Built Environment

The built environment includes human-made or modified landscapes, structures, and infrastructure systems that bring together people, services, and economic activities. This chapter focuses on the built environment found in and around cities and suburbs across the country, where most Americans live and work. Cities and urban areas are also a key part of the country’s culture, nature, and historical heritage. The choices that we make today in cities, suburbs, and the built environment to address climate change will affect the livelihoods, well-being, and quality of life for all Americans in the future.

    Key points:

  • Urban Areas Are Major Drivers of Climate Change
  • Attributes of the Built Environment Exacerbate Climate Impacts, Risks, and Vulnerabilities
  • Urban Environments Create Opportunities for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
  • Community-Led Actions Signal a Shift Toward Equitable Climate Governance

View the Built Environment, Urban Systems, and Cities chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment »


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Banner Image Credit

Downtown Minneapolis. m01229 (adjusted levels), CC BY 2.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/, via Flickr

Last modified
17 November 2023 - 12:06pm