Urban Environmental Justice

Today’s urban challenges have embedded in them critical inequities in how people and communities relate to and are affected by their surrounding environments. These inequities are often the result of entrenched policies and institutions that have protected some groups while marginalizing others to lands and situations where environmental protection and health are lacking; in the United States, this dynamic particularly disadvantages low-income communities and communities of color. Moreover, the massive pressure on cities’ infrastructure and services as people worldwide continue to move to urban areas is exacerbating these existing injustices, and often creates new ones.

Urban@UW views urban environmental justice as a key challenge to long-term societal resilience. We are tackling this issue by building a network of UW researchers and community leaders from across the region to understand the structural and situational causes of injustice, and their repercussions on communities as decisions are made about land use, energy infrastructure, transportation and more. Our aim is to support collaborative work across research fields and with local and regional communities affected by these challenges in order to inclusively develop new insights and robust solutions that allow equitable access to and just allocation of natural resources and environmental health.

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