The Distance Between Reality and Ideality | By: Lulin Zheng


The distance between reality and ideality always exists in all kinds of environmental planning issues. This report is the result of a semester thought and discussion in LA 237 ‘The Process of Environmental Planning. In this semester, we have got through topics like ‘History of Environmental Planning, ‘Environmental Movements’, ‘City Vs Country: The Urban-Rural Continuum’, ‘Urbanization & Deforestation’, ‘Social & Spatial Justice’, ‘Climate Change & Sound Land Use Planning’, ‘Environmental Considerations in the City of Berkeley & UC Berkeley Campus’, ‘Regional & Inter-state Environmental Planning’, ‘National Environmental Planning System – NEPA’, ‘The Role of the Landscape Architect’, etc. All those topics are relevant to the health and survival of social-ecological system and particularly emphasizes on the problems in reality and how to achieve ideality by solving those problems (Adger, W. N. & Hodbod, J, 2007). Through the discussion, one thought came in to my mind that the distance between reality and ideality always existed in all kinds of environmental planning topics. The inter-state environmental planning is inevitable if we want to solve the environmental conflicts between resource states and effected states. But in reality, the powerless of environmental legal system and scientific evidence impede the inter-state environmental confliction solving process (Hall, N. D., 2008).

Environmental Justice is the ultimate goal of environmental planning.

After we discussed about the topic ‘Social & Spatial Justice’, I realized that according to the definition of social justice (Harvey, D, 2008), most people around the world fighting for environmental protection set the environmental justice as their ultimate goal. For example, the social movement cannot be divorced from the injustice distributional pattern in resources usage and waste production (Doyle, T., 2005). They fight for fair distribution of resource and environmental emission. NEPA and CEQA empower public to challenge the health hazard projects, which boost the fairness of public participation (https://soapboxie. com/social-issues/Nepa-v-Ceqa). All of those environmental protection action aims to environmental justice – equitable distribution of environmental ‘goods’ and harms, fair participation in all levels of environmental planning (Bell, K., 2014)..

Realizing the distance between reality and ideality would help us adjust strategies for future development. Hence, realizing the distance between reality and ideality would help use find the future trends of environmental planning. Since we know that the gap between reality and ideality will be along with us for a long time. We have to find a way to mitigate this gap by knowing what extent we have achieved in environmental justice.


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