding of data was carried out using the qualitative data analysis software ATLAS.ti. As explained by Miles and Huberman, "Codes are usually attached to chunks of varying size. Those might be words, phrases, sentences or even whole paragraphs."64 When selecting a quote, so a sentence or a paragraph, I had in mind the conceptual scheme and was applying the key concepts each time I was reading a part that would echo one or multiple of them. Yet sometimes, a striking quote would not find its place in those structured key concepts, hence the use of inductive codes. A quote, in this analysis, can have an unlimited number of codes. For the sake of explanation, figure 1 shows an example of a segment presenting multiple relevant codes and shall describe further the methodology used.

64 Miles, M. B., Huberman, M. A., & Saldana, J. (2019). Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook


Figure 2:

The first screenshot shows the quotation and attached codes in the document, and the second show the code manager. Here you can see that four code have been applied to the same quotation. The paragraph talks about a greening permit available for citizens. This quote highlights the fact that it is based on voluntary participation, hence the clear need of attaching the code "PJ- Participation". Yet, the fact that this greening permit is accessible to everyone with the only requirement of being Parisian made me also attach the code "PJ- Inclusion" as a whole population, regardless of differences, is included. Moreover, the quote also speaks of civic duty, and implies that citizens of Paris are responsible to take actions regarding the development of green spaces in their city, hence the code "DJ- Responsibility". Finally, since this quote cumulates procedural justice and distributive justice related codes, and concerns the development of green spaces, which are environmental goods, the code "Environmental Justice" has also been applied.

Above that, it is important to mention that some codes, like Distributive Justice and Procedural Justice, were less used that the others since they were identifying groups of codes and needed to cumulate multiple codes to be applicable. Yet, I still wanted to keep them in the analysis them to be able to visualize the relationships between codes, as we can see in the following network, presented in Figure 3. This figure shows the coherence between the coding structure and the articulation of key concepts, graphically represented in chapter 2 (see chapter 2).

To conclude this data analysis description, it should be noted that aside of coding, notes and thoughts have been written down throughout the whole analysis process. I made use of the ATLAS.ti memos option to write notes when considering a precise quote and used the web


application Notion to write down more general thoughts while classifying them in different subpages associated with thesis chapters. This was useful as it allowed me to not forget interpretations or interesting thoughts throughout the thesis writing process. Besides, it also conveniently matched those thoughts to the content related, whether it was a quote in ATLAS.ti or a more abstract, thematic consideration in Notion.

Figure 3:

Methodological Reflections

Quality of the research and limitations

The idea of this research was to get a better understanding of how environmental justice can be shaped in urban settings, using the city of Paris as a case study. The city of Paris is an everlasting metropolis, at the core of climate negotiation, notably since 2016 and the Paris agreement. This makes Paris a legitimate field for a case study with environmental justice lenses. Indeed, Paris, by welcoming ground-breaking international climate negotiations is taking a leading role in the matter. Moreover, it is also a city that is not exempt of social inequalities and climate threats, as we shall see further (see chapter 4). The quality criteria of


this research are assessed based on the "Social Research method" manual written by Bryman65 and an article entitled "How to… assess the quality of qualitative research"66. I am using the lenses of Guba and Lincoln to assess the quality, as described in the manual of Bryman.


The trustworthiness of a research is based on different sub-criterions, namely transferability, credibility, dependability, and confirmability. I shall describe how my research meet or fails to meet the criteria in more depth.

Transferability: the transferability of the research lies on the thick description and in- depth, detailed elucidation of the methodology used for the design as much as for the data collection and analysis. The analysis being structured thanks to the theory, it has been carried out thoroughly, yet still letting the data speak for themselves by allowing inductive codes to appear without stepping out of the frame designed by the conceptualization and operationalization. Moreover, the methodology based on an environmental justice framework and a content analysis of the data is transferable to other contexts, for example the urban development of other metropolises.

Credibility: The credibility of this research lies in the multiplicity of data collections and the thorough method of analysis strengthening the coherence of this research. The analysis of the strategy being complemented by a varied range of other data allows for nuance. The interview of an environmental activist giving critical thinking and constructive criticism towards the strategy is providing a more nuanced counter-perspective to the politicized discourse used the policy document. Moreover, the use of maps, new articles and website screenshot comes to add even more diversity and thus credibility. Yet, the research presents a limitation here: it was originally planned to interview the municipality of Paris, notably to counterbalance the first interview and bring an opposite view. Both interviews would have presented biases for the researcher to acknowledge, yet combined, they allowed for more nuance. Unfortunately, reaching out to the municipality did not result in an interview. However, using an article written by the mayor of Paris was collected to compensate for not being able to interview someone of the municipality. Although it has less spontaneity and authenticity as it is thoughtful writing for a public publication, it still gives a glance of how the mayor describes

65 Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods, 4th Edition

66 Stenfors, T., Kajamaa, A., & Bennett, D. (2020). How to . . . assess the quality of qualitative research. The Clinical Teacher




Related subjects :