Double Exposure in the Sunbelt: The Sociospatial Distribution of Vulnerability in Phoenix, Arizona

  • Bob BolinEmail author
  • Juan Declet Barreto
  • Michelle Hegmon
  • Lisa Meierotto
  • Abigail York
Part of the Human-Environment Interactions book series (HUEN, volume 3)


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.


Urban growth Phoenix Hazards Environmental injustice Risk Security 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bob Bolin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Juan Declet Barreto
    • 1
  • Michelle Hegmon
    • 1
  • Lisa Meierotto
    • 2
  • Abigail York
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Human Evolution and Social ChangeArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyCollege of IdahoCaldwellUSA

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