“Fight or Flight? Rethinking the Urban Footprint is a four-part series that will address how the urgency of climate change requires design professionals to rethink the built environment. Rising seas, extreme heat, drought, and wildfires are among the environmental stressors that will continue to affect communities throughout the United States and the world. We are now confronted with the urgent need of creating relocation strategies for individual households, communities, and cities.  

As architects, planners, landscape architects, and related professionals, it is our ethical responsibility to integrate thinking about relocation into our practices. The economic, social, and environmental impacts associated with climate migration and relocation will be a large part of this conversation, along with equity and environmental justice. We recognize that it is incumbent upon us to find appropriate pathways forward as swiftly as possible. To that end, this series is organized into four sessions: 

Overcoming the Crisis of Climate Grief
Extreme weather and dire reports on the health of our planet are intensifying negative mental health effects of climate change on individuals and communities. With scientific experts and newscasters regularly using terms like “catastrophic,” “point of no return,” and “crisis,” people suffering from the emotional toll of climate change are being recognized as experiencing a form of trauma. This climate grief has become even more acute in 2020, as the vulnerabilities of societies, economies, and environments have been laid bare on a global scale.

This session will address the complex psychological and mental health effects of climate change, and how we can acknowledge this underappreciated impact of the climate crisis to support decision-making and empower action at individual, community, and global scales.