Land Use, Urban and Regional Planning

Land Use, Urban and Regional Planning
  1. Build homes, jobs, stores, parks, and schools, close to each other so individuals can  walk, bike, use public transit, or drive shorter distances.
  2. Environmental justice activists argue that over 255 tons of toxic ash has been put in our waterways and this is a environmental hazard.
  3. People of color communities  face a  legacy of racially-biased zoning and land use planning that  create  patterns of inequality for generations.
  4. In 1990, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality, the first environmental justice textbook,  documented that environmental vulnerability mapped closely with Jim Crow housing segregation and discriminatory zoning and land use practices.
  5. Environmental vulnerability maps closely with race. Many of the nation’s environmental disparities have their roots in institutional racism and discriminatory zoning and land use practices.
  6. Four decades after Bean and the Houston waste study, researchers have found environmental injustice maps closely with Jim Crow housing segregation, bias decision making, and discriminatory zoning and land use practices. America is segregated and so is pollution. The equity lens is a useful frame for understanding the intersectionality of environmental, climate, economic and racial justice issues in the United States.  
  7. Diverse black organizations—including the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, black colleges and universities, grassroots groups, labor, faith organizations, entertainers, youth and students, and a host of other black organizations—are calling for environmental, climate, economic, energy and justice.
  8. One in every 11 U.S. public schools, serving roughly 4.4 million students, lie within 500 feet of highways, truck routes and other roads with significant traffic; 15 percent of schools where more than three-quarters of the students are racial or ethnic minorities are located near a busy road, compared with just 4 percent of schools where the demographics are reversed.
  9. Lack of zoning and poor land use planning created a pollution nightmare for children living along the petrochemical corridor.
  10. A major climate justice question in educating these vulnerable populations and identifying as their location relative to zones and designing effective adaptation, mitigation, and emergency management strategies.
  11. Climate education is seen as a major tool to support disaster risk reduction including preparedness for response and recovery and longer-term adaptation in those most vulnerable and highly impacted areas.
  12. In Metro Houston, more than 800,000 students at 1,300 area schools are inside chemical  danger zones, and many of them go to school within multiple danger zones.

Environmental justice is in headline news  on a regular basis, that is registering on the radar of the media, green groups, civil rights, human rights and racial justice organizations, social media networks, academic consortia, educational institutions, and at least one of the major political parties.      

The environmental justice movement is much stronger in 2021 because of new and invigorated rallying calls for racial justice with the rise of Black Lives Matter and after the police killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other black people, and intergenerational protests during the Summer of 2020.

The protests were about justice:  criminal justice, environmental justice, health justice, economic justice, energy justice, food and water justice, transportation justice—all viewed through an overarching racial justice lens.

Environmental justice has been given an new sense of urgency and visibility at the highest level of government (Biden-Harris Administration).

Government Buyouts and Managed Retreat

Flood relocation programs are more disruptive for homeowners in people of color communities than for homeowners in white or affluent neighborhoods. Homeowners from more privileged neighborhoods resettle closer to both their flood prone homes and to one another, thus helping to preserve the social as well as economic value of home; whereas, homeowners from less privileged areas end up farther away from both.  residents moving from a neighborhood where buyout prices average $80,000 end up three times farther from their original home than those moving from a neighborhood where buyout prices averaged $280,000, and they end up nearly twice as far from neighbors resettling through the same program. Elliott et al (2021)