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Lecture 10

lecture 10

Course Code
Susannah Bunce

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L10 - Environmental Justice in Cities
* environmental justice - for people to be engaged in a clean physical immediate
- inequitable environmental burden placed on social groups such as 'visible minorities',
women, and low-income citizens
* emerged showing an association between poor environmental areas and groups that are
- argument that ethnicity and social class are factors where toxic sites (unwanted land use)
are located in both cities and rural areas
* things/items that affect the living standard, contribute negatively to environmental
quality, low land values -- not very nice places to live
- concern about achieving justice for people negatively affected by environmental problems
due to their social status (ability to access clean living environment)
- "Race and ethnicity [and class] intertwine with issues of power and access to power to
produce an uneven experience of environmental equality" (Benton-Short and Rennie Short,
2008, 216)
-- powerlessness produces an uneven development
- spatialization of ethnicity and income:
- poor and ethnic communities located in less desirable areas (new immigrants, low
- affluent citizens have influential power (choices to choose from)
* Malvern, J&F, Orton Park -- relation between poor income and poor environmental quality
- concerns about need for environmental justice around race and class began in United
states in 1980s
Æ social movement
- Warren County land fill dispute:
- 1982 when North Carolina selected rural township where 70% of residents were
African-American to host a hazardous landfill
Æ at first was dumped illegally, then established site - 7ft above water table when
supposed to be 50ft -- eventually closed after protests
- power, governments can site unwanted landfills without the input of citizens
- Commission for Racial Justice:
- 1987, "Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States"
-- correlated research of waste sites and low income residents
- lack of ability to access land to good environments
- low resistance to unwanted land use (political/social/economic capital)
- coined the term environmental racism to refer to the intentional selection of
racialized communities for location of waste disposal sites
- economic challenges Æ cannot afford best use/quality of land
- focuses on the social side of environmental problems, human rights in relation to the
natural environment
- rights to clean air infringed
- public debate about Locally Unwanted Land Uses (LULUs) -- planning term, considered to
have negative impacts on people's health and property values [industries, airports, waste
disposal sites, subways]
- location of waste disposal sites constrained by NIMBY ('not in my backyard') efforts to
certain communities
-- happens when neighbours start to talk to each other
Case Examples:
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