Fellow Story

Municipal finance shapes urban climate action and justice

Claudia Diezmartínez and Anne Short co-authored a recent study in Nature Climate Change exploring how city funding impacts which local climate projects cities pursue, and who benefits.

“What happens in the budget office or with people who are making decisions about municipal bonds, all of those things are very opaque,” lead author and 2023 Switzer Fellow Diezmartínez told Smart Cities Dive.

They interviewed 34 municipal officials and climate and justice experts to discover “how municipal financial decisions and budgetary practices are shaping how, when and for whom cities are responding to climate change.”  The paper “demonstrates how public spending decisions are intertwined with the logics of debt financing and examines the impacts of these relationships on cities’ climate investments. They also “showcase the structuring impacts of finance on climate action and the built environment, and introduce pathways through which climate and justice considerations are already being integrated into, and potentially transforming, municipal finance in the United States.”

Read a summary of the paper in the Smart Cities Dive story, and access a free copy of the Nature article here