Cities@Tufts: Unequal Protection Revisited with Marccus Hendricks

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This talk will explore: Planning for Environmental Justice, Hazard Vulnerability, and Critical Infrastructure in Communities of Color.

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The impact of hazard exposures such as stormwater runoff is rarely evenly felt across a community. Neighborhoods of color, particularly of low-wealth, will often face worse stormwater problems especially in the era of climate change with more frequent and intense stormwater runoff. Dr. Marccus Hendricks will discuss the equity and environmental justice issues related to stormwater infrastructure planning that result in vulnerable systems leading to everyday challenges in stormwater and more extreme urban flooding.

Specifically, he will examine conceptual frameworks and contextualize what it means for physical systems to operate in a social world. He will also describe several ongoing studies where he investigates the inventory, condition, capacity, and distribution patterns of stormwater systems, along the lines of race, ethnicity, and income, at the neighborhood-level.

Furthermore, as part of ongoing resilience efforts for catastrophic flood events, he will discuss opportunities at “leveling the landscape” in marginalized areas by planning for adaptations that integrate justice and participation into the redevelopment of community spaces.

About the presenter

Marccus D. Hendricks is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and the Director of the Stormwater Infrastructure Resilience and Justice (SIRJ) Lab at the University of Maryland. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Science and a Master of Public Health, both from Texas A&M University.

To date, he has primarily worked to understand how social processes and development patterns create hazardous human-built environments, vulnerable infrastructure, and the related risks in urban stormwater management and flooding.

Other work has focused on technological risks, namely fertilizer explosions, and cascading events such as wet-weather events that overwhelm sanitary sewers and cause contamination, overflows, and household backups. His work emphasizes participation and action that uses methods including photography, visual inspection and environmental sampling.

Hendricks has received two early-career awards from both the National Academies of Science Gulf Research Program and The JPB Environmental Health Fellows Program at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. More recently, he was named as a 2021 “Fixer” by the media company Grist for their annual Grist 50 Fixer list and has been appointed to Springer Nature’s US Research Advisory Council, the U.S. EPA’s Science Advisory Board, and as an author on the human social systems chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment.

This event is part of a special 11-session event series hosted by professor Julian Agyeman and Cities@Tufts and sponsored by Tufts University and The Kresge Foundation with media partner

More information can be found here:

Limited space is available. Pre-registration is highly encouraged.

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Cities@Tufts is a cross-disciplinary academic initiative that recognizes Tufts University as a leader in urban studies, urban planning, and sustainability issues. Anchored by the department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, it aims to highlight our impressive contributions in community strategy, civic democracy, ethnographic research, urban and community health, food justice and security, urban politics and economics, social inequalities, and GIS. Cities@Tufts works with students, academics, policymakers and planners, businesses, and community stakeholders to develop cross-disciplinary and cross-sector collaborative and community-based research. We aim to develop solutions to today’s urban challenges and opportunities based not on presupposed notions but on being critical: first asking the right questions.

Shareable is an award-winning nonprofit media outlet, action network, and consultancy. Our mission is to empower communities to share for a more resilient, equitable, and joyful world. We inspire social change by publishing solutions-based journalism, running campaigns, and helping our consulting clients achieve their goals through sharing. For more information visit

The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. For more information visit

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