Social & Environmental Justice


Environmental injustice is caused by many factors, explain some of these factors and, in your opinion, does Locally Unwanted Land Uses LULUs, occurred in disadvantaged communities OR the composition of communities change to result in concentration of people of color around LULUs  (1 page)

Slum formation around the world happens by poor marginalized communities. Name the reasons they are formed and what can we learn from such informal developments. (1 page)

20 thoughts on “Social & Environmental Justice

  1. Environmental Justice or Injustice is a major element in Environmental Studies: it connects environmental rights and protection to the individual rights of groups of people. It was inspired by environmental movements and organized groups in the United States for the defense of civil rights that recognize the environment as an element of equity and social justice. This concept was affirmed when a vast group of movements brought to the attention of the public and political world the exposure to risks and environmental damage systematically in regards of poorer communities or of victims of discrimination and ethnic minorities. Environmental Injustice exists because of a fundamental violation of human rights, denying access to environmental benefits and natural resources to members of disadvantaged ethnic minorities and placing them in front of environmental risks and difficulties. One cause of Environmental Injustice is directly linked to poverty (for the sake of this paper, poverty is described in the sense of both absolute and relative terms –the lack of sufficient resources needed to keep soul and body together and the concern of the absence of the material needs to participate in the accepted daily life-) (The House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, 2014).
    Communities and neighborhoods of low socio-economic status and comprised of a majority of people of color are targeted. This is also known as environmental or institutionalized racism. These communities are excluded from any decision regarding the creation of policies and laws concerned with the environment, disfavoring them. Another cause, connected to environmental racism, is the commoditization of land and natural resources such as water, air and energy. They are protected to benefit the ones who are in power. Government sovereignty has, therefore, an extensive control over environmental injustice. However, what governments should understand and promote is that we are all part of a vast and diverse neighborhood. If a legislation favors a particular rich area or community and disfavors a poor one in the short-run, in the long run the cost will prevail over the benefit of the whole area.
    Another concept connected to environmental racism is Locally Unwanted Land Uses, also known as LULUs. As the name explains it, these are unfortunate territories where the land consists of health hazards, such as landfills, dumps, highways, and power plants; these territories are sources of environmental threats. Low-income housings and shelters populate these areas, due to racial prejudice. The origin of how low-income and disadvantaged communities composed primarily by people of color went to reside in these areas is highly discussed. There are two main proposes: these politically weak, poor and prejudiced communities were sited in these areas or the racial composition of the area changed, making housing prices to lower that resulted in a change in the community living in these LULUs. In my opinion, there are cases for both propositions. The second case is the opposite and connected to gentrification for example. Gentrification, in urban planning, is the relocation of current habitants of the neighborhood to lower cost housings since the neighborhood is being renovated. A phenomenon, similar in concept but opposite in terms of who is affected, is “slumification”. Basically, it is the creation of impoverished districts, separate from higher classes areas. It can be connected to gentrification, since the communities that first were living in the poor neighborhoods being remodeled and improved, now have to move to less expensive quarters. Therefore it can be a combination of both propositions and cases. These LULUs are somehow imposed on impoverished communities, in one way or the other. The LULUs are characterized by low prices housing, thus, once that gentrification happens, poor and disadvantaged communities do not have another choice other than to move there.
    This brings us to discuss the topic of Slum formation. Slums formation happens for many reasons, but all linked to each other. Let’s start with the description of these places. Slums are densely populated areas characterized by houses below minimum standards and misery. Inhabited by thousands of people, these neighborhoods are usually located in the worst areas of the city: they are often found on contaminated soil with industrial waste. People that live in these areas have a very low income or have no income at all. Therefore, finding a place where to live is close to impossible. People, connected by a similar condition, create communities starting from scratch. They either create housings from waste materials or cheap materials that can be easily found in nature or they set their communities in abandoned buildings. One of the reasons that this happens is the rapid growth of urbanization. Some communities are left behind and cannot compete with richer ones. Poverty thus is a cause of slum formation. A risk that these communities face is the intervention of the government. The government could get involved and remove these communities in the areas where they built their community. Their political interest is to improve the area for other paying people to move in (concept that goes back to gentrification). People are forced to adapt to what they can find. The lessons that can be learned from slum formations are many.
    We have to go beyond the stereotype of poverty, violence, and illegality and show the real daily life of the inhabitants of these communities. First of all, these people are resourceful. They are able to develop complex communities and housing situations from virtually nothing. They simply cannot afford to live anywhere else. Living in these places often means having to do without running water, sewage systems and electricity. One thing that the public usually does not notice from these areas is the amount of dignity and pride present, especially in the way that residents take care of their homes and community. They are productive in their own community. Every single person has a role to help the whole collective function. The goal is to provide for themselves from an ethical, political and therefore educational point of view. Ultimately, we have to look up to these communities, since they were able to create a whole society on their own, and do the best with what they had.

    Bibliography – Citations
    • Carder , E. F. (n.d.). The American Environmental Justice Movement. Retrieved from
    • Grant, T. (n.d.). “Environmental Racism” And Locally Undesirable Land Uses: A Critique Of Environmental Justice Theories and Remedies.
    • Poverty – Definitions. (2014, October 16).
    • Smith, J. (2017, September 26). One resident’s view of gentrification and ‘slumification’ in the Twin Cities.
    • Warf, B. (n.d.). Locally Unwanted Land Uses (LULUS).

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  2. Environmental Justice focuses on improving racial injustices in the community. These injustices are caused by many factors, those being the most significant are class, race and age. These are significant factors, because it gives value to the protection of the people from uncontrolled waves of toxics in the environment. Environmental Justice aims for equity rather than equality in impacted communities, it’s a movement that aims to remind the public of the voice we have to discuss environmental issues, the impact on the disadvantage and bring awareness. The people that are usually affected in these communities are people of color, and this could be considered environmental racism. These communities suffer from hazardous waste, air pollution, water pollution,lack of fresh food, and economic exploitation. Depleting people of color from deserving protection from harm is devaluating human life and this is a very large and complicated issue.
    There are inequalities in the distribution of environmental hazards, and that is due to institutional racism. The government is not taking responsibility in fixing the loopholes in environmental policies or even paying any attention to the details of these environmental injustices and have no knowledge on how to give equity. The individuals working with the system are educated and wealthy policymakers that have never been oppressed, therefore cannot connect with affected communities. Whiteness has been seen as a hegemonic concept, being the dominant view, and therefore they receive all the institutional privilege. When being seen as dominant you are protected, welcomed, supported rather than deprived.
    Studies show that people of color, especially black and brown people are exposed to toxic pollutants. People of color tend to reside in low income communities because they cannot afford the prices of housing in other communities. These poor communities attract polluting industries, because when making business the cost is less. This is seen as lack of resources and vast amount of exposure to pollution, and that is why Locally Unwanted Land Uses, LULUs occurs in disadvantaged communities. LULUs fights toxics to mobilize environmental goods because there is disproportionate access resources such as fresh food and a clean environment. These communities receive less environmental protection! They do not eat healthy or breathe comfortably without thinking about how difficult it is to purchase those goods or the load they feel from the green economy.


  3. One factor that contributes to environmental injustice are the disproportional wages and opportunities that people may or may not receive due to their race, appearance, or gender. For example, a white U.S. natural born citizen working in San Francisco might be able to get a fair paying job, while a Spanish speaking immigrant may have to get paid under the table at an unfair rate just to keep a roof over their head. This allows for the white citizen to live in a nice area, while the Spanish speaking worker may have to live in a cheaper area of San Francisco, which is most likely going to run down or have a higher rate of crime than in the white citizen’s neighborhood. Another one huge factor that causes environmental injustice is the placement of LULU’s. In my opinion, this is one of the largest factors that causes environmental injustice when looking at the placement of certain communities with regards to their proximity to environmental “bads.” As stated above, due to a lack of income or low wages, certain groups of people will not have access to homes that are in nicer areas of their community. LULU’s typically bring the cost of the surrounding area down, making the land more affordable to live on. Since most people who make enough money will choose to live away from the LULU’s, those that cannot afford the nicer areas will be forced to live near the LULU’s. Also, these factors have a lot to do with privilege. Just because someone lives near a LULU does not mean that they aren’t as capable as others who are in different communities, sometimes it just means that they don’t have the same privileges handed to them. An example of this would be the caste system. Under a caste system, you are born into the social class that your parents are in, and there is nothing you can do to change it. A baby born to a underclass family may work harder and be smarter and kinder than a boy born to an upper-class family, but because of their social system, they will never have the same privileges. With regards to LULU’s, I think that they occur in minority communities, communities that have less resources to argue against the LULU’s. I also think that due to privileges held by different races, genders, and outward appearances, that people who don’t have as much privilege don’t have as many financial resources as others and end up living in an area in close proximity to a LULU.

    Slum formations are formed when there is a greatly diminished middle class, and a large divide between the upper and lower classes. Slums are usually areas that have been run down, and don’t have access to basic necessities such as electricity, running water, and waste facilities. People who live in slums usually cannot afford to live elsewhere, even if they may be working 16 hour days. Slum communities may not have access to resources to help advocate for fair wages, and better living conditions. I think that we can learn from slum communities, and their ever growing nature, is that slum communities may be the future. The wealthy people are gaining more monetary wealth, while the poor people are getting poorer and growing in numbers. Also, we can look to slums to see how people can continue to work, raise a family, and smile despite their destined fates in the slums.

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  4. March 18

    Environmental justice is the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens to all communities. Communities of color go through environmental injustices due to higher concentration of pollution in their communities. One major factor are the economic factors for these families, lack of accessibility to higher education and high paying job opportunities forces communities of color to live in areas that are less than desirable. An example that is close to our home in the Bay Area is Solano County. This County has the cheapest housing available in all the Bay Area. The main reason for that is the close proximity to an oil refinery near the Carquinez bridge. Refineries release toxic air pollution that can cause cancer, Chronic pulmonary diseases and birth defects. Refineries reported a 22,000 tons hazardous air pollution according to the EPA in 2010. Housing in these area average at $435,000 while in other areas in the nine county average around $1,315,000. The lack of economic opportunities can be blamed for the environmental injustices people of color go through every day.

    Locally unwanted land use happens in disadvantage communities due to the lack of government assistance for these communities. Third world countries have zero or very little social services that are not dispersed appropriately. Corruption and other factors contribute to the improper dispersement of benefits into these communities. Communities with low income have very little options to pay for housing and without government help they must find places to live even if those places are not safe. LULU’s need to be eradicated and governments must be accountable in the provision of housing help to those communities that need it.

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  5. Layla Luna
    Professor Gohar
    17 March 2017
    Environmental Justice
    Environmental injustice is caused primarily due to the following three factors: 1) the value of land decreasing due to environmental hazards (such as a region of a city that has particularly high noxious fumes), 2) the companies who implement LULUs find that lower-income areas are most likely the best place to start a development due to the relative cheapness of that region, and 3) environmental advocates are not particularly focused on helping those who are in disadvantaged communities.
    In my treatment of LULUs, I will only be considering those occurring in the United States; in many other place of the world (especially undeveloped countries) LULUs are entirely due to a capitalist need to separate the impoverished from the fruits of labor. In the United States, it is very difficult to discern whether or not locally unwanted land uses happen specifically in disadvantaged communities, or if the composition of these communities has changed over time due to the housing market, commuting difficulties and/or as a result of population growth. I believe it is a mix of both of these occurrences, although the lines are quite blurry and its often difficult to distinguish why companies make the decisions they choose. While some may disagree with this assessment, in my humble opinion, I do not think that the companies behind these LULUs act out of racist intentions. These companies just want to find the largest space of land that is still near larger towns (in order to ensure its employees can commute) for the cheapest price for their facility. I think it’s a logical jump to say that this tract of cheap land is readily available in less desirable areas of a region. Unfortunately, in our society, minorities have indeed been marginalized and do end up facing the difficulties of poverty more than others. With this poverty comes the inability to buy homes in more suburban developments, and so the impoverished groups must seek housing in less desirable areas. I do believe LULUs target minority areas because these areas tend to be cheaper, yet I also believe that over time, minorities also get pushed out further into these industrial zones due to population increase and further poverty.
    I believe the main reason slums are formed is because third-world and developing countries attempt to rapidly urbanize impoverished areas without any regard for the region’s current inhabitants. These inhabitants are often forced out of the region and generally do not have a lot of capital or resources, and so they come together in order to forge communities that do not rely on heavily on capital.

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  6. Environmental Justice and Social Factors

    I don’t believe that Locally Unwanted Land Uses independently happen in disadvantaged communities or that the composition of communities independently changes to result in concentration of minorities, but that LULUs play on and affect both situations. The development of new LULUs would certainly be more focused on lower income and disadvantaged communities. Here not only is the land to develop on less expensive, but the peoples backlash can be silenced with Big Money in politics or expensive lawsuits. Also, people in economic hard times can be promised jobs and revenue increases from the factory or waste site proposed, without talks or consideration of all the negative externalities that come with it such as poorer health from pollution. Proposals for a new landfill in a well-off community would certainly be met with stronger resistance from business owners, state and federal employees who would have a stronger connection to the local politics in the area, demanding that it be relocated.
    As for the LULUs that have been around long enough for communities to form around with jobs or the promise of them, this is where we can see the composition of community’s change. If the said factory or waste site wasn’t providing enough jobs or started producing pollution beyond desired levels, those better off could just pick-up and move away and not become trapped by the LULUs. Those who can’t afford to move away not only get stuck with the situation, but the value of their homes will further diminish as more people deem the area as unsuitable for living or raising a family.

    Slums size and numbers are increasing across the world as population grows along with income inequality. As land in cities is seen more as a means of profit for business to develop high rises and stores on, the wealthy are essentially preforming land grabs in the form of eminent domain if the slums are lucky or lumping them in as an environmental or health problem that needs to be addressed. Once the slums are removed new development and store fronts can be built, adding to the city’s image and further increasing the property value. This is done with the intent to increase tourism, profit off development, and to make the city more desirable to the wealthy. Putting the interest of a few before the majority pushes many people off their property, looking now not only for a new place to live, but a way of life in the form of a job and community. People that live in slums are extremely resilient people, adapting and overcoming the hardships they are already presented with. Given the chance to live they make the most of their environment and take the necessary steps to survive. Pushing them off these lands and taking from them the little that they already have might be to much for some to bear. Not wanting to give in or go down silently, this might push some towards extreme measures to stop or resist.

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  7. Rory Lapham
    Professor Gohar
    Global Environmental Crisis
    March 17, 2018
    Weekly Paper 6
    A significant factor that is a part of environmental justice, is having equal share of amenities and dis-amenities across different communities. Amenities include having parks and nature preserves that create aesthetics and improved air quality, whereas dis-amenities involve power-plants, polluting industries, and landfills/dumpsites. In today’s society, there is a robust unbalanced amount in most locations. The common pattern portrays affluent and mostly Caucasian areas obtaining more amenities while having few if any dis-amenities, while the situation in low income areas populated with minorities is reversed. Being environmentally just is to have local access to the benefits of amenities, not having to suffer more from the dis-amenities than anyone else, regardless of race, or class.
    A question that comes to mind is, are dis-amenities constructed low-income areas, or do locations become low income areas because dis-amenities are built there. In my opinion I believe it is both, for low income areas have more affordable land to build factories, but at the same time, it appears many low-income places used to be affluent places in the past. But the one that appears more occurring is locations become low income areas due to dis amenities being built, because I believe affluent people move to a small area together, and that location soon becomes trending so there needs to be more development which requires more power plants and consumerism, which eventually drives out the affluent people to avoid the crowded and polluted area, which then results in a large loss of economy making it become a low income area stuck with the giant power plant and factories.
    Another compelling aspect that involves environmental justice is slum formation. Slums are highly populated poverty areas, where the residence reside in decrepit habitats, such as unfinished buildings, dumping grounds, etc. The greatest cause of these creations is over population, many locations around the world have very small minimal economies but have large growing populations that cannot be supported. Many people wish to escape the rural life to part take in the benefits of the world services urbanization provides, such as conveniences, education, socialization, work, etc. but unfortunately cannot afford to do so. With highly impacted cities, poor people do not have the demand to live in homes due lack of capitol, so they are forced to resort to other methods for shelter. Another reason could just be the area’s economy itself. Perhaps onetime the location was wealthy but a terrible financial even could have taken place that caused a crash in the economy, making slums the only viable option to reside in.
    An example is the abandon 45 story office tower in Caracas Venezuela. This is the world tallest slum habitat that host 400,000 homes within. Many of its residence found ways to add utilities to their habitats such as gas and electricity, and also have created community assets, such as recreation centers, market places, and service providers.

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  8. Environmental Injustice

    Environmental injustice is a problem where environmental burdens are felt by disadvantaged communities to a greater extent. Industrial centers with negative environmental impacts do generally tend to be located by low income communities and communities of color. However, the causes and reason for this trend can be difficult to determine. Furthermore, with the debated causation of environmental injustice being debated, it is even more difficult to find solutions to the problem of environmental injustice.

    The first debated topic is the cause of environmental injustice. Do industries with negative environmental impacts target disadvantaged communities or do disadvantaged communities develop around such industrial areas. I believe both scenarios to be true, but think in most instances disadvantaged communities form around industrial areas. For both scenarios, the primary cause for environmental injustice are economic in nature.

    Polluting industries obviously do not generally locate in wealthy regions or countries. Higher property cost in such areas discourage polluting industries from developing. More importantly, when industries with negative environmental impacts attempt to develop in wealthy regions, those communities have the resources to combat and stop such development. Even if polluting industries are successful at developing in wealthy communities, those communities have the resources to mitigate negative environmental risk through heavy regulation and enforcement. For these reasons, industry tends to locate in communities with low property cost, where they won’t be opposed, and with less environmental regulation. In my opinion, this is the process that occurs in already developed regions, but in the majority of cases polluting industries came first with the disadvantaged communities coming second.

    Looking at the United States for examples, typically industrial areas developed first with disadvantaged people coming second. Polluting regions involved in manufacturing, fossil fuel extraction, and shipping developed first with populations moving to such areas for work second. The areas closest to factories, railroads, and docks were the cheapest and low income communities moved into those areas. On the other hand, wealthier people would locate to more expensive areas further away from industrial zones. Perhaps a larger problem, is that once developed cities transition from industrial to service based economies, poor communities are forced out as real estate prices rise in former industrial zones. I believe this highlights environmental injustice has more to do with real estate desirability and income, than with racial targeting. Similarly, it shows poor communities locate in areas with low cost housing.


    The primary reason for urban slum formation is rural to urban migration. Rural agricultural based populations migrate to cities due to industrialization, technological improvements in agriculture, and increased agricultural trade. Because of loss of profits in farming, rural populations relocate to urban areas in search of work. However, urban areas are often not able to incorporate large influxes of people, because of shortages in work and housing. As a result, informal slums develop to house these large poor populations.

    In my opinion, the primary cause of slum formation is poor planning by governments. As governments push for industrialization they adopt trade policies that rapidly change the economic systems of rural communities. As a result, rural populations are forced to move into urban areas before those areas are able to accept large influxes of people. Therefore, slums are formed to meet the immediate needs of population growth. Over time, slums that began as a temporary solution to housing, often becoming permanent fixtures in large urban areas.

    Despite the negative impacts of slums on their inhabitants and the environment, they can provide educational insights of how people adapt and solve problems during informal unplanned development. Slums can highlight human ingenuity as they occupy unlikely areas. For example, the Makoko Community in Nigeria built on water or the slums that have developed inside cemeteries in the Philippines. Such developments not only show how issues like electricity, water, and sanitation are overcome, but also shows how people utilize space in different ways.

    The problem of slum formation will likely not ever be eliminated, yet studying slums might lead to reductions in their severity. If governments study the casusastion of rural to urban migration they might be able to pass policies that reduce large scale migration in future periods. Furthermore, if large scale migration is not preventable, better urban planning might allow for slums to form in better conditions if not at all.

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  9. Low-income communities that contain racial minority groups have been disproportionately exposed to environmental injustices which have lead to unequal access to a healthy and safe environment among various groups. In comparison to higher-income neighborhoods, these low-income communities are more likely to endure environmental racism which limits their access to clean air, natural resources, and water (Gohar, 2018). Often times low-income areas are targeted by waste facilities because they are viewed as sacrifice zones since they lack political power and often include a racial minority (Turner, 2014).

    Those who organize against environmental racism argue that waste facilities deliberately target socially marginalized communities. Studies have shown that 75% of hazardous waste landfills in the Southeastern United States are located in predominantly African American communities, although African Americans make up only 20% of the population (Chitewere, 2017). In response to the environmental injustices that occur within these communities, low-income minority groups have protested against waste facilities’ plans to dump hazardous waste in their area. For example, in Warren County, North Carolina, a grassroots protest by people of color took place in 1982 against the dumping of PCB contaminated soil in their community. Although there are instances where the racial composition of an area has changed over time due to white flight which involves groups with the means to leave a community, I believe Locally Unwanted Land Uses (LULUs) such as the dumping of waste by waste facilities intentionally seek disadvantaged communities as their dumping grounds because waste facilities are aware of the people that make up those communities.

    In comparison to groups in the United States which experience environmental injustices, impoverished areas around the world, known as slums, lack access to a healthy and safe environment as well. Slums are formed when impoverished individuals in highly-populated rural areas create homes using poorly constructed, dilapidated housing units or uncompleted infrastructures. Typically, slums do not contain reliable sanitation services, clean water, electricity, law enforcement and other services for these communities (Gohar, 2018). While the people that inhabit these slums attempt to meet their basic needs, government is often not involved and they continue to lack basic services.

    Despite the lack of government involvement, these impoverished communities work towards building a community that can deliver public services. I believe the members that live in slums demonstrate their ability to shape their built environment. For example, in Caracas, Venezuela, the uncompleted structure “Tower of David” which is 45-stories was inhabited by individuals from that area because the skyscraper was an abandoned project by developers. The inhabitants added features to the structure such as staircases and electricity in order to meet the inhabitants’ needs. There are other slums which have added informal schools created by residents and churches such as Kiberia, Nairobi, Kenya (Hutt, 2016). Although slums are continuing to build communities through a bottom-up approach, these impoverished communities need more resources to further develop services that meet their basic needs.

    While these slums around the globe and U.S. communities that experience environmental injustices differ, both of these groups lack access to a healthy environment. I think the involvement of government needs to become more prominent in both slums and areas who are hit hardest by environmental racism.

    Chitewere, T. (2017). Environmental Justice Political Ecology and Slow Violence. [pdf]

    Gohar, A. (2018). Environmental Justice & Disadvantaged Communities. [pdf]

    Hutt, R. (2016). These are the world’s five biggest slums. Guardian. Retrieved from

    ProPublica. (2017). A Brief History of Environmental Justice. YouTube. Retrieved from

    Turner, J. (2014). This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein-Review. Guardian. Retrieved from

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  10. Environmental injustice is referred to as the concept applying to those areas where 20 %of the inhabitants live in poverty, or around 30% or more of the population are considered a minority. Likewise, environmental racism specifically refers to those racial communities being marginalized as a way of discrimination in parts of the city where the living conditions worsen in a significant way comparatively, being pollution levels higher, water and air conditions unhealthy… Commenting on the causes of this phenomenon in order to answer the question that captures our interests, we could talk about the loss of value of these concrete areas and their housing facilities as a result of the degrading conditions of the environment there, which is a fact attracting low-income groups. On the other side, the functioning of the market in many occasions deviates the environmental harm of its dynamics to areas where laws are more lose due to the occupancy of marginalized communities of low resources. Therefore, degradation increases in concentrated spaces.
    In my opinion, the direction of the influence between the factors involved in the occurrence of this phenomenon variates across places in the world. Historical as well as political and legal factors in the different countries and regions matter when deciding this problem. In the case of the US, my opinion is clear. The government’s lack of involvement in the issue and the excessive capitalist ideology which dominates the national economy, combined with the history of racism and discrimination attached to the societal evolution of the country make me think that LULUs have actually been located in areas where poor communities had been concentrating by means of the intentional deviation of harmful practices to those concrete places, where laws are not applying and people are less protected.
    Slums are urban areas where the residential infrastructure, sanitation conditions, and the safety of water supplies or the electrical system is in serious deterioration. According to Harvey (2008), one of the reasons behind the rise of slums in the modern world is related to rapid urbanization processes derived from the “absorption” of surplus in the new cities, which entangles the restructuring of cities in a very unequal way, where normally the poor communities are the ones deprived from power and located in less protected areas very militarized and repressed. Capitalist dynamics, and the consequent neoliberal and consumerist ideologies, are at the root of slum creation or environmental injustice, as the accumulation of wealth or profits in certain developing core areas fosters fast urbanization projects which are implemented before any legal, political or environmental framework is developed around them, enlarging the inequality gap by creating areas that we know as slums. In the US, for example, expropriations in the name of this happen constantly, as well as urban plans directed by wealthy elites destined to create more spaces for high value business whatever the environmental and social cost is.

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  11. The lack of regulation and enforcement represents one of the most important causes of environmental injustice and the basis for other factors/causes. Such lack of regulation and enforcement, that can often be interpreted as a neglect, facilitates certain practices from individuals and mostly corporates with serious environmental consequences on the population living in that area. Those practices include: trash dumping, pollution, release of toxic gases and other materials that affect the health of the population—mostly low income, in those communities. This first factor set the basis of the others such as the reduction in land value. Reduction in land value in general, means that the areas is more accessible to people who could not previously afford it and can reduce inequality. However, in this situation, land reduction is due to the pollution in those areas. And because of the present inequality in U.S societies, low income folks with less social power tend to move into those neighborhoods regardless of the environmental conditions. Therefore, we can even conclude that the two factors which are the lack of regulation and enforcement, and the overwhelmingly presence of low-income, people of color in those neighborhoods, reinforce each other.
    In my opinion, LULUs occur in disadvantaged communities at first. Disadvantages communities are neglected, lack regulation, and the people living in those areas do not have social power. However, certain people are able to move out of those areas because they have the opportunity to do so and this can result in a just one group of people living in that area. Now, considering the history of the United States, those areas tend to be constituted by people of color. Even though some of those areas included people of other racial groups, they had higher opportunity and did not have the face the social issues of people of colors, especially black people. Therefore, one can make the argument that indeed LULUs in the United States occur in areas dominated by people of color. The history of the country is enough of an evidence to make this argument (segregation, institutional racism etc.). Robert Bullard’s Dumping in Dixie reveals the environmental injustice that turns into environmental racism here in the United States. Bullard found that in each state that he conducted the survey, the population of Black was close to 30% but the communities that hosted hazardous dumping consisted of at least 90% of the Black or minority of that state population. The conclusion is that the areas in which LULUs occur may depend on the history of a specific country.
    Slum formation is a result of several factors. The following three are the ones that I deem most important. First, extreme poverty results in the creation of slums. In most less developed countries (LDCs), close to half of the population cannot satisfy their basic need such as food, access to clean water etc. let alone afford a house. They also do not have the opportunity to generate an income due to the country economic situation, and to be more specific, there is not enough economic activity in the areas they live in (rural areas mostly). Therefore, they move close to the city in packed areas, without access to clean water, in deteriorating habitats etc.
    The second and the third factors are closely connected: rapid urbanization and lack of planning. Several countries in the LDCs also experience rapid urbanization as most of the rural areas are either neglected, and the revenue and economic activity are concentrated in and around the capital city. Therefore, people move close to the capital en masse in order to be part of the formal or informal economy. A basic need is housing for all of them and they cannot afford it. in addition to that, the government has not carefully planned the city to accommodate most of the people coming in the city resulting in the creation of slums.
    What we can learn from slums is first, the creativity of humans. The example of Tower of David in Venezuela, or Zabbaleen in Egypt demonstrated it. But, we shall not give too much attention to this creativity as it moves our focus away from the most important lessons which are better planning from governments or cities. Planning can include economic programmes to make sure countries revenues are widely shared and reached rural areas. Urban planning also to cope with urbanization will be important. And finally, in the areas where slums are already formed, government should work to make those areas better and the first step is to provide the tools necessary to combat the environmental issues. Because of the high density in those areas, diseases spread quickly and can affect a lot of people in the cities.
    In conclusion, slums exhibit the ability of human to evaluate its surrounding and create an environment to meet his needs, but at the same time, slums exhibit the lack of planning, extreme poverty and rapid urbanization.

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  12. Tina C. Adewunmi
    Professor Amir

    Environment injustice and Social justice:
    Environmental injustice is a major unequal exposure to environmental harms. Individuals started the environmental justice movement, primarily people of color, who sought to perform the inequity of environment protection in their communities. Most civil rights movement of 1960s shows that compture the apprehension about the public health dangers for their families and their communities. In addition to western nations like Nigeria, environmental racism refers to socially marginalized racial minority communities, which are subjected to disproportionate exposure of pollutants, for the denial or access to sources of ecological benefits such as clean air, water, and natural resources as both. This connects to unfair treatment and involvement of all people regardless of race, color, and basis on the individual rights. Although the people came out to fight for their right but result was deliberate, over to the individual rights of unreasonably exposed environmental harms, such as geographic equality, social equality, and procedural equity. However, environmental injustice was situations by inquiry for poverty and government failure led to the problem being completely mishandled. An environmental movement was a concern to location inspired geographic equality and proximity of communities to environmental hazards and Lulu’s horrible air pollution and landfills. Land uses, Lulus’ occurs in disadvantaged communities. The communities received less environmental goods due to resistance of civil rights that protect individual or group of people for they’re locally unwanted land usually cheaper to live near. These problem causes the fundamental proposition of climate justice that those who are slightest accountable of change suffer its consequences. This brought to the attention of the public and political power to exposed the risks to poor communities of victims of discrimination as minorities. Land uses, Lulus’ occurs in disadvantaged communities. The communities received less environmental properties due to Lulus fights toxics to mobilize comfortably breathe without thinking about the commitment of an organization to the laws and regulation of toxic substances including pesticides and many types of industrial waste as part of the topics of environmental policy. This factor of environmental injustice is caused by many factors such as protection against unpleasantly impacting human heath. The ecological balances essential to long-term human health and environmental quality, whether in the natural or man-made environment. Meanwhile, the embraces of the assessment and the control of those environmental factors can potentially affect health. It’s targeted toward preventing disease and creating health supportive environments.

    In my opinion, the primary cause of slum creation is deprived organization by governments. As governments push for industrialization they assume trade policies that rapidly change the economic systems of rural communities. As a result, rural inhabitants are forced to move into urban areas before those areas are able to accept large invasions of people. Consequently, slums are shaped to meet the instant needs of population development. Throughout period, slums that began as a draught solution to housing often are becoming enduring stuffs in large urban areas.


  13. Environmental injustice is described as the unequal distribution of environmental amenities, such as clean air, water, and access to green spaces, and disamenities, such as power plants and landfills. During the modern era, humans generate enormous amounts of pollution and waste, and although it would be fair for those who consume the most to bear these burdens, in reality it is disadvantaged, oppressed, and poor communities who end up dealing with the unwanted effects of over-consumption. This injustice is caused by a lack of environmental enforcement in areas containing marginalized groups, underrepresentation of those same groups in policy-making and activist groups, and the economic circumstances that determine where pollution ends up. The most widely discussed impact of environmental injustice is the distribution of Locally Unwanted Land Uses (LULUs). There is evidence to support that this distribution is affected both by the powers that be directing LULUs towards disadvantaged communities, and that low-income families may move to areas near LULUs due to the reduced land value. At this point in time, however, it is crucial to focus on the former cause, since this is an injustice that can be addressed and corrected immediately, by advocating for greater responsibility towards these communities, and by electing more diverse officials who will represent the interests of all citizens, including environmental protection for racial minorities and low-income communities.
    Slums are formed due to overpopulation of urban areas and a lack of infrastructure and/or maintenance. They lack law enforcement, reliable electricity, sanitation services, and clean water, and occur in places where planning and development fail to build an environment that meets the needs of the people. This can lead to a different kind of built environment, altered as needed by residents to make it a better home. A great amount of diversity in occupations, lifestyles, and homes arise in a rather small space, as families living too close for comfort develop their own “cities” with small businesses and established public spaces. These slums are examples of an important truth: the inhabitants of an area often have a greater effect on the environment than the planners, or than the environment has on them. The existing infrastructure is not necessarily a determining factor in lifestyles of individuals. This is a double-edged fact, at once an inspiring example of human ingenuity and ability, and a reminder of how the global environment has become so damaged. Where rivers, forests, mountains, wetlands, and deserts have failed to suit our fancy, we have changed them, sometimes with a plan in mind, and sometimes just as needed with disastrous results. The ability of humans to “live anywhere” is often praised, but maybe it should be condemned.


  14. In my opinion, LULU’s occur in disadvantaged neighborhoods being fully aware of who lives there. In these areas, we see large corporations and governments targeting these communities for a multitude of reasons. Due to the fact that these people are poor, entities know that these peoples are much easier to have control over. When I was an undergrad in Baltimore, I took a class on the environmental inequalities that were taking place all around us. The largest inequality could be seen on the Potomac River where the largest incinerator on the east coast was built in a quiet community. This incinerator burned tons of trash each day from all over Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia. This incinerator causes black soot to blow across this neighborhood and into the lungs of children playing on the swings at school. This kind of environmental harm was only allowed to happen in this neighborhood due to the fact that the state was able to make money off of the deal in one of the largest and poorest African American communities in Baltimore. The owners of the incinerator, a private company, scheduled all the town hall meetings required by the state during the day, when all of the residence was at work and unable to attend and protest. All of this went on undisturbed until a group of high school seniors began prodding around and found that this company was not following many environmental regulations that were allowed to pass due to the fact that the people had no idea what they were doing. In this situation the students are still working to fight against this large cooperation and gain back control of their environment. They have been able to successfully stop all the schools in Baltimore City from selling their garbage to the incinerator. While these are just small steps, they are large for this community. Due to the fact that I have seen these issues first hand, I see how LULU’s are put onto the disadvantages communities due to the fact that it is seen as a population who wont fight back to this type of oppression. Rich people are not going to allow for these things, like an incinerator to be built in their back yard, because they have the time and the money to stop it.
    Slums are informal towns that are built within large cities to act as home to the most impoverished of the communities. These can be seen from the largest slum in Mumbai to favelas in Brazil. Slums are formed for a multitude of reasons, but the number one reason would be marginalization by the upper crust of society. These are people who are cannot afford official housing and need to find somewhere to live. They live in these towns that they either put together, or that the government has put together for them. In Mumbai, we see people start in shacks made of boxes and tarps, to making a permanent home, which can later be bought and sold. These people are not homeless. They are working every day and paying bills, but due to financial resources, it is easier to stay in these slums. From this we can learn a lot about development and planning. We are able to see these groups rally around and create the perfect home for themselves. By living outside the realm of normal society, they are able to build how they best see fit.


  15. The environmental injustice is caused by many factors, such the reduction of land-values, the lead to a situation where sources of pollution may move-in within neighbors with low-income groups and people of color, and the fact that environmental law enforcement is more lose in areas with disadvantaged communities.
    I think these factors are connected through racism. Benjamin Chavis, who is African American civil rights leader, created the term “environmental racism”, in 1982. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired him when Benjamin was an assistant of his movement. Environmental racism is racial discrimination in environmental policy-making and enforcement of regulations and laws. The deliberate targeting of communities of color for toxic waste facilities, the official sanctioning of the presence of life threatening poisons and pollutants in communities of color, and the history of excluding people of color from leadership of the environmental movement.
    In my opinion, locally unwanted land uses (LULUs) were originally placed in communities with little reference to race or economic status and, over time, the racial composition of the area changed as a result of white flight, depressed housing prices and a host of other social ills. I think that environment shapes people’s experience. In the atmosphere that has limitations and constrains, it will unconsciously create both natural and unnatural barriers. Area with inconvenience has less economic impact, comparing to the convenience area. Plus, quality of life will decrease too. Weak privileged people are tend to be forced by strong privileged people to move in these area and determined as minority or undeveloped in living ad in society.

    There is a research saying one billion people or one third of the world’s population is estimated to be living in either slum or squatter settlements. The largest proportion of population living in slums in the world is in the Asian region, which is also urbanizing at the fastest rate. In detail, in 2001, Asia had 554 million slum dwellers, or 60% of the world’s total. In South Asia, slum and squatter settlements population constituted 58% of total urban population compared to 36.4% in East Asia and 28 % in Southeast Asia. The main reason of squatter and slum settlements have formed is the inability of city governments to plan and provide affordable housing for the low-income segments of the urban population. Squatter and slum housing is the housing solution for this low-income urban population. There are several issues in low-income cities, such as health problems and environmental disasters. Health problems experienced by slum residents included worms in children. Water-borne illnesses, cholera and dysentery, were a perennial problem, largely because of the lack of adequate potable water supply. All the public housing estates are connected to modern sanitation and sewerage treatment works. Furthermore, there is piped potable water supply and electricity. A solid waste management system was also provided and put in place. Therefore, the public housing program was effective in breaking the vicious cycle of the lack of provision of environmental and health infrastructure, which has led to highly unhealthy and socially vulnerable conditions in slum and squatter settlements. From all above, it is clear that problems occur because of their fragile social infrastructure.


  16. There are many causes and factors of environmental injustice. Environmental injustice deeply hurts and affects people and places that are underprivileged. Many of the factors that lead to this environmental injustice directly affect disadvantaged communities, people of color, and Locally Unwanted Land Uses.

    Firstly, one of the biggest and most direct factors that causes environmental injustice is linked to environmental racism. Environmental racism is a type of racial discrimination in which environmental law and injustice leaves communities of color and underprivilege the most affected by waste and pollution. According to this, communities of color are stationed near toxic waste facilities and other harmful and “dirty” environmental areas. Relating to how this links to environmental injustice, this factor proves that poor and minority communities are discriminated upon.

    Aside from that, other factors such as the situation of our economy affects this issue. Market dynamics and job availability can most likely lead to the formation of neighborhoods and communities of the underprivileged around these unsafe and polluted areas. Land value of homes near factories and environmentally-harmful facilities will drop. Poor families and communities that cannot afford to live anywhere else will be forced to remain there.
    Environmental law and planning also affects environmental injustice. In my opinion, locally unwanted land uses primarily occur in these areas of disadvantages communities and the underprivileged. Building factories and similar facilities around “rich” areas may never happen for multiple reasons. Aside from that, the drop of land value around locally unwanted land uses will lead to poorer communities moving in around the area or being forced to live there if they cannot afford to move away.

    Slum formations around the world originate around poor and marginalized communities because of many factors as well. One of these reasons is a weakened middle class. The growing wage gap and other earning discrepancies in our world lead to the “poorer getting poorer”. A large divide between class income leads to the underprivileged being forced to live around poor areas and even locally unwanted land uses.
    Fairer pay, lesser discrepancies in wages, and ore opportunity for education and job training can help lead to reverse this effect. Slum formation around the world are caused by poor communities that are jobless, have no education, and do not have the time and resources to look for new opportunities and actual homes. These informal developments are done out of necessity and desperation rather than planning and aspiration.


  17. Environmental justice addresses whether health risks of environmental impacts from industrial activities are distributed in a manner that behaves within basic cultural and social notions of fairness. LULU stands for locally undesirable land use and these sites are characterized as: hazardous waste repositories, landfills, power plants, highways, and other projects that may pose an environmental or health risk. Race and class are the most important determinants of the location of environmental hazards and resultant health effects. Moreover, research points out that poor and minority communities are largely excluded from participating in environmental decision-making.Thus, this situation makes these communities the target for unwanted land uses. Empirical findings found that African-Americans are disproportionately more likely to live near hazardous waste sites and be exposed to air pollution or other toxic releases. There is widespread sense that geography and socio-economic status have been significant factors in determining which communities end up baring the environmental risk of manufacturing and waste disposal facilities. These high risk facilities are more likely to be found in counties with sizeable poor and/or minority populations that unfairly bear the collateral environmental, property, and health risks. However, in poor neighborhoods with little social capital, mobilizing around these injustices is difficult and problematic.
    An alternative to this view would be that communities burdened by low socioeconomic status and past or present discrimination may be willing to accept these risks to obtain the economic benefits of facility location, or that residents not willing to accept this risk move away. While this may be partly true, I believe the first point of LULUs specifically moving towards areas that have low property values, and thus are built in disadvantaged communities, comes first. Then, as a result of the negative impacts that these sites have on the community’s health, those who have the capacity to move away from these sources of pollution, do and those who remain in their low socioeconomic class simply cannot and do not. Of course, I am not saying that these companies that come into a neighborhood are specifically targeting only minorities, and neither am I saying that these companies are benign, altruistic actors. Those that come into those areas do so because there are lower regulations and thus, the company wants the lowest common standard in order to reap the most profits.

    Slums are a result of rapid rural to urban migration. They are informal or irregular housing that cannot provide the basic living conditions necessary for its inhabitants to live in a safe and healthy environment. The United Nations Human Settlements Program defines a slum settlement as a household that cannot provide one of the following characteristics: durable housing of a permanent nature, sufficient living space, easy access to safe water, access to adequate sanitation, security of tenure that prevents forced evictions. Nearly one-third of the global urban population lives in slums and they are increasing.
    Slum formation is mainly due to rapid urbanization within a developing country. A population boom, associated with urbanization, creates a greater demand for housing than the urbanized area can offer or supply. This population boom is brought on by rural inhabitants who migrate to urban areas where jobs are more plentiful and wages higher and more stabilized. Additionally, poor city planning and management systems are unable to effectively manage the large population influx. Lack of funds for housing projects and little to no subsidized housing are key contributors to the prevalence of slums. Another cause of slum formation is globalization. Global economic booms and busts lead to uneven wealth distribution. The slums reflect poor control of speed of urbanization by the government.
    We can learn many things from slums. These areas, despite their poor ability to ensure a comfortable lifestyle, are remarkably innovative. The people who construct their own homes out of the materials around them and manage to decorate their homes in sometimes lavish ways are inspiring. Slums can provide ways of seeing the home in a different light– that one can really build a home anywhere and anyhow and still manage to be satisfied and for lack of a better phrase, “make the best out of what you got.” Finally, slums remind us that globalization is moving fast and governments need to be able to accomodate for rapid changes in migration flows in and out of urban areas. Better city planning can be a solution to prevent or lessen slum formation.


  18. Environmental justice was introduced to the United States in the early 1980’s. It was coined Environmental Justice to describe the social movement on the unequal distribution of benefits and burdens. Social injustice being unfair labor practices, racial discrimination, health care, food disparity ,and so much more. Social injustice issues tend to hit lower income communities in particular , bringing a higher crime rate , inequality in health care, higher death penalties, and affecting marginalized groups. In land-use planning LULU stands for locally unwanted land use that creates externality costs on those living in close quarters. These costs include health hazards, poor aesthetics or reductions in homes. There are eleven types of injustice. Economic, Infrastructure, spiritual , discrimination, political , health, despair, gender injustice, and environmental. In environmental injustice LULU’s can include dumps, electronic waste, power plants, prisons, roads, factories, and hospitals. Planning seeks to distribute environmental laws and community participation to protect property and environmental values. Externalities come in different ways; through poor lifestyle, reduced aesthetics, and more. Inequality can also be known as an externality because of the lack of undesirable amenities; this can be shown on highways with landfill build up, no grocery stores in certain communities and toxic waste sites.

    Slum formation can be made from a housing community that eventually lacked so many resources they eventually transformed into slums. These living conditions are nowhere near close to healthy living conditions. Not only are strategic planning and intervention major issues; the faster urbanization continues to grow the more slums are being arising. This is happening in wealthy countries like Asia and even in communities in Oakland which I’ve seen. The level of understanding urbanization in developing countries where local governments have taken away basic necessities of life from certain neighborhoods. These slums lack the financial support to keep their homes and neighborhoods up to standard.  


  19. Environmental Justice encompasses the extent to which political, social, and economic opportunities are available to certain demographics and how those opportunities can change access to environmental amenities (and dis-amenities). Statistically, more environmental disamenities are faced by communities of color rather than rich, white and more affluent communities. Low-income and communities of color are often excluded from the political discourse which sets forward plans for development, and thus their needs and demands are overlooked or pushed aside. Another term for this kind of discrimination is ‘Environmental Racism’. If we analyze population distributions paired with high pollution site locations, we would find that populations near pollution sites are often disadvantaged communities. Therefore, addressing environmental injustices is necessary to ensure that there is environmental equity, or equality in the ecological conditions surrounding all communities.
    The question of whether locally unwanted land uses are placed in communities of color, or whether they exist because wealthier residents have moved away is a complex one. As we learned earlier in the semester, wealthy residents did move away from urban centers once the effects of rapid industrialization became more apparent. This meant that low-income communities were left behind in high pollution sites. I believe this to be where the problem ‘originated’. However, modern day LULUs more likely are placed in communities in color, because developers know this is where they will face the path of least resistance. Low-income communities have diminished political agency. This is due to many factors such as low wages, and a general inability for these residents to sacrifice their time for political participation because their priorities lie in their own well-being.
    Furthermore, fossil fuel development projects severely degrade the surrounding landscape, as well as, air and water quality, resulting in a depreciation of the land value in and around a low income community. This makes it very difficult to reverse the environmental injustices caused by these developers, because it essentially traps residents in their low-income community making it very expensive to move away from poor environmental conditions.
    Slums are regions of a highly urbanized center which are inhabited by largely impoverished communities. Slums are often characterized by their lack of access to clean water, air, electricity and other basic services. Wage disparity is the largest factor for slum formation, which is why slums are so common in highly urbanized centers. As cities position themselves to appeal to high-income residents, slums continue to grow larger. A municipality which fails to provide access to varied housing types, for varied income levels will likely see slum formation occur at a much more rapid rate. Affordable housing projects therefore have great potential to reduce slum formation, and provide disadvantaged residents with the basic ecological services which they have a human right to hold.


  20. Environmental injustices occur for many reasons. The first is due to environmental racism, a term first used by Benjamin Chavis in 1982. Environmental racism is the racism that occurs in relation to environmental policy making, the location of industrial/waste facilities, the location of waste dump sites, and excluding the people of color that are so often affected by these issues. Environmental racism is also directly linked to poverty. Impoverished areas often have little to no political power and therefore have little say in whether something such as a pipeline, waste facility, or nuclear power plant is built near their community. Even if the people do not want it there, there will till be some people who are desperate or the jobs that the industrial facility will bring.

    A lack of education is also another major contributing factor in environmental injustices. During the beginning of the Cold War, the need for uranium grew tremendously. Often these uranium mines were located on Indian reservations, such as Midnite Mine in Washington State or Church Rock in New Mexico. The mass genocide of Native American tribes during the is well known. The remaining tribes were forced onto reservations, where lack of education and poverty runs rampant. The spike in uranium prices meant many Native Americans were eager to go to work in uranium mines without knowing the detrimental effects this would have, not only on their health but the health of the environment surrounding these mines. They were sent into these mines, often with little more than a helmet for protection, and worked extracted the uranium.

    These are contributing factors to locally-unwanted land uses. These LULU’s are lands that consist of some form of health and environmental hazards, such as landfills, former mines, or power plants. I think LULU’s occur in disadvantaged communities but also contribute to the change in composition of these communities surrounding them. LULU’s like the uranium mines I discussed earlier were built in disadvantaged communities because that is where the uranium was found. But there are also power plants that may have been built in primarily white communities and over time the white people began to move out because they could afford to, meanwhile poorer communities of color moved in because of the cheaper price to live in that area.


    A People’s Guide to Energy. 2017. Retrieved from:


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