Dr. Miriam Solis presenting with community partner, Eco Rise's Green Building Academy.
My ongoing research projects examine how infrastructure improvement plans incorporate and pursue social equity goals. My main project focuses on the rebuilding and redesign of wastewater treatment plants. The Clean Water Act catalyzed the building or expansion of treatment plants across the United States. These plants were good for the environment but were toxic hazards in the Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities where they were sited. As many of these plants are due for repair, I query whether cities can rebuild them in socially just ways. In separate projects, I am investigating the equity implications of water meters and the use of autonomous robots.
A second line of research focuses on public and private planning organizations as sites of needed change. I am building on the idea that organizational rules and norms are racialized by identifying how these inner-workings hamper progressive urban planning initiatives. Green building is one sector where many of these dynamics are at play. In response to this problem, EcoRise and I have teamed up on a three year, NOAA-funded initiative to engage youth in green career pathways. We are using a participatory action research approach to generate insights on how environmental education and work-based learning can advance climate justice.