Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots

By Robert D. Bullard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6

Race and Waste in Two Virginia Communities

Robert W. Collin and William Harris, Sr.

We begin our chapter by defining, justifying, and providing a brief history of environmental planning in the Unites States. Then we describe some of its traditional concerns about socio-economic equity. Next we examine the case studies of two counties in Virginia -- Halifax and King and Queen County.

The Planner's Code of Ethics contains one of the strongest affirmations of the need for economic redistribution ever made by any profession. The housing and community development area of professional planning has focused on these issues of equity, while traditional environmental planning has not, however. In the case studies, we will discuss the reasons for this. Most importantly, we will examine the forces that are bringing about a merger of environmental and socio-economic equity concerns in U.S. planning. As the profession adapts to changes in society, environmental planning at the grassroots, neighborhood level will become increasingly important in the struggle for environmental justice, a struggle that has tremendous implications for people of color. We will conclude the chapter with a discussion of planning as it relates to environmental equity.


The Role of Environmental Planning

Planning encompasses both theory and practice. While planning as a human practice is perhaps as old as human experience, it was not formalized as a profession until the turn of this century. Intellectually, it is a relative newcomer, essentially becoming a recognized academic enterprise only after World War I. Planning today comprises three primary orientations. It is futurist in perspective, logical (or process-oriented) in approach, and strategy-building in methodology. Nearly all definitions of planning include these orientations. Edward Alexander

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