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environmental injustice

Environmental Inequities and Injustice

Communities are often disproportionately impacted by environmental and occupational hazards based on income, race, national origin, and other factors. Public health researchers have a vital role to play in understanding exposures and rates of negative health outcomes in different populations. Our research aims to increase understanding of these inequities and potential solutions among community members, policymakers, and other stakeholders.

Research Highlight

Community-Driven Environmental Protection: Reducing the P.A.I.N. of the Built Environment in Low-Income African-American Communities in North Carolina

Urban planning has focused on built environment issues in cities such as urban sprawl, availability of green space, and infrastructure for physical activity. However, in small southern towns, there are built environment issues which currently either are understudied or completely neglected by researchers. This article describes the built environment issues that burden unserved and underserved communities of color in North Carolina.

Our researchers use a case study of Mebane, NC to describe how neighborhoods of color in this small town have been impacted by environmental injustice through the denial of basic amenities, particularly sewer and water services, and overburdened by unhealthy land uses through inequities in the use of extraterritorial jurisdiction and annexation statutes. These planning inequities create public health risks for residents and nearby populations. 

Associated Faculty