Fellow, Climate Assessment for the Southwest
Lucas Belury (he/him/el) is a geography PhD student at the University of Arizona interested in centering the lived experience of communities on the margins. His research projects include environmental racism along the US-Mexico border, knowledge co-production, and queer archival research in South Texas. He has published articles on urban informality, environmental justice, and race equity. His current work utilizes the Latinx cultural concept of testimonios, or testimonies, to elevate underprivileged voices and move the needle on (in)equity and (in)justice.
Project Title: Co-Producing Flood Justice in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas
Abstract: Flooding is a critical threat in the US-Mexico borderlands perpetuated by a lack of high quality, granular flood data. Colonias, informal, low-income, and Mexican and Mexican American communities along the US-Mexico border, are particularly susceptible to damaging floods due to a legacy of structural racism that biases flood mitigation investment and exacerbates inequitable recovery. To challenge flood injustice and environmental racism in the borderlands I have co-conceived a participatory research project with community-based organizations. This research project blends satellite-based flood maps with the expertise of local stakeholders to co-produce a community-validated database of flood events. This open access flood database fills a critical data gap by empowering community-based organizations to challenge flood injustice through geospatial data.