Addressing environmental injustice: The viability of community-based planning
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Type of Work44 pages
Geography and Geosciences
Environmental justice and planning
Environmental justice and public participation
Effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans
Post-Hurricane Katrina recovery
The problems posed in cases of environmental injustice, which is largely based on the disproportionate exposure of poor and minority populations to environmental harms and hazards, and their lack of influence in and access to planning and decision making, are further exacerbated by standard mainstream data collection and mapmaking. This inextricable link between environmental injustice and planning is strongly revealed even when one simply looks at the city of New Orleans, a place where post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding and recovery seems to reflect the city’s history of inequality in both the environmental and planning decision making processes. Post-Katrina New Orleans is therefore a key case study to highlight the difficulties and barriers of critical case study analysis, particularly as they relate to the limitations and bias of existing available data and maps. The research described and analyzed in this thesis aims to answer the following question: how can community-based planning and critical GIS be implemented as solutions to address environmental injustice, using post-Katrina New Orleans as a case study? The information obtained via an applied mixed-methods study reveals that a critical approach to GIS, paired with a community-based approach to planning, is necessary for the improved collection of data that represents the multiple stakeholders and values present in cases of environmental injustices, especially those stakeholders that are underserved and marginalized. This critical and participatory approach will, in turn, lead to the development of maps better suited to assist local government, activists, and the general public in addressing the harsh realities that communities suffering from environmental injustice face.
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