Environmental justice: cities

Isabelle Anguelovski
Monday 26th June, 12.00-13.30, ICTA-UAB

Much of the extensive early literature on urban EJ examined inequities in exposure to contamination and health risks, highlighting that low-income and minority groups disproportionally suffer from toxic pollution or exposure. Recent studies have also demonstrated the unequal access by race and class to environmental goods, such as healthy and affordable food, green space, or efficient public transportation systems. However, today, urban environmental justice activism is at a crossroads. As marginalized neighborhoods benefit from cleanup and environmental amenities often brought by municipal sustainability planning, recent trends of land revaluation, investments, and gentrification are posing a conundrum and paradox for environmental justice activists. In this presentation, I examine the progression of the urban EJ agenda—from fighting contamination to mobilizing for environmental goods and resisting environmental gentrificationand analyze how the EJ scholarship has reflected upon the complexification of this agenda. I argue that locally unwanted land uses can be reconceptualized from contamination sources to new green amenities because of the displacement they seem to trigger or accelerate.

Readings: Anguelovski, Isabelle. 2015. From Toxic Sites to Parks as (Green) LULUs? New Challenges of Inequity, Privilege, Gentrification, and Exclusion for Urban Environmental Justice. Journal of Planning Literature, 31(1):1-14. DOI: 10.1177/0885412215610491