Forum Addresses Environmental Justice through Collaboration

By Morrison, Dorothy | Public Management, April 2002 | Go to article overview

Forum Addresses Environmental Justice through Collaboration


Morrison, Dorothy, Public Management


The premise of environmental justice (EJ) is to ensure that communities receive equal protection of their environment, health, and civil rights, as well as the components of their economic well-being, such as employment, housing, and transportation. EJ is achieved when low-income, minority, and tribal communities are meaningfully involved in the planning and decision-making processes of community development.

In the spring of 2001, ICMA brought together a diverse group of more than 100 participants to discuss collaborative models to achieve environmental justice. At this forum, three cities were showcased: Spartanburg, South Carolina; Annette Island, Alaska; and San Diego, California. Each community demonstrated how multi-stakeholder collaboration was beneficial in addressing pressing EJ issues.

Through the tireless effort of one community-based group, Re-Genesis, Spartanburg, South Carolina established a broad and dynamic public-private partnership to first identify and to provide inventory, assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of contaminated sites. The project committee, co-chaired by Re-Genesis and the governments of the city and county of Spartanburg, is composed of representatives of federal agencies, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and elected officials. The committee engaged in stakeholder education, structured dialogues, and charette planning to create short-term and long-term development strategies.

In Annette Island, Alaska, federal, tribal, local government agencies, and other organizations, formed a partnership to address areas of contamination and to develop and implement the Metlakatla Indian Community Master Plan. The Master Plan addresses land use, contamination, and future development activities.

San Diego, California, identified and mobilized resources to improve air quality and upgrade community and public health, especially children's health in Barrio Logan. …

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