Beat the Heat Hunting Park: A Community Heat Relief Plan

Climate Change is here and it’s impacts are both vast and inequitable. Did you know that some neighborhoods in Philadelphia are over 22 degrees hotter than others and that people of color and poor people are more likely to live in these neighborhoods? This is not by coincidence—this is a direct result of decades of inhuman land use and development practices (i.e allowing for toxic industrial uses to be located adjacent to homes, schools, and health centers) combined with disinvestment in trees/green space and predatory lending in historically redlined neighborhoods. These institutional practices have led to some neighborhoods (i.e. Hunting Park, Cobbs Creek, Strawberry Mansion, Nicetown/Tioga, Point Breeze, etc) being characterized by more pavement and darker surfaces, fewer trees and green space, and an older housing stock that has not had the chance to be weatherized or updated.

Over the last year I worked alongside an incredible team of residents, community leaders, and City agencies to begin to address these inequities in Hunting Park. The planning effort included building on the legacy of resident-led organizing and environmental advocacy and centering local leadership, histories, and experiences through processes of engaged listening, surveys, art-making, leadership training, dance parties, design workshops, faith-based organizing, etc. We talked to over 600 people to understand how heat impacts their lives and built a plan for change and transformation together.

As society continues to collapse and the climate crisis worsens, I know that our ability to imagine and build something different, starting with our relationships with each other, will be key for our survival as a species. We are not separate from nature—caring for one another is caring for the environment.


PGM ONE is an affinity space for 350+ Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) from all over the US to share, learn, collaborate, heal, build community, and live out their vision for racial equity in environmentalism. It is a project that came out of the call for a space to move the conversation about equity, inclusion, and justice forward by amplifying and centering the lived experiences and leadership of BIPOC in the environmental and outdoor movements.


Lived Experiences of “Regeneration” in Colindale, London

Under the pressure of a growing citywide housing crisis, Outer London suburbs like Colindale are undergoing massive regeneration and housing development. Given that Colindale is seven years into the implementation of its regeneration plan, it is an important moment to capture some of the lived experiences of a neighborhood in transition. What happens in the interim? What are the different experiences of integration and isolation? Who moves on and who stays? How does the uncertainty and change impact individuals and community life?

Made for GY454 Urban Policy and Planning Course, LSE RUPS

Music by: Noah Teachey



The Avarna Group works towards a more socially and environmentally just world by providing insights, resources, and support around justice, equity, inclusion, and diversity in environmental and outdoor organizations. We provide online and in-person workshops, implementation planning, assessments, toolkits, and a free online resource database.