Double exposure in the sunbelt: The sociospatial distribution of vulnerability in Phoenix, Arizona

Juan Declet Barreto, Michelle Hegmon, Lisa Meierotto, Abigail York

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

23 Scopus citations


The Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area’s relentless pursuit of urban growth for more than a century has produced a durable racialized landscape, with minorities concentrated in an environmentally degraded urban core and a largely white and relatively privileged population in the expanding zone of peripheral suburbs. As suburbanization has marched outward, new and different forms of environmental insecurity are appearing. While vulnerable people in the central city are exposed to a concentration of industrial hazards and victimized by the construction of transportation infrastructure, some peripheral populations face an emergent double exposure to both an imminent water resource shortfall as a result of regional climate change and localized effects of the crisis of finance capital and resultant foreclosures and plunging home values. We explore how historic sociospatial and political economic processes produced the current landscape of environmental injustice in the urban core and led to suburban expansion and the foreclosure crisis and how predicted climate change in the West has begun to reconfigure existing patterns of environmental risk and security due to its effects on water resource availability. Through an integration of these domains, we analyze the shifting patterns of sociospatial vulnerability and extend the conception of environmental injustice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUrbanization and Sustainability
Subtitle of host publicationLinking Urban Ecology, Environmental Justice and Global Environmental Change
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789400756663
ISBN (Print)9789400756656
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Environmental injustice
  • Hazards
  • Phoenix
  • Risk
  • Security
  • Urban growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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