This Monday’s West Michigan Climate Resiliency Conference will open its afternoon plenary sessions with a presentation from the lead author of the US Green Building Council’s Climate Resiliency Study. Her presentation will introduce participants to the concept of vulnerability assessments and how their organizations should evaluate potential climate-related impacts. Individuals only interested in this talk may attend without registering for the full conference, space permitting.
Larissa Larsen is an associate professor in the Urban and Regional Planning Program at the University of Michigan. She teaches graduate classes in environmental planning, land use planning, and urban design theory. She regularly oversees graduate community-based capstone projects in Detroit neighborhoods. Larissa is the PhD Coordinator for the Urban and Regional Planning Program and the Physical Planning and Design Concentration Coordinator for the Master of Urban Planning Program. Larissa holds an appointment in the School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Larissa’s research focuses on identifying environmental inequities in the built environment and advancing issues of urban sustainability and social justice. Some of her past research has examined urban heat islands, water consumption, and neighborhood mobilization against environmental problems. Most of her current work involves climate adaptation planning and urban heat island studies. In the past year, she and her students worked with the US Green Building Council to write a publication entitled, Green Building and Climate Resilience. Working with five other scholars on campus and the Graham Institute, Larissa is involved in a multi-year project investigating how the changing climate will impact cities in the Great Lakes Region and how planning can enhance their resilience.
“When you anticipate how the climate might be changing in the next 50 to 100 years in the life of buildings, you may reorder your priorities for green building strategies,” Larsen says. “You may say, ‘this now becomes really important.’ ”
The USGBC report divided strategies into two categories: “no regrets” and “resilient.”
“When we were coming up with the most inclusive list we could [develop], we started to notice that some were just good practices, no matter what,” Larsen says. “We thought by calling them out in that way—that there are ‘no regret’ strategies and ‘resilient’ strategies—it helps to let people realize the number of things they could do and not even really, if they didn’t want to, call them responses to climate.” The resilient strategies, on the other hand, are designed to absorb disturbances while maintaining the building’s integrity.