Black feminism and radical planning: New directions for disaster planning research

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72 Scopus citations


After Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the United States’ Gulf Coast, conversations about flooding became focused on the interconnections between so-called “natural” disasters, poverty, gender and race. Although research has long shown that women, people of color and low-income communities are more vulnerable to natural hazards, the disproportionate effects of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent federal and state disaster response efforts forced the national spotlight on the institutional and systemic nature of racism, classism and sexism. Using Black feminism and radical planning theory, two lenses that provides a comprehensive framework for understanding racism, classism and sexism, this article examines the concept and literature of social vulnerability. I argue while social vulnerability research has made significant contributions to planners’ understandings of disasters and inequity, it fails to center community knowledge, identify intersectional oppressions and name them as such and encourage community activism, all of which are keys to making meaningful change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-39
Number of pages16
JournalPlanning Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • Black feminism
  • disasters
  • environmental justice
  • feminism
  • social vulnerability
  • urban planning


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