Beyond Climate Change: A urban planning play about environmental (in)justice


Beyond Climate Change is a play that captures unsettling realities about urban planning, community displacement, social and environmental (in)justice. It also touches upon an array of social topics including race, immigration, and gender. The play is about a fictitious community called Beechwood that will soon face a freeway expansion wherein the current highway will expand from three lanes to six. To stop the expansion, a group of community members organize to speak up against the proposed city’s plan. On one hand, this expansion will displace many families. On the other hand, it will bring jobs for the community. Will city council vote for or against the freeway expansion? What will this mean for the Beechwood community, who is predominately African American, Latino, and working class?

This play that was produced in 2018 by PhD candidates Zayda Sorrell-Medina and Michelle E. Zuñiga from the University of California, Irvine Urban Planning and Public Policy in collaboration with artists, students, youth and organizers from Pittsburgh, PA. It is a project of Yemaya Productions funded by UCI Blum Center for Poverty and Alleviation.

This video can be used as a learning tool for instructors. Here is a reflection activity developed by PhD student Zayda Sorrell-Medina:


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