Elizabeth Deakin - University of California, Berkeley
FOR DISCUSSION AT THE CONFERENCE
Abstract - In this paper I present a theoretical and legal framework for consideration of equity and environmental justice (EJ) and identify key issues in EJ as they are raised by low income and minority groups in the United States. I begin with a review of alternate theories of justice as well as the main theoretical arguments made in favor of public participation in government decision-making - both basic elements of the equity and environmental justice debate. I then review the development of EJ as a political movement in the United States, with roots in civil rights law, protests against hazardous waste sites and urban freeways, and advocacy planning. I discuss the current status of EJ as a legal and regulatory mandate and identify its implications for planning approaches, public participation practices, and analysis and evaluation methods. Drawing upon my work in the San Francisco Bay Area, I show that the agendas of low income and minority communities are substantially different from those of the overall population, and these differences raise important questions about the responsiveness of transportation programs and decision processes to EJ communities. I then identify a preliminary list of research needs, including research into procedures, methods, and outcomes. As planning practices in Europe expand opportunities for public participation in transportation decisions and the diversity of European populations increases, many of the issues illustrated by the US experience are likely to be seen in Europe as well. Similar issues also may arise in the countries of the South and East as planning agencies seek to accommodate differences of opinion and preference.