Glossary of Land Use Terms

This page is a companion glossary to the Lincoln Institute StoryMap Local “Urban Climate Action: Examples from around the World

Note: The sources of definitions are noted and linked after each defintion.

Adaptation: Adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects or impacts (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)

Adaptive Capacity: The combination of the strengths, attributes, and resources available to an individual, community, society, or organization that can be used to prepare for and undertake actions to reduce adverse impacts, moderate harm, or exploit beneficial opportunities (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

Carbon Sequestration: Carbon dioxide is the most commonly produced greenhouse gas. Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change (United States Geological Survey)

Carbon Sinks: Anything that absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it releases (Fern)

Ecosystem Services: Commonly defined as the benefits people receive from ecosystems

Environmental Justice: The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies (Environmental Protection Agency)

Green Infrastructure: Includes techniques, such as permeable pavements and green roofs, to both capture rainfall and retain it on site, keeping it out of the stormwater system (Georgetown Climate Center)

Gray Infrastructure: Refers to structures such as dams, seawalls, roads, pipes or water treatment plants (Conservation International).

Mitigation: Processes that can reduce the amount and speed of future climate change by reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases or removing them from the atmosphere (U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit)

Resilience: Ability of a system and its component parts to anticipate, absorb, accommodate, or recover from the effects of a hazardous event in a timely and efficient manner, including through ensuring the preservation, restoration, or improvement of its essential basic structures and functions (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

Sustainable Low-carbon Transport: A strategy to provide economically viable infrastructure and operation that offers safe and secure access for both persons and goods whilst reducing short- and long-term negative impact on the local and global environment (Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel)

Urban Green Space: Green spaces such as parks and sports fields as well as woods and natural meadows, wetlands or other ecosystems, represent a fundamental component of any urban ecosystem. Green urban areas facilitate physical activity and relaxation and form a refuge from noise. Urban parks and gardens play a critical role in cooling cities, and also provide safe routes for walking and cycling for transport purposes as well as sites for physical activity, social interaction and for recreation (World Health Organization)

Urban Heat Islands: The relative warmth of a city compared with surrounding rural areas, associated with changes in runoff, the concrete jungle effects on heat retention, changes in surface albedo, changes in pollution and aerosols, and so on (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

Weatherization: The process of increasing the energy efficiency of a home and improving health and safety conditions for its occupants (South Central Community Action Program)