Confronting Inequality in Metropolitan Regions: Realizing the Promise of Civil Rights and Environmental Justice in Metropolitan Transportation Planning

By Marcantonio, Richard A.; Golub, Aaron et al. | Fordham Urban Law Journal, August 2017 | Go to article overview

Confronting Inequality in Metropolitan Regions: Realizing the Promise of Civil Rights and Environmental Justice in Metropolitan Transportation Planning


Marcantonio, Richard A., Golub, Aaron, Karner, Alex, Dyble, Louise Nelson, Fordham Urban Law Journal


Introduction                                                1018 I. The Metropolitan Region and Regional Inequity            1022     A. Early Suburbanization                                1023     B. White Flight, Subsidized Post-War Suburbanization,        and Effects on Central Cities                        1024         1. Federal Transportation Policy Accelerates            Suburbanization and Wreaks Urban Destruction     1026         2. Increasing Citizen Participation and the            Emergence of Regional Governance                 1027     C. Regional Planning Strengthened, but Too Little Too        Late?                                                1029 II. Regional Transportation Planning Drives Inequality      1033     A. Governance                                           1034     B. Access to Opportunities                              1035     C. Benefits and Burdens of Investments                  1037     D. Case Study: Plan Bay Area and the "Six Wins"        Coalition for Social Equity                          1038 III. Legal Foundations for Addressing Equity in Regional      Planning                                               1040     A. Title VI: Affirmative Obligations and Judicial        Enforcement                                          1041     B. Environmental Justice                                1047     C. The Fair Housing Act: Affirmative Obligations and        Judicial Enforcement                                 1048     D. The Role of Federal Administrative Enforcement       1053 IV. The MPO Equity Analysis in Promise and Practice         1055     A. Equity Analysis in Promise                           1056         1. Prophylactic Function                            1057         2. Support Creation of an Action Plan               1058         3. Facilitate Administrative Enforcement            1058         4. Improve Civic Engagement                         1058         5. Improve Plan Outcomes                            1059         6. Aid Local Jurisdictions in Complying with Their            AFFH Obligations                                 1060     B. Equity Analyses: Federal Guidance                    1060         1. 1999 FHWA/FTA Title VI Memo                      1061         2. FTA Title VI Circular                            1062         3. Agency Environmental Justice Orders              1064     C. Equity Analyses in Practice                          1065         1. Emergence of a Consistent Approach               1065         2. Continued Methodological Deficiencies            1067 V. Reforms Needed                                           1069     A. Achieving Fair Governance                            1069     B. Improving Access to Opportunity                      1071     C. Analyzing and Addressing the Inequitable        Distribution of Benefits and Burdens                 1074 Conclusion                                                  1077 

INTRODUCTION

Civil unrest erupted in American cities throughout the 1960s in response to police brutality, racial profiling, discrimination, and unemployment. Riots engulfed Los Angeles in 1965; (1) Detroit and more than a dozen other cities followed in the summer of 1967. (2) While the type of overt racism and discrimination that existed in the years leading up to the 1960s is largely a thing of the past, the continuing realities of police brutality gave rise to similarly profound unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland, in 2014 and 2015, respectively, as demonstrators protested failed governance and a lack of opportunity. (3) Indeed, these troubling and persistent issues surfaced in the landmark 2015 Supreme Court decision, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, (4) concerning the location of affordable housing in areas of concentrated poverty. In the words of Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority:

De jure residential segregation by race was declared unconstitutional almost a century ago. … 

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