Environmental justice and fairness

Authored by: Juliana Maantay

The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138894808
eBook ISBN: 9781315179780
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter provides an overview of environmental justice (EJ), the concept which is at the intersection of race, ethnicity, class, immigrant status or other potentially marginalising characteristics of populations, and the concomitant disproportionate environmental impacts borne by these communities (for example, adverse quality of life and health outcomes, etc.). The chapter discusses aspects of environmental justice and fairness relevant to environmental planning practices. This includes: definitions of EJ and fairness; the historical background of the EJ movement and problematic; its role as a critique of standard planning paradigms; the evolution of methods used to identify, measure and evaluate EJ, especially regarding the use of geographic information systems (GIS) and other digital technologies; how zoning, land use planning and environmental impact assessments have generally been ineffective and even counter-productive in addressing environmental injustices; the potential of policies and regulatory activities to combat inequity in planning outcomes and to promote EJ and fairness; the implications of EJ on how we address important planning challenges, such as climate change, ‘green’ gentrification, sustainability and balancing economic development with environmental protection; the integration of ethics in planning; and public participation in the planning and decision-making process.

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